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Top Deferred MBA Programs: How to get in?

harvard business school

Table of Contents


Before applying to an MBA program, the majority of business schools demand that you have a certain level of job experience. This is the conventional route to an MBA, though. You no longer have to have years of experience to apply for an MBA then, Deferred MBA programs enter the picture in this situation.

The deferred MBA program allows you to enrol in any top business school without initially entering the job. But you can only begin the program if you’ve accumulated the necessary work experience.

A deferred MBA program also known as an “early career program” enables business schools to enrol potential students before they start their careers and guarantee safety for their plans and dreams. These shows are rising in popularity across the globe and the majority of elite business schools provide them. The small class sizes make these programs extremely competitive. Depending on the requirements of their program, candidates accepted into this program may enrol after acquiring two to five years of work experience.

Not only that, the Deferred MBA Program offers plenty of advantages that will help you stand out against other candidates. Get mentored by experienced execs who can help you overcome obstacles & reach your goals. Their guidance will give you great insight & open up possibilities. Plus, take part in custom seminars, workshops & networking events for program participants. You’ll engage with like-minded individuals who share your passion for personal and professional growth, forging lifelong connections and friendships along the way. Through these immersive experiences, you’ll broaden your horizons, refine your skill set, and gain a competitive edge that will propel you towards success.

To know more about Deferred MBA click here.

How are Deferred MBA Programs Different?

The typical amount of work experience required for MBA applicants who use the standard application process is between two and five years. You can apply to the deferred MBA program and guarantee your spot before starting your career. If all goes well, you’ll have secured a spot in a prestigious MBA program by the summer after your senior year because application deadlines normally come between April and June of your senior year. You begin your MBA program in two to five years, depending on the length of your deferral period, together with every other person admitted to the same full-time MBA program.

The applications are essentially the same; they call for essays, recommendation letters, resumes, etc. However, the lack of full-time employees causes a modest adjustment in the strategy. The application truly needs to show potential loud and clear because the admissions committees have much less information at their disposal.

Top 10 deferred MBA programs available worldwide:

harvard business school

The traditional route to an MBA has been transformed by these ground-breaking programs, which provide new graduates with the chance to get into a top business school while delaying enrolment for a while. These postponed MBA programs give students the tools they need to establish a solid foundation and quicken their career trajectories by fusing practical experience with a thorough business education.

In this piece, we’ll examine the best deferred MBA programs currently offered, highlighting their distinctive qualities, esteemed professors, and impressive alumni success stories that have had a lasting impact on business. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the terrain whether you’re a fresh graduate trying to obtain professional experience or a future leader looking to make a strategic career move.

1)Stanford GSB Deferred Enrolment

A deferred MBA program is popular. It’s a highly selective business school, usually with 400 students. Prospective undergraduate students with different educational and professional backgrounds can begin an MBA right after their senior year. The school encourages delaying enrolment for 1-3 years to gain work experience before the program starts. You can suggest when you’ll begin the MBA, but the school has the final say.

Ranked #1 in the US News 2022 report of top business schools, Stanford is the go-to option. It emphasizes tech and entrepreneurship, is close to Silicon Valley, and has a collaborative, welcoming culture, stunning campus, and great weather. Yet to be accepted, you’ll need an outstanding application, as it has the nation’s lowest admission rate (6.9%).

  • Emphasis: Technology, entrepreneurship
  • 2021 Acceptance Rate (for all MBA applicants): 6-7%
  • Application Fee: $100

Eligibility: You are a senior in college.

  • Your degree will be awarded between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023, and you are currently enrolled in your final year of a bachelor’s degree program or a dual bachelor/graduate program
  • You are enrolled in graduate school. You didn’t have any full-time professional work experience between your undergraduate or undergraduate/graduate studies when you started the program.

To know more Click here.

2)Harvard Business School (HBS) 2+2 Program

The HBS 2+2 program is a popular deferred MBA option. Applicants must have between 2-4 years of experience. College students and full-time master’s candidates can apply without a full-time job. Students of STEM or humanities backgrounds are encouraged to apply, as the competition for spots is higher than usual.

One of the few programs with existing and accessible data on their deferred enrollment acceptance rates, Harvard Business School’s 2+2 Program reports that among 1,403 applicants to the Class of 2023, only 9% were admitted—slightly lower than their general acceptance rate.

  1. Emphasis: balanced, contemporary
  2. 2021 Acceptance Rate (for all MBA applicants): 11.5%
  3. Eligibility: bachelor’s student, master’s student, joint bachelor’s/master’s student, or master’s student who hasn’t taken a break between programs

Application Fee: $100


  • Bachelor’s Degree Programs
  • Joint Bachelor / Master’s Degree Program
  • PhD Programs, Law School & Medical School

To know more Click here.

