Each year, a small number of candidates are deferred from one MBA round to the subsequent one. We often get questions as to what this means as such applicants often feel that they are in a “gray zone” – i.e., they haven’t been rejected from the program, but they have not yet been given the green light that they are definitely moving ahead in the process either. As a result, this decision by a school can be a frustrating one since it results in a delay in the process; if you learn that you have been deferred, there are three things that you should do, which we have outlined below.
While applying to business school is a stressful process, stay positive whatever the outcome – you have accomplished a lot and have much to be proud of! In the case of a deferral, while it is understandably not the ideal result, you are still in the running; essentially, a school has decided to push a decision about your candidacy to a subsequent round because they want to see what the full pool of applicants looks like (for instance, those in oversubscribed industries are often deferred). Note that a deferral does not disadvantage you in any way come the subsequent round; it should definitely be viewed as a strength of your candidacy!
Heed the school's policies
It can be tempting to try to find out why you have been deferred, but once you have heard about a deferral, take a deep breath and take some time to understand next steps. Unfortunately, business schools won’t provide specific feedback explaining their decision, but what they will do is provide you with information on what you can expect from the process going forward. For instance, some schools will ask that you sit tight while others may allow you to provide an update letter outlining anything new in your candidacy as the subsequent round’s deadline approaches. Whatever the steps may be, follow them.
Continue to bolster your profile
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye towards what you can do to strengthen your profile, regardless of where you are in the process. If you have been deferred, this is especially important, not only because you may have the opportunity to provide those updates in a potential interview, but also, as mentioned above, because schools may give you the chance to do so through an update letter.
So, what are some positive updates that you could relay to a school? In short, these can be related to any aspect of your application. For instance, have you been promoted? Completed a project where you held a significant role that had meaningful results? Took on increased responsibility in an extracurricular activity you have been involved in?
Remember, a deferral is a positive indication from the school that you are the type of candidate that they are looking for; use our tips above to help you smoothly navigate the process!
About Ivy Groupe:
Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who has been recognized as a top MBA admissions consultant by Business Insider and Poets & Quants. She 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.
Sign up for our emails at the bottom of the page to get more tips!