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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. Currently, 15 highly selective schools offer this programme, making this a great strategy get an admit from one of these schools. This 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. In addition, most colleges encourage deferred MBA students to network among themselves. You can be invited to campus for school events, which will enable you build a strong network even before entering a classroom. Also certain schools, such as Darden School of Business, assign a personal mentor who will 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/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.

Why are schools offering deferred MBA?

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

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 outlines 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
Columbia Business School USA Deferred Enrollment Program
Darden School of Business – University of Virginia USA Future Year Scholars Program
Haas School of Business USA Accelerated Access
Harvard Business School USA Harvard 2+2 Program
IESE School of Management France The IESE Young Talent Program
Indian School of Business India Young Leaders Program
Kellogg School of Management USA Kellogg Future Leaders
MIT Sloan School of Management USA MIT Sloan Early Admission Program
Rutgers Business School USA The Rutgers Future Leaders MBA Program
Stanford Graduate School of Business USA Deferred Enrollment
The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania USA Wharton Advance Access Program
University of Chicago Booth School of Business USA Chicago Booth Scholars Program
Yale School of Management USA 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 proven to stand out from others during their undergraduate studies. These are some qualities that demonstrate potential in the absence of actual work experience. 

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. One of the main differences is that most schools will either waive the application fee or subsidise it for deferred MBA applicants.

Are there any disadvantages to a deferred MBA?

Even though you are guaranteed a seat in a future class of an MBA programme, there are few disadvantages of a deferred MBA. By joining an MBA class with less experience than your peers, you could find yourself playing catchup to your more experienced classmates. In addition, if you decide 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 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?