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Deferred MBA: All You Need to Know





Avg. Age

$ 128K

Avg. Cost of Study

2 – 4

Years Duration 

$ 110K

Avg. Salary

What is a Deferred MBA?

In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, the Deferred MBA program has emerged as an enticing option for individuals looking to advance their careers through a master’s in business administration (MBA) while gaining valuable work experience, saving money, and exploring their interests. A deferred MBA is a program that allows you to defer your MBA admission for a specified period of time, typically two or four years. During this time, you can work full-time, travel, or pursue other interests. Once the deferral period is over, you will be admitted to the MBA program and begin your studies.

Why Choose a Deferred MBA?

To Gain Work Experience

A deferred MBA program allows you to gain valuable work experience before embarking on your MBA journey. This hands-on experience can give you a competitive edge in the job market and help you build a network of professional connections.

To Save Money

Deferred MBA programs offer the advantage of deferring your tuition payments until you actually start your MBA program. This can lead to significant savings, particularly if you plan to finance your education with student loans.

To Travel or Pursue Other Interests

Deferred MBA programs provide the freedom to travel, work on personal projects, or explore other interests before committing to an MBA. This can be an excellent way to broaden your horizons and gain diverse experiences.

Types of Deferred MBA Programs

2+2 Programs

These programs allow you to defer your MBA admission for two years after completing your undergraduate degree. This is the most common type of deferred MBA program.

4+1 Programs

These programs allow you to defer your MBA admission for four years after completing your undergraduate degree. This type of program is less common, but it can be a good option if you want to gain more work experience before starting your MBA.

Rolling Deferred Programs

These programs allow you to apply for deferred admission at any time. This type of program is a good option if you are still determining when you want to start your MBA.

Conditional Deferred Programs

These programs require you to meet certain conditions, such as maintaining a certain GPA or GMAT score, in order to be admitted to the deferred program. This type of program can be a good option if you are unsure if you will meet the requirements for the regular MBA program.

It is important to note that not all business schools offer deferred MBA programs. If you are interested in a deferred MBA program, it is essential to research the different programs available and choose one that is right for you.

Program Costs: Deferred MBA

$ 100K 

Avg. Tuition Fee

$ 25K

Avg. Living Cost

$ 3K

Extra Expenses


Avg. Cost of Study

The cost of pursuing a deferred MBA program can significantly vary, contingent on factors such as the specific school, program, and location. On average, a deferred MBA program in the United States carries a price tag of around $100,000, encompassing tuition, fees, and living expenses. Tuition expenses can fluctuate between $50,000 and $200,000 annually.

Additionally, living expenses can fluctuate between $20,000 and $40,000 yearly. International students should anticipate additional financial considerations, including visa fees ranging from $100 to $1,000, health insurance expenses varying from $1,000 to $5,000 per year, and potentially higher living costs, encompassing airfare, shipping, and cultural adjustment.

While the overall cost of a deferred MBA program can be substantial, there are strategies to alleviate this financial burden, including scholarships, financial aid, government grants, student loans, work-study programs, etc.

Pros & Cons: Deferred MBA

There could be several pros and cons of a Deferred MBA Program. However, if you’re planning to go for such program then you must keep the following in mind. 


1. Gain Work Experience

  • Build a robust resume and develop practical skills through work experience before starting your MBA.

2. Save Money

  • Deferred MBA programs can help you reduce your overall education costs, including tuition and living expenses.

3. Travel or Pursue Other Interests

  • Enjoy the freedom to travel, explore hobbies, or work on personal projects before entering an MBA program.

4. More Time to Prepare for the MBA

  • Use the time wisely to study for standardized tests like the GMAT or GRE and enhance your application.

5. Increased Chances of Admission

  • Deferred MBA programs typically have higher acceptance rates, making it easier to secure a spot in a prestigious business school.


1. Longer Time to Complete Your MBA

  • The deferred approach extends your time in school, potentially delaying your entry into the workforce.

2. May Lose Out on Scholarships or Financial Aid

  • Scholarships and financial aid opportunities may differ for deferred MBA students, potentially affecting your funding options.

3. May Have to Reapply to the School

  • Some deferred programs require reapplication, which could be competitive and uncertain.

4. May Not Be Accepted into the Deferred Program

  • There’s no guarantee of acceptance into a deferred program, and rejection can alter your educational plans.

Eligibility Criteria: Deferred MBA

The eligibility criteria for deferred MBA programs vary from school to school. However, most schools require the following:

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited university
  • Strong academic record
  • GMAT or GRE scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement

In addition to these general requirements, some schools may also require specific requirements, such as maintaining a certain GPA or GMAT score or having a certain number of years of work experience.

