HR at MS said to apply by July 16th if you want to be considered for the early process. They also said they "strongly recommend" you apply early if you feel ready to interview in August.
The problem is, I have networked extensively with analysts from my school from the class of '17 who are starting in mid-July. I feel like I'd be at an advantage if I applied later so that they will be screening my resume.
I also got invited to an ISG summer session in late July, and I'm wondering what is the point of a networking event after apps are due