Deferred MBA - plan now, join later
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Deferred MBA - plan now, join later

Admission Counselling :
  • Written by UnivAdmitHelp
  • Category: Admission Application
  • Published on 23 Dec 2019

Are you in your final year of study and wish you could go for an MBA? 


While it is true that most MBA programs require 2-5 years of work experience, early-career MBA programs, or deferred MBA programs, can help you apply to some of the top business schools without having any work experience at all. Designed to lock in early career talent, deferred MBA programs grant pre-admission to candidates who apply 

  • either immediately after completing their undergraduate degrees, 
  • or during their final year of undergraduate study. 

If candidates are accepted, they have the option of enrolling after 2, 3, or 4 years of gaining relevant work experience, depending on the program.

This allows the candidates an opportunity to secure a seat in an MBA program before gathering the required work experience. Moreover, early acceptance creates a sense of security, which can enable the confidence you need to explore work options and get important real-world exposure. Some students want to explore a dream career or pursue a non-traditional path, with the long-term goal of changing careers or industries. Other students may want to launch a business, join a start-up or take on a challenge right out of their undergraduate years and, after a few years, pursue an MBA to strengthen skills they may not get on the job. In any case, if you’re a planner, and you want to guarantee your path to an MBA while still having the opportunity to gain valuable work experience, a deferred MBA program is a great option. 

If admitted, students in this program will be required to find full-time employment for 2 years, which means that you spend the first two years working and the next two years is when you’d be part of the full-time MBA program.


Some of the best B-schools also offer deferred MBA programs:

This program is a little different than other early career MBA programs we have discussed in the article. The Silver Scholars program attracts early career talents directly to their MBA program, unlike other deferred admission programs. However, the course curriculum for the Yale Silver Scholars programs lasts for three years, with the second year of the course dedicated towards a full-time internship.


Some important things to remember:

  • Deferred MBA programs are open to undergraduates from any institution in their final year, or those who are pursuing full-time Masters programs.
  • The application deadline for most of the colleges is around 1st April 2020.
  • Since students wouldn’t have any or much work experience, they need to have an achievement driven profile.
  • Many colleges recommend applying in the third round for deferred enrollment.
  • You might have an advantage if you are:
    • Planning to work in an operating company (tech, manufacturing, consumer goods, retail, industrials, etc.)
    • From a lower socio-economic background (first generation in college, lower income family background, less family exposure to graduate school)
    • Going into a technically demanding role
    • Pursuing entrepreneurship
  • During the deferment period, candidates are expected to seek substantive work experience that will position them to succeed in their MBA and beyond.
  • Deferred enrollment allows candidates access to a network of scholars from their B-school. They help the applicant to remain in contact with the college through online communities, email, invitations to student conferences and access to admitted student programming.


What does a deferred MBA application require?

The application process is the same as an MBA.

As of now, most of the applications have a deadline in April 2020. A submission will usually consist of the following items:

  • Biographical and background information
  • Short answer questions: 
    • What do you plan to accomplish after graduation and prior to starting your MBA?
    • What is your immediate post-MBA career goal?
    • How will this MBA help you achieve your post-MBA career goals?
  • An essay. The questions might vary:
    • Chicago Booth immerses you in a choice-rich environment. How have your interests, leadership experiences, and other passions influenced the choices in your life?
    • SOM Yale asks: Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made.
  • Current resume with all internships, part-time positions and future full-time position listed
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial (scanned) transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions attended. Official transcripts are usually only requested from admitted students.
  • GMAT or GRE score
  • International Applicants: An english language proficiency test (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE) is required. 

Before we go, let’s look at this scenario:

You are almost done with your Master’s course (or senior year in college). There’s a great start-up you have your heart set on. You apply for a deferred MBA before beginning work on the start-up. If it takes off, then that’s great. You are then in a great position to decide what to do with your MBA. 

It would be good to remember that as an admitted student, you are already a part of the B-school community and will have access to select conferences, events, and resources to enhance your academic experience and to help you throughout your career. When you are ready to start the MBA program, send a letter of intent and join the program. 

That being said, if you thought MBA admissions were competitive, you might want to remember that deferred MBA admissions are even more so. The intake at B-schools for early career MBA’s is limited to a small number of candidates who can match up to the professional candidates. The early enrollments are evaluated extremely critically in terms of whatever evidence they can provide regarding leadership roles in school and college, volunteering, extra-curriculars, and community service. 


As Samuel Taylor Coleridge said, “He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration.” And nothing says prepared as much as planning a few years ahead for a deferred enrollment!