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MBAs - can you be accepted in round 4?

Katie Schenk - June 15, 2018

Prodigy Finance looks at applying for MBA round 4

If you’re serious about applying to business school, you already know that you should apply as early as possible, right? 

The fear of applying for MBA admittance in round 3 (or round 4, as the case may be) has reached a level of urban mythic proportions. 

But, is the fear and trepidation worth it? Can you apply to top business schools during the 4th round and still be accepted?

Truthfully, it all boils down to the school’s policies and your application.

Business school admission policies

Of the business schools that Prodigy Finance-funded students attend, a couple of them don’t have application rounds at all. Vlerick, Cass and ESMT all work on a system of rolling deadlines. 

Initially, this may sound enticing, but it does make it slightly more challenging if you are applying for MBA admittance to these schools along with business schools with defined rounds.

That’s not to say these schools don’t have deadlines, only that there is one final date and heaven help you if you miss it.


Vlerick is the most stringent of the rolling admission group; the school provides concrete dates for EU and non-EU citizens. 


Cass adds a note to their website when closure is imminent. They may provide some warning, but if you’re battling to get your application organised, it may not be enough. 


ESMT accepts applications until the class is filled – and you may never know when that is.

If any one of these three programmes is your top choice, you must get your application in as soon as possible. The admissions team at these schools are likely to become more selective as time passes.

B-school fixed application deadlines

Then there are the schools with set application rounds

Unlike most American business schools, many European schools operate with 4 rounds; the 3rd round operates similarly to the 2nd round in the United States.


The London Business School admissions portion of their website doesn’t give a whole lot of advice, except for deadline dates. 


Cranfield also offers 4 rounds, but they also provide advice: if you need to live on campus, then apply early

It suggests that the only difference between round 1 and round 4 MBA applications is the amount of housing available not your chance of acceptance. 


Oxford offers the same advice, but they have a whopping 6 rounds of MBA applications. 

However, if you want to choose your college, then you’ll need to be accepted in the first three rounds.

Across the Channel (La Manche, depending on which side you’re on), INSEAD has four admission rounds. But, they state very clearly on their website that they do their best to keep the “offer ratio” even through each round. 

On the surface, it sounds like you could do well in the third or fourth rounds here, but keep in mind that they offer spots proportionally to the number of MBA applications received. 

There may be no better (or worse) time to apply.

So when should you apply?

Always apply to your top schools (especially the elite schools, such as the ones listed here), as soon as you possibly can. This tells a school that you want to be admitted, and that:

  • You’re a motivated candidate (you’ve been thinking about it for a long time),
  • That school is one of your top choices (don’t worry about appearing overeager), and
  • You want to be prepared and involved in campus life.

Your best strategy is to apply to global elite schools as early as possible – and include the less prominent school that you would accept if it were your only option. Forget that there is even an option past round 2, or the first month of rolling MBA applications.

Still, the best time to apply is always when you have the best application. If your portfolio is strong, it doesn’t matter when you apply. But, do you truly want to take that chance?

Already have your dream admit?

Prodigy Finance provides loans to international masters students pursuing their business degrees at top schools. 

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