Admissions, Exec Application Tips, Executive MBA

Darden Admissions Team Shares Best Time to Apply for Exec MBA

By Brett Twitty-
best-time-to-apply-for-exec-mba

A few weeks ago, we shared some insights about our application review process. Today, we’re back to answer another popular application-related question — “When is a good time to apply?”

Our recommendation is always: You should apply when you feel your application will be the strongest. However, if you have reviewed our application deadlines page, you likely noticed that we have a number of monthly deadlines, and you may be wondering how our admissions cycle works. What are the benefits of applying earlier? Are there any drawbacks to applying later? Given the number of deadlines, what is considered ‘early’ and what is deemed ‘late’?

We offer monthly deadlines from September through June (or until the class fills) and each of these rounds is focused on our Executive MBA class starting in August. Each round has a target interview period, a decision release date and a deposit deadline. We share this information in advance to help you plan ahead! It is approximately three weeks from application deadline to decision release, and, for admitted students, typically three weeks from decision release to deposit deadline. 

We know you are juggling a lot in addition to your Executive MBA application, and we offer multiple options to give you flexibility. For most of our classes, about half of the class applied prior to our March deadline, and about half of the class applied after our March deadline. But every applicant’s timing is unique — some candidates choose to apply in September and October. For others, the holidays are the time to finalize their materials. Still others apply in May and June. 

That said, there are benefits to applying “early” (this is a relative term — more on this shortly). Early in the admissions cycle, we have the most flexibility — we have maximum space in our class, all formats (EMBA and GEMBA) are available and we have most of our scholarship budget at our disposal. It’s true that all admitted students are considered for a scholarship award, but, as a general rule, we have more money to award earlier in the cycle. 

By applying earlier, you are maximizing your options — which is a good thing! And, should you be admitted, there are also a number of personal benefits to targeting one of our earlier rounds. For example, you will have more time to get all the people in your life (family, friends, managers, co-workers, etc.) up to speed on what your Executive MBA Program will mean for them (and your availability). 

You will also have more time to brush up on any subject or skill gaps you would like to address prior to the start of school. For example, while we do have some prep materials for incoming Executive MBA students, it is also pretty common for our students to take an Accounting or Finance course and/or an Excel primer before the program kicks off in August (For more start of school-related tips, check out our podcast conversation with Professor and Associate Dean of Executive Programs and Leadership Initiatives Jim Detert.  

Have questions about your application timing? If you are wondering about whether a round you are targeting is viable, schedule a conversation or drop us a line. We are here to help in any way we can. 

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