It is essential to check the eligibility criteria for the specific deferred MBA program you are interested in. You can find this information on the school’s website or by contacting the admissions office.

Here are some additional things to consider when applying for a deferred MBA program:

  • Your career goals: If you are not sure what you want to do, a deferred MBA program can give you time to figure it out.
  • Your financial situation
  • Your academic record: Most deferred MBA programs require a minimum GPA and GMAT or GRE score.

Your extracurricular activities: Are you involved in extracurricular activities? These activities can help you strengthen your application.

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Scholarships Available: Deferred MBA

Numerous financial aids are available to support deferred MBA students in funding their education. They can help ease the financial burden and enhance your educational experience.


Grants serve as financial awards that do not necessitate repayment and are typically allocated based on demonstrated financial need. These grants can be instrumental in offsetting tuition, fees, and living expenses, ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder your pursuit of a deferred MBA.


Loans represent borrowed funds that must be repaid, often with accrued interest. Several loan options exist to help finance your deferred MBA program, including:

  • Federal Student Loans: These government-backed loans are accessible to eligible students and typically offer favorable terms and lower interest rates than private loans.
  • Private Student Loans: Private lenders provide these loans and may offer varying terms and interest rates. While private loans can supplement your educational expenses, it’s crucial to consider the terms and conditions carefully.
  • Employer-Provided Loans: Some employers extend financial support to their employees pursuing higher education, including deferred MBA programs. These loans can be an attractive option, as they often come with favorable repayment terms and may even include employer-sponsored forgiveness programs.

Work-Study Programs

Work-study initiatives permit students to work part-time while enrolled in school, allowing them to earn income that can be applied toward tuition, fees, and living expenses. These programs offer financial assistance and valuable professional experience that can enhance your resume and bolster your career prospects.


Scholarships are precious financial awards that do not require repayment and are often granted based on various criteria, including academic merit, leadership potential, and demographic factors. When considering a deferred MBA program, exploring scholarship opportunities that may be available to you is essential. Here are some that you should keep an eye on:

Top Colleges for Deferred MBA

Harvard Business School

HBS MBA 2 + 2 Program

Avg. Working Experience: 2 – 4 years*

Application Fee: $100

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard 2+2 Deferred MBA: Overview
University of Pennsylvania

Moelis Advance Access Program

Avg. Working Experience: 2 – 4 years*

Application Fee: $100

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Moelis Advance Access Program Overview
Northwestern University

Kellogg Future Leaders Deferred MBA

Avg. Working Experience: NA (2 – 5 years preferable*)

Application Fee: NA

Location: Evanston, Illinois 

Kellogg Deferred MBA Overview
University of Chicago Booth School of Business 

Chicago Booth Scholars Deferred MBA

Format: Full-time/Part-time

Avg. Working Experience: 2 – 5 years*

Application Fee: NA

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Booth Scholar Deferred MBA Overview
The Sloan School of Management

MIT Sloan Early Admission MBA

Avg. Working Experience: Preferable*

Application Fee: NA

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

MIT Early Entry Deferred MBA Overview
Columbia University

Columbia Deferred Enrolment MBA

Avg. Working Experience: 2 – 5 years*

Application Fee: $250

Location: New York City, New York

Columbia Early Entry Deferred MBA Overview
Yale University

Yale Silver Scholars Program

Application Fee: Variable (sliding scale)

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

Yale Scholar Deferred MBA Overview
University of Virginia

Darden Future Year Scholars Program

Avg. Working Experience: 2 – 5 years*

Application Fee: $250

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

Darden Deferred MBA Overview
Berkeley Haas

Berkeley Haas Accelerated Access MBA

Avg. Working Experience: 2 – 5 years*

Application Fee: $200

Location: Berkeley, California

Berkeley Deferred MBA Overview


FAQs about Deferred MBA

While some deferred MBA programs accept applicants without prior work experience, others may prefer candidates who have completed internships or entry-level jobs. Each program has its own admission criteria.

The deferral period is an excellent opportunity to gain professional experience, explore different industries, and develop skills that will be valuable during your MBA studies and future career.

Policies on deferral extensions differ among programs. Some may allow for one deferral, while others may be more flexible. It’s important to discuss this with the admissions office of your chosen program.

Before committing, think about your long-term career goals, the program’s reputation, financial implications, and whether you’re ready to delay your MBA studies. It’s essential to make an informed decision that aligns with your aspirations and circumstances.

Scholarships and financial aid availability vary by program. Some schools offer scholarships specifically for deferred MBA candidates, while others may provide financial assistance on a case-by-case basis.

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