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Fall and Spring Semester Intakes MBA

Spring vs Fall Intake: Which One Is Better to Study MBA Abroad?

If you’re looking to pursue higher education abroad, you must have wondered what the spring and fall semesters are in overseas universities. Well, an academic year in foreign universities is divided into two semesters, fall and spring, like in India. 

However, unlike Indian universities, where there is usually one admission season, universities in countries like the US, UK, Canada, etc., can have two admission seasons, known as fall and spring intake. Now, which of these two intakes should you apply for, and what are the differences between these two intakes? Let’s find out.

What Is Spring and Fall Intake?

Universities and colleges in popular study destinations like the USA, Canada, the UK, etc. receive an influx of applications globally for admission to their coveted courses, like MBA, etc. Therefore, many foreign universities admit students in two intakes- fall and spring, every year to manage the admission rush better. 

Secondly, the spring intake provides admission opportunities to many applicants who may be unable to apply during the fall for various reasons. 

When Does the Fall Semester Start in the USA?

The fall semester in the USA is typically from Late August to December. However, many B-schools, especially the ones with only fall term admission, can have admission rounds going well beyond March. For example, the Round 3 MBA application deadline at Stanford GSB is 11 April 2023.

When Does the Spring Semester Start in the USA?

The spring semester in the USA typically starts in January, after the winter break. Students can join an ongoing academic year of a particular course during the spring semester months if the B-school offers spring term admissions. Such students would complete their course a few months later than the rest of the class. 

Spring vs Fall: Important Things to Consider

Both spring and fall semesters can have different sets of benefits and drawbacks. However, consider the following important things before applying for an upcoming higher education program season.  

The Weather

A significant difference between fall and spring intake can be the weather of the region where your business school is located. This is because some parts of the USA, such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, etc., experience freezing weather during the spring season. 

So, choosing spring admissions in B-Schools in these areas can mean you’ll be greeted by snowfalls. People from warmer climates like India may need time to get used to staying and studying in a temperature around -7 to -14°C. 

Individual Bonds and Friendships

Students from the Fall semester batch would have already completed six months on campus before the arrival of the spring class. So, both fall and spring admission students may take time to adjust to their new study mates. However, this can also be a great opportunity to mingle with people from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds.

Faculty Support

Entering a program through a fall intake means you can get adequate time to build deep rapport with your professors. Consequently, you might get an advantage in terms of project guidance, recommendations, or research assistantships. 

However, a spring semester entrant can mitigate these advantages through sincere dedication, hard work, and an appealing personality. Besides, new entrants can interact with students from the fall semester months to gain some insight into campus life, coursework, and other useful information. 

Additional Factors to Consider in Fall and Spring Intakes

Availability in Universities

Most top universities and B-Schools don’t offer admission in both the fall and spring months. Therefore, it’s vital to check in advance whether the institution of your choice offers fall or spring applications. Moreover, it is advisable to get over this fall/spring admission dilemma before you appear for GMAT and TOEFL. 

Making up your mind early on in your application journey can help you determine whether you’ve got enough time to prepare for the standardized tests. Besides, you might be eying for admission to a B-School that offers only fall intake. 

Following is the list of the 10 best MBA schools worldwide and their respective Fall and Spring intake availability.

Rank B-School Location Fall Spring
1 Stanford Graduate School of Business Stanford, USA
2 Harvard Business School Boston, USA
3 The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, USA
4 HEC Paris Jouy en Josas, France
5 Landon Business School London, United Kingdom
6 MIT Sloan School of Management Cambridge, United States
7 IE Business School Madrid, Spain
8 Columbia Business School New York, United States
9 INSEAD Paris, Singapore, France
10 IESE Business School Barcelona, Spain

Ranking Source:- QS Global MBA Rankings 2023

Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rate of a college or an academic program is derived by dividing the total number of students accepted in a program by the total number of admission applications into that program. For example, if a  B-school’s MBA program has a 20% acceptance rate, it means the B-school accepts 2 out of 10 applicants into its MBA course. 

