Should I Apply in the First Round?
From Bryan's recent email exchange with a client:
"Regarding when to apply, my answer hasn't changed. I'm not sure who you are talking to, but their advice makes no sense. If there are a lot of people "like you" in the first round, there will be even more in the second round, when more people apply. And as I mentioned before, you will not distinguish yourself with your work history. Few people do. You will distinguish yourself by how integrated and consistent your application is, including your work history, personal life, and your future goals. You really need to expand your thinking about that or you will be doubtful and confused throughout the entire application process. Assuming you score well on your GMAT early enough and that your essays are strong enough, you should apply in the first round. If you decide not to for some reason, then that is your decision, but I believe you'll be making a mistake based on superstition and hearsay.
The last thing I'll say is that the people who do the best in this process (have the best results and enjoy it the most) are the ones who have the confidence and discipline to forget all the noise of what other people say, and concentrate on expressing themselves as truthfully and deeply as they can to the admissions committees. The people who do the worst are always changing their minds and worried about what other people think, which is a never-ending and losing game, and ultimately a huge waste of time and energy.
You have a lot of great qualities and experiences. It's our job to distill the essence of those, and present them to adcoms in the most compelling way possible. You'll see what I mean when we begin consulting. I believe in your potential, and you should too."