At some point, each and every candidate takes a moment to think about when to submit his/her applications. Inevitably, we find that two common concerns tend to crop-up:
1) If I apply in round 1, will my application get lost among all of the ‘uber-type-As'?
2) If I apply in round 2, am I just too late?
In the past, MBA admissions officers have gone to great lengths to calm the jitters of applicants, telling them that rounds 1 and 2 are virtually equal. More recently, however, many admissions officers have shifted their tone and have started to tell candidates that all things being equal, you would have a slight edge in the first round. So, we have a simple maxim at MBA Mission: Quality before speed.
Still, we do encourage some candidates to do whatever they can to get those applications in early:
1) If you are part of a vastly over-represented group, Indian engineers for example, it can be wise to get your application in before your constituency is well-represented in the class.
2) If you are a truly unique candidate with a very low-GMAT score, you might consider a round one submission, as there are few places for such candidates later on. If several low GMAT candidates are accepted in the first round, your school of choice may be constrained by their need to drive their GMAT average higher and may not be mathematically able to send out another offer to a candidate with a very low score.
3) If the school blatantly confers an advantage on you because of an early decision system and you are certain that you want to attend this school, then there are certainly advantages to applying early.
In short, you should not fret if you cannot submit in round one, because the majority of the places are still given out in round two. Rest assured, there is always room for a strong applicant.