There are three remaining deadlines in the Executive MBA application cycle – 10 May, 10 June and 25 June! Each of these deadlines is focused on our Executive MBA class matriculating this August.

The Discover Darden blog recently caught up with Managing Director of Admissions Brett Twitty for a few tips for applicants targeting the May and June rounds. Read on for the Q&A, and if you’re interested in even more application-related content, join Brett for an interactive Application Hotline webinar on Friday, 6 May.

During the session, candidates will gain insights about the application process and strategies for targeting the 10 May deadline. However, much of the information shared will be generally helpful to an applicant targeting any of our upcoming deadlines. And even better, attending the webinar will complete 50% of our Executive MBA application fee waiver offer.

At this time of year, it feels like a lot of candidates wonder if it’s too late to apply. Is it actually too late?

It is definitely not too late to apply to our Executive MBA program! We intentionally offer monthly application deadlines to give busy applicants as much flexibility as possible, and our admissions cycle typically stretches into June.

If you are targeting a May or June round, you are definitely not alone, and there are many Darden Executive MBA students and alumni with a similar application timing. In fact, in a typical Executive MBA cohort, around 15 to 25 percent of the class will have applied in a May or June round.

Candidates always ask why we have so many deadlines, and the answer is easy – we meet incredible candidates throughout the entire year. Because of this extended timeline, we have created a flexible deadline structure to support applicants’ changing circumstances and application schedules.

In our experience, Executive MBA students come to the realization that “now” is the right time for them to pursue an MBA all throughout the year. For some, this timeline plays out in the fall. For others, it’s the reflection that happens around the holiday period that pushes them to finally take the leap. For others still, it’s the performance evaluation cycle at work and thinking deeply about their next opportunity.

Why does the Executive MBA cycle stretch into the summer months?

First and foremost, the Executive MBA application process is not nearly as lockstep as the Full-Time MBA process. While many top Full-Time MBA programs all have similar deadlines Executive MBA programs are much less aligned. Executive MBA programs also have different start dates, with some schools starting in the winter or spring, while other programs kick off in late summer. This tends to mean people are coming into the application process throughout the year.

In addition, our prospective students are very busy, and they have a lot of priorities competing for their time and attention. The decision to pursue an MBA is often the product of a few years of reflection, with the most challenging question being not “why” but rather “when.” It’s fair to say that there is no perfect time to pursue an MBA, but there are certainly windows of opportunity in which taking on the commitment of an MBA program feels more manageable.

What about scholarships?

While it’s true that we have less scholarship funding available now than we did back in, say, October, we still have money to award, and we expect to make scholarship awards throughout all of our remaining rounds.

The advice we share with applicants is to apply as soon as you feel you can put together a strong application. If you are applying now and you know a scholarship will be an important factor in your MBA decision, consider targeting our 10 May or 10 June deadlines if possible.

All admitted students are considered for all available scholarships, and by applying in our May 10 or June 10 round, you can be sure you are applying for earlier consideration for both admission and scholarship. The best part about being automatically considered for all available scholarships is that you do not have to submit any additional application materials!

Any final words of advice for Executive MBA applicants targeting the May and June rounds?

As we so often note here on the blog, applying to business school is a narrative exercise. As such, as a first step, we recommend opening an application and simply reading through it. What is required? What materials will you need? A little planning and organization will save you some time, particularly if you are trying to work quickly.

In addition, before you begin filling anything out, we recommend taking some time to reflect upon your story. In many ways, the application is an initial introduction to you. What is most important to you to share with our Admissions Committee? What parts of your story do you want to make sure are part of your application?

Once you come up with your application priorities, think about how these pieces of information map onto each part of the application. This will ensure you are truly maximizing the application and giving our Admissions Committee the best opportunity to learn about you.

We also know it can be challenging for Executive MBA students to set aside the time to apply. This is why we have spent so much time over the past few years creating application resources:

We have also spent a lot of time over the past couple of years distilling our application down to what is truly essential for us to get a feel for who a candidate is and who they will be in the Darden classroom and community. While applying to business school can feel daunting, in our opinion, completing the Darden Executive MBA application would likely require no more than a day or two of focused work (and, of course, some pre-planning and organization).

Lastly, not only is the Admissions team here to help support you as you navigate the application process, if you’re admitted, there is an incredible program team of people – Program staff, Financial Aid, Career coaches – to help you gear up for the start of school. Members of the Financial Aid team, Career Coaches, the Academic Program Team, Darden Executive Student Association leadership and more – we’re all ready to help you be the most prepared and supported you can possibly be prior to matriculating in August.