The MBA Debate - Fall vs Spring
Updated: Feb 16, 2021
Planning for an MBA? Stuck in the never-ending debate of Fall vs Spring intake? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! The dilemma is real and almost as existential as the ‘What came first - the egg or the hen?’ question!
So, why the massive confusion around the two intakes?
To gain a deeper understanding, we first need to know what exactly are fall and spring intakes. Many schools have two admission intakes every year to accommodate the flexible scheduling requirements of the large number of candidates. The fall semester begins in September whereas the Spring semester begins in January.
Though there may not be significant differences between the two intakes, many schools accept candidates only in one of the intakes, whereas a few schools offer admissions for both intakes. Here are some considerations to look out for while deciding on which intake suits you better!
Firstly, you need to check if the university offers both spring and fall intake. Since most application processes are similar across both intakes, generally including essays, SOPs, LORs, test score GMAT/GRE, resume, we suggest that you be completely aware of the deadlines for both intakes in order to be fully prepared.
Each school has a fixed number of admissions each year. Hence, depending on the cohort size, one can understand which intake will give a better chance of acceptance.
Recruitments usually take place in January. A fall student would’ve completed three semesters whereas a spring student would’ve completed only two. This discrepancy may prove to be advantageous for fall students. However, if you have strong academics and the required skills, securing your dream job shouldn’t be a problem!
Also, most top B-Schools provide dedicated and personalized career services for their candidates, which makes it easier for candidates in either intake to find great placement options!
One of the major perks of pursuing an MBA degree is the immense networking opportunities. The student clubs are a great way to build and establish lifelong connections. These clubs also help students gain industry knowledge and become aware of their own strengths and purpose. It might be difficult to hold offices within these groups and make the required connections during the spring semester since the program would’ve just started.
Since a lot of professors begin their research at the beginning of the year and do not offer the research positions in the middle of the year, it may be easier to find research assistantships if you join in September. However, joining in January will not be a hindrance in obtaining internships.
Some programs are scarcely financed and schools may have depleted the allotted funds before the spring semester even starts. Additionally, merit-based grants might be assigned on a first-come-first-serve basis. To evaluate your scholarship chances better, we advise that you connect with the admissions team of your target schools.
Whilst there are pros and cons associated with both the intakes, there are some excellent school options to explore if you’re looking at the spring season! Let’s take a look at a few of the leading institutes that offer spring admissions.
INSEAD MBA is a 10-month accelerated program that has both fall and spring intakes. The January intake offers the students a pause as it provides a two-month internship period that is not built into the September intake. An internship might prove to be crucial to apply the knowledge and solidify the concepts learned and build a strong professional network. This is especially useful for candidates who are looking for a career change post the MBA, since the short duration of the 10-month MBA might make it slightly more difficult for candidates in the September intake.
HEC Paris MBA also offers two intakes and has no difference between the two in terms of the application process or the academic courses. The only standpoint is the application window. For the January intake, the deadlines open in January the previous year and go on till Nov, whereas for the September intake, the window is from June to November.
Columbia Business School's MBA has two intakes that are identical in all aspects except for the program duration and the internship option. The January intake lacks the provision of the summer internship, hence is consolidated to 16 months instead of the regular 20 months.
There are also a few schools which only provide a January intake! IMD, Switzerland is one such top MBA program which has just a spring intake. The duration of the MBA program is one year, starting in January. The application process has four deadlines in the months of February, May, July, and September respectively!
To summarize, there is no one size fits all solution to the Jan vs Sept question! It entirely depends on your choices and readiness to apply. Do keep in mind the above considerations whilst deciding on which intake would be most favorable to you.