This post was written in 2013. The policies described here have been updated in 2014 but they may not be true for you today. ALWAYS check your school's rules carefully.
Here’s a list of business schools that have atypical policies. This is not a final list – there are plenty of other unusual exceptions and oddball rules out there among the MBA admissions departments. The policies on this page may even have changed by the time you’re reading this. The point of this post is to remind you to study your school’s rules carefully and don’t assume that the way one school does it is how all schools do.
- Stanford requires that all recommendations be submitted by the deadline. HBS and some other schools are more flexible and will marry-up a stray rec that arrives later and get it into your app. Not the GSB. Start hounding those recommenders now (well, probably you don’t want to hound them, exactly, given how they’re going to be answering questions about you like “Does he hound people when he wants them to do something for him?”)
- Berkeley Haas is the last holdout that requires a TOEFL score if the official language of your home country is not English – yes, even if your college education was conducted entirely in English. Maybe they’ll change this but we’re not seeing any indications of it. (Update: In the 2014 admissions cycle, UCLA added this restriction, too.)
- HBS doesn’t accept anything added to your application after you’ve submitted it – including a new GMAT score. You must have your final GMAT score before you submit (the unofficial score is fine but you can’t send in a new score afterwards). The exception? HBS allows recommendations to come in late – even like a day late. This would make for an exceedingly stressful app submit time for you, but if you have a straggler recommender, it may not kill your chances at Harvard.
Read the schools’ websites carefully, Brave Supplicant. Don’t commit any unnecessary fouls at this stage of the game.
ETA: Per the comment thread below, you should be reading the schools’ APPLICATIONS more carefully too, it seems.