What Is a Deferred MBA Programme?

What is a Deferred MBA Programme? | The Red Pen

MBA programmes are known to seek out students with diverse backgrounds–people from different industries, at different stages in their career and from different countries. Getting into a competitive programme can be challenging, especially if you have very little work experience. This is where a deferred MBA comes in.

Almost exactly similar to a normal MBA, these programmes have one key difference; they grant pre-admission to undergraduate or postgraduate students in their final year of study. While most MBA programmes require two to five years of work experience, deferred admission gives candidates an opportunity to secure their MBA seat in advance (without any work experience). If admitted, you are required to find full-time employment for two years, which means that you will spend the first two years after your undergraduate degree working and then the next two years in the full-time MBA programme. Some business schools, such as Harvard Business School, may even allow you to extend your deferral by a year, on request.

Why should I consider a deferred MBA?

The main reason to consider applying for a deferred MBA is so that you can secure your admit early (as all the seats in the class are empty) while also keeping your options open. Currently, 15 highly selective business schools offer this programme, making this a great strategy. Additionally, having a spot in a highly coveted MBA programme makes finding your initial job that much easier. Most colleges encourage deferred MBA students to network among themselves. You may be invited to campus for events, enabling you to build a strong network even before entering a classroom. Also, certain business schools, such as Darden School of Business, assign a personal mentor to guide you in the deferred years.

Who should apply?

College seniors who want to secure an admit from a top business school but still want to explore different functions or industries before deciding their career path are ideal candidates for the deferred MBA programme. So consider this option if you are a current student, either finishing up your undergraduate studies or in a master’s programme, and want to pursue an MBA in the future.

Why are business schools offering a deferred MBA?

In recent years, more business schools have started offering deferred MBA programmes in order to attract promising students. When MBA programmes started seeing a dip in the number of applicants–losing them either to the workforce or to other programmes–business schools decided to expand the pool of applicants to encompass undergraduate students.

What business schools offer a deferred MBA?

There are a number of business schools that offer a deferred MBA, each with its own individual name. The list below outlines a few business schools that have formal deferred programmes. Business schools such as NYU Stern School of Business will consider your application before you complete your undergraduate degree but do not have a formalised programme.

Business School Country Programme Name
Columbia Business School US Deferred Enrollment Program
Darden School of Business US Future Year Scholars Program
Haas School of Business US Accelerated Access
Harvard Business School US Harvard 2+2 Program
IESE School of Management Spain The IESE Young Talent Program
Indian School of Business India Young Leaders Program
Kellogg School of Management US Kellogg Future Leaders
MIT Sloan School of Management US MIT Sloan Early Admission Program
Rutgers Business School US The Rutgers Future Leaders MBA Program
Stanford Graduate School of Business US Deferred Enrollment
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania US Wharton Advance Access Program
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business US Chicago Booth Scholars Program
Yale School of Management US The Silver Scholars Program

What do these programmes look for in a candidate?

Deferred MBA programmes are usually very competitive as they have very small classes. They select candidates with an exceptional academic record, high test scores, demonstrated leadership, maturity, clear professional goals, strong extracurriculars and those who have a proven quality of standing out from others during their undergraduate studies. In a nutshell, candidates who demonstrate potential in the absence of actual work experience.

What is the application process like?

While the application process for most schools is similar to the full-time MBA, this may differ based on the business school. Besides filling out your application form and current grades, you will need to submit your GMAT, along with IELTS/TOEFL scores, if required. You will also need two letters of recommendation, an updated resume, along with your essays. You may also be called in for an interview. One of the main differences between full-time and deferred MBA applications is that most business schools will either waive the application fee or subsidise it for deferred MBA applicants.

Are there any disadvantages to a deferred MBA?

Though you are guaranteed a seat in a future class of an MBA programme, there are a few disadvantages of a deferred MBA. By joining an MBA class with less experience than your peers, you could find yourself playing catch up to your more experienced classmates. Additionally, if you decide midway that an MBA is not the route for you, you will have to forfeit whatever deposit and deferment fees you have paid so far.

Each year, more business schools are adding a deferred MBA programme as it is a great option for students who are admitted and still want to keep their options open. If you have any questions regarding your MBA application or are unsure if an MBA is for you, get in touch with us.

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