Are you a college senior seeking admission to a deferred MBA program? Many business school programs now offer the opportunity for younger candidates in college to apply to their MBA programs on a deferred basis – in other words, admission is granted early for a spot a few years in the future. This means that after these candidates graduate from college, they join the professional workforce for a few years knowing where they will be heading to business school. Some of these deferred MBA programs include, but are not limited to, Harvard Business School 2+2, Yale Silver Scholars, Stanford GSB Deferred Enrollment, Wharton MBA Advance Access Program, and MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission.
Since these business schools are providing college seniors a spot without knowing what the full pool of applicants will look like in the future, there really is no room for error when applying to early MBA programs. If you are applying to a deferred MBA program, below are four pieces of advice.
Be clear around why you need the MBA
Why exactly are you seeking the MBA at this early stage? Being able to convey why the MBA will be helpful as you pursue your goals is extremely important. This means “connecting the dots” between what you will be doing immediately post-college with what you aspire to do post-MBA. It may be tempting to be vague here since you are a younger applicant and the future seems so far away, but don’t make that mistake. The Admissions Committee will be expecting you to have thought through your goals and how their MBA program fits into the picture; this will also show your maturity.
Determine the right fit
Take the time to understand each deferred program and which one(s) may be the right fit for you. For instance, the Yale Silver Scholars program is structured as one year at Yale, one year of work experience, and a final year at Yale, while most of the other programs are structured as a few years of full-time professional experience followed by two years pursuing the MBA. It can be helpful to speak with alums of the programs to get a better feel for each program and which ones are best suited to helping you achieve your goals.
Maximize the stats
Given how competitive the deferred applicant pool is, it is important to maximize your stats. In other words, having a strong GPA is critical as is scoring well on either the GMAT or the GRE (therefore, give yourself enough time to retake the exam, if necessary). Deferred MBA programs will want to be confident that you can handle the rigor of the curriculum, and all they really have to go on at this point are your grades and standardized test scores (unlike the regular pool of applicants where MBA programs can also assess full-time professional experience).
While you are young as a deferred applicant, it is still possible for you to show leadership (and extremely important that you do so). One way is through your extracurricular involvement – instead of merely being a volunteer, step up and do more. This is not only helpful with respect to exhibiting how you have leadership potential, but also in demonstrating to the Admissions Committee that you will be an engaged member of your class and community while in school. Your internships are another way in which you can take the initiative to step up, in whatever capacity that you can, on the projects that you work on.
Taking the MBA plunge early on can be very beneficial in your career. If you are thinking of going down this path, keep the aforementioned advice in mind to maximize your chances of success.
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Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.