Yes, Now Really Is the Best Time to Apply


You may be asking whether now is the right time to apply to an MBA program or if you should wait and apply in Round 1 next year. This is a question I’ve been hearing a lot as the COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty for applicants considering applying this year, and many schools, including Michigan Ross, have extended their Round 3 deadlines. 

If you tuned in to the Ross Prospective Student Town Hall last month, you heard Scott DeRue, Edward J. Frey Dean of Business, say, “It’s never a bad time to invest in yourself.” It’s probably not surprising to hear a top business school dean, or the head of MBA admissions, say that. After all, we’re in the business of recruiting business school students. 

But I don’t just wear an admissions hat. I’m also a pragmatist, a former consultant, and a Ross MBA alum — all of which compel me to use a structured approach to decision making. In some instances, a list of pros and cons will do. But to answer the question of whether to consider starting business school amid a global pandemic, I think a matrix is more useful. 

Across the top are potential national/global scenarios (i.e., outcomes you can’t control.) Down the left hand side are your options (i.e., decisions you do control.) Take a moment to envision the scenarios in the inner squares based on your own work situation.  


  Fall 2020 Spring 2022
  Stay at Home Orders Lifted Stay at Home Orders Continue Economy Recovers Economy Falters

Stay at work

Continue in current position Continue in current position;
What is the outlook for your organization?
No MBA; 
Missed career opportunities?
No MBA; 
What is the outlook for your organization?
Start your MBA Start MBA in-person Start MBA remotely or mix of in-person plus remote; finish in-person MBA earned: More career options (industry, function, organizations) and earning potential MBA earned:
Short- term challenge changing jobs; greater long-term potential


Regardless of what happens with the stay-at-home orders and the economy, two years from now, you'll be better off by having earned your MBA degree and the experience, knowledge, skills, and connections that come with it.

That’s why I say now is the best time to apply to an MBA program. At Ross, we’ve extended our Round 3 deadline to May 29*. Even if you have not taken the GMAT or GRE by that date, you can submit an application and submit a score from the online, at-home versions of the GMAT or GRE later. 

We still have both seats and scholarships available for candidates admitted in Round 3. And it won’t “hurt” you if you’re denied this cycle and reapply in Round 1 next year. To accommodate these applicants, we will waive the application fee for reapplicants, and the reapplication requirements are less onerous than the initial application requirements. No new essays or rec letter are required. 

And don’t worry — even if you submit an app on May 29, you'll still have enough time to meet your fellow classmates, find housing, and join this fall’s cohort. 

The bottom line is applying in Round 3 can provide you with two shots at admission in one calendar year (for one application fee), and applying this year could lead to expanded career opportunities sooner. 

So why wait? Good luck and stay safe. 

*For international candidates, we encourage you to apply in the next admission cycle to allow for enough time to get your visa processed.