So, the acceptance rate can be one of the ways to gauge your chances to crack admission into a particular B-school, although other factors like your resume, experience, etc., also matter. Now, a fall intake in a US university can have a larger class size. Therefore, you can consider applying to B-schools during the fall intake to increase your chances of acceptance. 

But, if you have an exceptional resume with outstanding academic experience, you can be accepted into the spring class of a course despite the class size being relatively smaller than that in the fall. 


Since a fall class has many incoming students, colleges are likely to offer numerous courses. Therefore, fall intake applicants can apply for courses from a diverse range of topics. As a result, a spring student may not find a unique course still on offer if a substantial number of students didn’t choose it.

Extracurricular Activities

Many B-schools encourage their students to join various student clubs and organizations on campus. These clubs and organizations can provide an excellent opportunity to participate in discussions, debates, and other extracurricular activities. These activities can help you develop soft skills or demonstrate your leadership skills. 

Both fall and spring intake students can take part in these activities. However, fall semester students can have a natural advantage over their spring counterparts as the whole cohort is new during the fall. On the other hand, spring students may need to push harder to get noticed on the extracurricular scene. 

Job Opportunities

Many on-campus job and internship opportunities can appear by the time you’ve completed two semesters of your 1st year. Now, getting into a course for fall 2023 means you might be at least a semester ahead of a Spring 2024 entrant. This can be a natural advantage for a fall candidate.

However, job opportunities can be equally promising in the long run for both fall and spring students once they graduate. 


Most international applicants must get a student visa before they can study abroad. Both spring and fall semester students can receive visa assistance from the universities they’re applying to. However, the process is time-consuming and can take about 6 months. 

So, whether you plan to apply in the fall or spring intake, ensure you have enough time to secure the necessary visa. 

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

Almost all reputed universities run their own financial aid programs that can significantly bring down the MBA cost. They automatically consider every application for merit-based, need-based, or gender-based scholarships as per their policy. 

However, scholarships and grants can be conferred on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to the availability of funds. Therefore, fall semester students can have the upper hand in securing financial assistance. 

Strength of Application

Universities usually screen every application holistically. So, there is no point in rushing to complete the application procedure with a half-baked profile. The competition to get into a top university or B-school is very intense. So, apply when you’re ready, even if that means skipping the fall months and applying during the spring intake. 

Which Intake is Better?

It all depends on your post-MBA career goals. If you think it’s the right time to study abroad, just go for it with full preparation. Next, focus on getting into a reputed institution where you can get enough exposure. If you’re clear about your plans, the intake season shouldn’t matter much to you. However, Indian students should try to clear their admission in rounds 1 and 2. This gives them a better chance to secure admission and be eligible for scholarships. 

FAQs related to Spring vs Fall intakes for MBA Abroad

1. Spring vs Fall- Which Intake  Is Popular for MBA Admissions?

The fall intake is usually popular for MBA admissions, especially among international students. As the fall admissions typically begin in August, applicants can get adequate time to prepare for GMAT and TOEFL after finishing their undergrads. 

2. Should I Prepare for Fall or Spring Admissions? Or Should I Apply in Both the Fall and Spring Semester Months?

Before weighing your spring vs fall options, decide your target B-School first. Many US universities like Harvard and Stanford offer admission in the fall season only, so you’ll not have much of an option there. 

If you get to apply in both the fall and spring months in the USA or anywhere else, consider the time and level of your preparation. Apply when you think you’re fully prepared and have a fighting chance to crack the admission process. 

3. Do the Course Fees Differ in Fall and Spring Intake?

The course fee may not differ much based on the fall and spring intakes. Instead, it usually depends on the B-school. For instance, a two-year full-time MBA from a top US B-School can cost you more than $1,30,000 in just course fees. 

However, most reputed B-schools offer various scholarships and grants to their deserving students. You can try to avail of these scholarships to bring down your MBA cost.

4. Does the Intake Season Affect the Degree I Pursue?

There is no difference in the courses, access facilities, and degrees received in the fall and spring months in the USA. It’s just the time of course completion that varies depending on the intake season you choose. 

For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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