From Julia Campbell, Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Full-Time Texas MBA Program:

Before pen meets paper, smart MBA applicants take the time to develop an overall strategy to tackle all the elements of the massive MBA application – What are my strengths? What’s my message? But one thing that is often forgotten is not what you submit, but when. Timing is a key factor in your overall application strategy, so when should you hit “Submit”?

EARLIER IS BETTER (sort of):Which Round Should I Apply? Advice on When To Hit Submit

At first thought, you might stick with tried and true “early bird gets the worm” strategy. You might be tempted to think about the applicant pool in terms of pure numbers and assume that the best chance of your application being ruled upon favorably is to submit when the maximum amount of spots are available. But there’s a caveat – you should NEVER rush to submit your MBA application.

Imagine this: You’ve heard that applying in Round 1 gives you a better likelihood of getting accepted so you skip taking a formal GMAT prep class, take the test and end up with a score you aren’t exactly thrilled with. In this case, submitting in Round 1 might not be a great idea, especially if you know that you can improve your score. Waiting to apply until all aspects of your application are strong is the best approach.

…BUT LATER IS OKAY TOO:

There is a reason we have three rounds. If we filled up the class in Round 1, the admissions committee could just kick back for the rest of the year on a beach somewhere and sip fruity beverages with frilly umbrellas. But that’s not the reality, as many strong applicants apply in later rounds. So if you read the above “Earlier Is Better” and thought that it means final round folks don’t have a fighting chance, or at the very least have a much smaller chance of getting in, it is not exactly black and white. The truth is that a strong application will stand out in any round, anytime. Remember that if you scramble to throw together your essay to get in your application by the first deadline, how can the admissions committee know that normally you are an eloquent and concise writer if what you’ve written doesn’t reflect that?

SOME DON’TS:

We are committed to courteous and fair consideration for all applicants, and therefore, there are a few things we just can’t allow when it comes to the timing of your application submission. Obviously, we are not able to accept applications submitted after 11:59pm CT on the day of the deadline. That’s just not fair to those who made sure to meet the deadline. Also, we aren’t able to look at any “works in progress” before the deadline, meaning we can’t read drafts of your essays, give feedback on your resume and work experience, or tell you who should write your letters of recommendation. The purpose of these policies is to ensure that everyone has a fair shot and is considered by the admissions committee on even ground. Check out our website for more common admissions questions.

So remember; if your application couldn’t possibly smell any sweeter, submit in Round 1. But if you aren’t ready yet (you need to retake your GMAT/GRE, rework your essay or wait for that promotion at work to come through), don’t risk it – wait until you’re 100% confident in your application before hitting the “Submit” button.