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What is a Deferred MBA Programme?

What is a Deferred MBA Programme?

MBA programmes are known to seek out students with diverse backgrounds. In any MBA class, you will find people from different industries, at different stages in their career and from different countries. Getting into one of the competitive programmes 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 spend the first two years working and the next two years as part of the full-time MBA programme. Some 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 because you can secure your admit early (as all the seats in the class are empty) while also keeping your options open. Getting an early admit will also enable you to have a secure path for the future. Apart from this, having a spot in a highly coveted MBA programme makes finding your initial job that much easier.

Who should apply?

College seniors who want to secure an admit from a top business school but still want to explore different functions/industries before deciding their career path are ideal candidates for the deferred MBA programme. So, 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, then consider this option.

What schools offer a deferred MBA?

There are a number of schools who offer a deferred MBA, each with their own individual names. The list below outline a few that have formal deferred programmes. Schools such as NYU Stern School of Business will consider your application before you complete your undergraduate degree, however, it does not have a formalised programme.

Business School

 Country  Programme name
Harvard Business School USA

Harvard 2+2 Program

Yale School of Management

USA The Silver Scholars Program

Stanford Graduate School of Business


Deferred Enrollment

Indian School of Business India

Young Leaders Program

University of Chicago Booth School of Business

USA Chicago Booth Scholars Program

Rutgers Business School

USA The Rutgers Future Leaders MBA Program

MIT Sloan School of Management


MIT Sloan Early Admission Program
The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania


Wharton Moelis Advance Access Program (Open to final year undergraduate students at UPenn)

Darden School of Business – University of Virginia


Future Year Scholars Program

IESE School of Management France

The IESE Young Talent Program

What do these programmes look for in a candidate?

Most deferred MBA programmes look for candidates who have high scores in their undergraduate degree, who have a sense of maturity and who have proven to stand out from others during their undergraduate studies. These programmes are usually very competitive as they have very small classes and they select candidates with an exceptional academic record, high test scores, demonstrated leadership, clear professional goals and strong extracurriculars. These are some qualities that demonstrate potential in the absence of actual work experience. You should also be clear about what you want to achieve from the MBA and your future goals.

What is the application process like?

The application process for most schools is similar to that of their full-time MBA, however, this can differ based on the school. In general, 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.  

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

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The fundamental role of independent educational consultants is to help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.

Here are 5 things families should consider when looking to hire an IEC:

  1. Does the IEC belong to a professional association such as IECA with established and rigorous standards for membership?
  2. Do not trust any offers of guaranteed admission to a school or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships.
  3. Ensure that the IEC adheres to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA.
  4. Find an IEC that visits college, school, and program campuses and meets with admissions representatives regularly in order to keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures.
  5. Do they attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?