3)Wharton Advance Access Program

The University of Pennsylvania’s feeder program for undergrads, the Moelis Advance Access Program at Wharton, is also open to qualified college seniors from any undergraduate program (The deadline for applications is April 26, 2023). The program is looking for creative risk-takers “whose academic and career interests expand the traditional notions of business education.”

Of the 110 students, 46% were women, 16% were first-generation college students, and 49% were US students of  Fellows have free access to some Wharton events and conferences as well as the Wharton community, career services, and unique professional development opportunities, such as mentorship and retreats. Being able to access Wharton’s network, connections, and career support as a 21-year-old is quite amazing.

  • Emphasis: Finance, leadership
  • 2021 Acceptance Rate (for all MBA applicants): 9%
  • Application Fee: $100

Eligibility: The Moelis Advance Access Program accepts applications from students who are in the process of completing or recently completed their bachelor’s, full-time master’s, or another graduate degree. The Moelis Fellows cohort consists of more than 100 universities, including liberal arts, professional schools, and many other degree programs from around the world.

To know more Click here.

4)Kellogg Future Leaders Deferred MBA

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University used to be one of the few top-10 business schools without a deferred admissions approach to its MBA program. not anymore. The creation of a program has been announced by Kellogg, which would enable graduating seniors from any undergraduate institution to apply to North-western University’s No. 5 ranked MBA program and, upon acceptance, postpone enrolment for up to five years while gaining work experience.

The Kellogg Future Leaders program will be open to master’s candidates without any prior job experience in addition to undergraduate students from any school. And in a move to encourage more “double Wildcats,” North-western undergrads applying to Kellogg Future Leaders will not be required to submit a score from one of the standardized entry examinations.

  • Emphasis: Marketing
  • 2021 Acceptance Rate (for all MBA applicants): 20%
  • Application Fee: None

Eligibility: The program is open to all undergrad seniors as well as master’s students who went directly into a graduate program from college.

To know more Click here.

5)Chicago Booth Scholars Deferred MBA

The Chicago Booth Scholars Program (deferral option) and the Chicago Business Fellows Program(part-time MBA option), which cater to fast-track professionals with three years or fewer of work experience, are choices for “early-stage” talent offered by Chicago Booth and Stanford. The deferred admit program, which was formerly only available to UChicago undergraduates, is now accessible to college seniors outside the institution. In addition to strong academic performance and lofty goals, Booth is looking for applicants with a significant internship, part-time, or entrepreneurial experience, all of which can demonstrate your leadership potential Before coming to Booth for the MBA, successful applicants seek two to five years of professional experience. The application window closed on April 11, 2023.

  • Emphasis: Research, quant/data, finance
  • 2021 Acceptance Rate (for all MBA applicants): 12%
  • Application Fee: None

Eligibility: in the last year of undergrad, or the first 3 years of your career

To know more Click here.

6)MIT Sloan Early Admission MBA

The Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is unique in that it does not abstractly discuss management. They are assembling the best minds of the present to address challenging global issues as a member of the top research institution in the globe. They investigate the future of employment at the nexus of business and technology. The graduates of MIT Sloan start businesses that stimulate regional economies all around the world. The goal of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to create principled, creative leaders who enhance management practice and the world.

  • Emphasis: engineering, technology (STEM)
  • 2021 Acceptance Rate (for all MBA applicants): 14.6%
  • Application Fee: None

Eligibility: Graduated with an undergraduate degree last year, or in a graduate program after undergrad

To know more Click here.

7) Columbia Deferred Enrolment MBA

The Columbia Business School Deferred Enrolment Program gives undergraduate students the chance to gain a few years of work experience while receiving a guarantee of acceptance to Columbia’s highly competitive MBA program. It also gives them the flexibility to start the full-time program two to five years after finishing their undergraduate degrees.

To sustain the inclusive and varied community for which Columbia is renowned, Columbia is looking for future leaders from all academic and personal backgrounds.

  • Emphasis: Finance
  • 2021 Acceptance Rate (for all MBA applicants): 14.6%
  • Application Fee: None

Eligibility: students who complete a bachelor’s degree program this academic year.

students of graduate degree programs. To be eligible for the Deferred Enrolment Program, candidates had to have begun their graduate program right after receiving their undergraduate degree.

None of the PhD programs, law schools, or medical schools is open to applicants. Please use the usual MBA or EMBA application procedure to apply.

