Should an International Candidate go for round 3 MBA applications?

The rigidity of entry to the top-tier business schools, especially in Round 3, is one concern international candidates always spin their head around. Applying to Round 3 is like a Hail Mary pass, typically made in desperation, with only a small chance of success.  Especially when it comes to international candidates, it becomes incredibly difficult to make your mark in Round 3. 

It’s “partly” real because business schools are almost filled up by Round 2 and in their final rounds, they’re trying to bring diversity to the incoming cohort. But the Round 3 is open and schools are still inviting applications which means they still need to fill those final few seats.

If you’re applying in Round 3 MBA applications, make sure you give your best bet for those final seats! To comfort you, here is an example of one of our candidates who successfully made it to INSEAD in Round 3 at 670 GMAT. This is her second MBA and she had two years of gap in her profile! What helped her grab one of those final seats is, as cliche as it sounds, the power of her story!

In this article, we’re going to brainstorm over the chances of an international candidate in Round 3 MBA applications, list schools with good acceptance rates in Round 3 and discuss how you can improve your chances to give your best shot at Round 3 to your dream business schools. 


Business Schools have a handful of seats available, and they are keen to offer it to those who can, one, bring diversity to their incoming class, and two, are exceptionally good. Also, at this point, business schools will still require plausible reasons from you for procrastinating and applying in round 3 MBA applications. They do not want candidates who are least interested in their programs or are not serious enough about pursuing an MBA at this point. 

What kind of competition can you expect in Round 3?

 There are mainly two kinds of candidates applying for round 3

Candidates who are reapplying to other business schools after they have been dinged from Round 1 or 2 and don’t want to wait for next year.

There are extraordinary candidates who apply to M7 and may have been dinged (because of too much competition and uncertainty in the industry) and now are trying for T10 or T15 MBA programs (and this explains heavy competition in Round 3 MBA applications). 

There’s nothing wrong with reapplying to other business schools if you get dinged from one. There is a lot of time and work involved. What you ought to do is dig your profile again, go through your essays, and get advice from experts over your applications as to what went wrong.

 When there is a sudden change in profession or a move to another country.

 There are a lot of candidates who have a sudden shift in their profession. In fact, in this Covid pandemic, a lot of people have lost their jobs and are planning to do an MBA. So if round 1 and round 2 of business school applications get missed, they could still apply in round 3 to schools which give a fair shot to candidates in last rounds. What you have to keep in mind is that your profile should be outstanding and diverse from the candidates in round 1 and round 2. And to make it diverse, connect to alumni, current admits and students of your target schools in order to understand their class profile and bring diversity in your Round 3 MBA applications.


 There are some obstacles in Round 3 which can be faced by you if you are an international candidate.


As we all recognize, Round 3 is a tricky one for all. Most US MBA programs discourage international candidates from applying in Round 3 due to visa issues as these programs do not want to admit any of the candidates who might be unable to attend the fall due to visa issues.

However, if you are committed to US MBA programs and want to apply in round 3, try to  have access to the following:

1. You have permanent citizenship in the U.S.

2. A resident of Canada or Bermuda who may not need a student visa.

3. You have other circumstances that will ensure the speedy issuance of your visa.

If you have access to any of these, bring this to the notice of adcoms so that they do not hesitate to invite you to interviews for Round 3.


If you are an international candidate and applying for round 3 MBA applications, then the region from which you belong will also matter. Because if the business schools have admitted most of the candidates from your region then you need a very solid profile to be considered in Round 3 MBA applications.

Among the top business schools NYU Stern, Ross and Tuck have a strong admission rate for round 3. In addition, INSEAD and LBS have a higher percentage of spaces available in round 3, they also have four rounds, and many European schools have up to five to six rounds, while you may still be eligible. You can see a list of schools with their Round 3 MBA deadlines which give a good shot to applicants at Round 3. 


SchoolRound 3 MBA Acceptance Rates
Johnson (Cornell University)30%
McCombs (University of Texas)24%
Kenan-Flagler (University of North Carolina)38%
Goizueta (Emory)24%
McDonough (Georgetown)32%
Kelley (Indiana University)34%
Olin (Washington University)28%
Carey (Arizona State University)37%
Owen (Vanderbilt University)45%

*The following statistics are the average acceptance rate for 2014-2018 taken from the GMAT Club.


The first and foremost aspect that business schools look at in your application is your “intentionality” for the school. Adcoms should know why are you applying to their schools and how your profile is relevant to your goals and their schools.

Here is the blueprint to ensure that your Round 3 MBA application is strong among the pool of applicants:

Show how different your story is– If you are applying for Round 3 MBA applications, then, your story needs to be outstanding and different. In round 3, b-schools are searching for applicants that can bring diversity to the incoming cohort. Dig in deep to find your USPs and show how unique you are and how you can make a contribution to their community.

Explain why you have applied in Round 3– You must provide reasons for your MBA application in Round 3. You may be asked this question in an interview, so it is best that you clarify it in an optional essay so that the adcoms do not disqualify you at the first phase only! They need to know that you’re seriously considering their schools and do not have any blocks now.

Highlight your work experience – You must highlight your work experience thoroughly as it is the most crucial part of your Round 3 MBA application. You must demonstrate the difficulties, the problems that you have encountered and how you have overcome them and contributed to the growth of your organization. Pick up the pain points from your experience and highlight them tying to the target schools’ core values.

Show The Impact – The global pandemic has brought many obstacles to everyone’s life. But this is the perfect way for you to explain how you’ve used this downtime to make the most of it and not just survived but uplifted your community as well! It displays the willingness to adapt, rebound from transition and lead the society to a better future.

Explain the reasoning for applying in particular b-school – You must give a clear explanation of why you are applying in Round 3 of a particular b-school. Be transparent about your post-MBA goals and how the MBA from a specific b-school will help you fill the holes in your profile and help you develop a promising future.

These are a few pointers you can consider while applying to business schools in Round 3 MBA applications. We may all know these but the more serious concern is how we bring all these out in our applications? Here is a 10-step guide that will help you bring these aspects into your MBA applications. Save this for the Round 3 tide! 😉

If you’re applying to business schools in Round 3 MBA applications and are unsure of your chances, we are with you! Book a free session now (with no time limits) and ask every concern of yours that is stopping you from applying to your dream business schools!

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