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

Deferred MBA programs is getting popular more and more as it offers the opportunity to secure a seat at a top MBA program after two or more years. Therefore, you can pursue these early years with increased confidence and risk-tolerance and perform well in your professional experience also.

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.

The deadline for all Deferred MBA is in April.

Top Deferred MBA programs

Stanford GSB Deferred Admission

Stanford GSB Deferred Admission is an option for students who can apply now, take one to four years of professional experience before starting MBA journey.

Eligibility criteria

  • Those who are in their final year and will receive their degree between Oct. 1, 2022, and Sep. 30, 2023.
  • Or, those who are in graduate program. And, they have begun the program immediately following an undergraduate or undergraduate/graduate program, and you did not have full-time professional work experience between the programs.


HBS 2+2 program

Programs like the HBS 2+2 program the students have to gain professional experience in the private, public sector or non-profit sector before getting enrolled in HBS.

Eligibility criteria

  • Undergraduates in their final year of study are eligible to apply.
  • You are expected to do two years of full-time job, internships are not accepted.
  • Also, there should be no break in your undergraduate education.

Few Interesting points for HBS 2+2

The total number of 2+2 applicants in 2022 were 1287 and 121 were the ones who committed for the program from 61 different number if undergraduate institutes.

Undergraduate Majors


Percentage out of total number of Students applied from the particular majors.









Math/Physical Sciences


Social Sciences


Source: HBS 2+2 Official Site

When you see the data, the students with humanities and social sciences majors have greater chances to get into this program as they will bring more diversity to the program.


Wharton Deferred MBA Advance Access Program

With the Advance Access program, students gain admissions in the final year of study and one has to gain two to four years of work experience in their chosen field before starting their 2-year of MBA program. Students selected in Wharton Deferred program MBA will represent about 10% of the 900 full-time MBA students at Wharton. 

Eligibility Criteria 

  • Students are in their final year of undergraduate and full-time graduate degree program,


Chicago Booth Scholars program

This program is designed for students who are in final year of graduation and they are required to gain professional work experience for a period of two to five years before matriculating the 2-year MBA program at Chicago Booth School.

Eligibility criteria

  • Only students in their final year are eligible to apply Chicago Booth Scholars program.


Yale SOM Silver Scholars program

In Silver Scholar program, if you are selected than just after your under graduation you have to join the program and complete the first year (core curriculum) of 2-year MBA course. Thereafter you will have the opportunity to gain practical experience by working full-time for one or more years; this hands-on experience will refine your management skills and give you an edge when searching for a permanent job. Upon returning to campus after gaining professional experience for certain years, you will finish up your MBA program by taking electives at Yale SOM and the rest of the university, specialized in the areas that will best support your professional objectives.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Undergraduate students in the senior year of their program are eligible to apply for the Yale Silver Scholars program. They must graduate by August 1, 2023, and submit their final records by December 1, 2022.


Darden Future Years scholar program

If selected for the Darden Future Years Scholar program, students are allowed to gain two to four years of professional work experience before joining the program.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Students apply during the final year of your undergraduate program or any full-time masters student who has not held a full-time work position.


MIT Sloan Deferred MBA Early Admission

Through MIT Sloan MBA early admission, potential students will have the opportunity to work for two to five years after graduation before starting the MBA program.

Eligibility criteria 

  • Graduated or will graduate with an undergraduate who will complete their bachelor’s or first degree by July 2022 and plan to work full-time for two to five years after graduation.


Columbia Business School Deferred MBA

You can apply for the deferred enrolment program at CBS during your final year at undergraduate school or graduate college (who have directly joined graduate program immediately after under graduation). If you are selected, you will be allowed to work for 2-5 years, and then start the MBA program.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Those who graduate between September 1, 2022 and August 31, 2023 are eligible to apply for the 2023 Deferred Enrolment Program admissions cycle.
  • Students enrolled in Ph.D. programs, law school or medical school are note eligible. They should apply for standard MA application process.


Indian School of Business Young Leaders Program (ISB YLP)

For students wishing to apply in ISB YLP program serves as a foundation. Apply to YLP during the prefinal, or final year of your undergraduate/post-graduate degree programme. Once you are accepted to YLP, you will need to complete 20 months of mandatory work experience before joining the program.

The list continues to Berkeley Haas Accelerated Access, Kellogg Future Leaders and Carnegie Mellon Tepper Future Business Leaders.


Did you know UAH can help you get into M7 MBA schools and Top 25 B Schools? Find out more about our MBA Admission Counselling to see how we can help you gain admission to your dream Business School!

For more details you can check the below official site of B-schools:

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. 

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 every year.
  • 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 of every year. 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!


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