To know more Click here.

8)Yale Silver Scholars Program

As a Silver Scholar, you will spend the first year of your studies at Yale SOM acquiring the fundamental abilities and frame of mind of a manager through our cutting-edge core curriculum. You will work full-time for one or more years after the first year, putting your management training into practice, honing your leadership abilities, and giving you a competitive edge as you look for permanent employment. Following your work experience, you will return to campus to complete the MBA program, enrolling in electives at Yale SOM and other university locations in the subjects that most interest you and advance your professional aspirations.

You will study with the esteemed faculty of researchers and working professionals at Yale, and you will have the opportunity to do various things.

  • Emphasis: non-profit, leadership
  • 2021 Acceptance Rate (for all MBA applicants): 23%

Application Fee: Variable (sliding scale)

Eligibility: current college seniors

To know more Click here.

9)Darden Future Year Scholars Program (FSVP)

Darden’s Future Year Scholars Program applicants apply during the final year of undergrad (students currently pursuing a fifth-year master’s degree are also eligible to apply). Admitted scholars are considered for scholarships, and receive mentorship and individualized career support, along with many opportunities to build a network through Darden’s community. The application deadline for round one is April 11, 2023; round two applications are due August 1.

  • Emphasis: balanced
  • 2021 Acceptance Rate (for all MBA applicants): 26%
  • Application Fee: $250

Eligibility: last year of undergrad OR fifth year of master’s

To know more Click here.

10)Berkeley Haas Accelerated Access MBA

Students in undergraduate programs can now apply to Berkeley Haas’ top-ranked full-time MBA program if they are thinking about getting an MBA in the future. With Accelerated Access, you can submit your MBA application while still in your senior year of college, receive a conditional acceptance, and then begin your studies at Berkeley Haas after a two- to five-year delay for work experience.

You are urged to look for work during this period that will build your leadership skills and get you ready to participate in Berkeley Haas’ mission-driven business community. You get to decide when you want to go back to business school, at which point you can apply for scholarships and be taken into account for the dual degree program.

  • Emphasis: balanced, leadership, innovation
  • 2021 Acceptance Rate (for all MBA applicants): 13.2%
  • Application Fee: $200

Eligibility: undergrad or grad students at UC Berkeley

To know more Click here.

11) Carnegie Mellon Tepper Future Business Leaders

  • Application Deadline: April 2, 2023 Scores from GMAT or GRE necessary except for CMU undergrad students.
  • One work reference must be sent in.

Eligibility: Qualifying candidates must be college seniors graduating from an American university this school year and without previous full-time job experience. Preference is given to those with good grades, professional internships, and college leadership roles. Those graduating in December should apply during the same year, (e.g. December 2022 graduate applies by April 2023).

To know more Click here.

12) Emory Goizueta Early Admission Deferred MBA

This program includes the following :

  • Deferred MBA for 2 – 5 years
  • Application deadlines: Round 1: April 12, 2023, | Round 2: June 21, 2023
  • Currently offering application fee waiver
  • Option to apply for a GMAT/GRE waiver

13. ISB YLP 2023

  • An MBA program with a delay is offered by the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. Before an admission joins the prestigious ISB PGP MBA, ISB YLP permits a postponement of two years. There are two steps to the ISB YLP admission process. Pre-final or final-year students from any academic discipline may apply.
  • Students are required to submit an online application during the initial stage of the application process along with their academic transcript and essays.
  • The GMAT or GRE score must be submitted alongside the essays in the online application at the second round of the application to the ISB YLP.
  • The candidates who pass the ISB YLP application’s second round are then invited to an interview by the ISB after which the final results for ISB YLP are announced.

To know more Click here.

How to Become an Ideal Candidate for a Deferred MBA?

  • While getting into a top-ranked MBA program is competitive, getting into a deferred program is significantly harder because there are fewer seats available than there are applicants. Top-ranked business schools’ admission committees conduct comprehensive reviews of applicants, so admittance is not based just on a profile’s components. Instead, a combination of character traits, accomplishments, influence, ambitions, and academic prowess determines admission. A deferred MBA candidate who can successfully establish a history of high achievement through prior actions that indicate impact and resilience with a future focus emphasizing an interest in altering the business of a sector or field is, therefore, someone who can.
  • A good application will also include showcasing your maturity, which includes being self-reliant, likeable, and truthful. Being mature includes taking responsibility for your errors. Be prepared to talk about failures or faults in the interview even though you shouldn’t unless specifically asked to. Show that you can take responsibility for your mistakes and that you have learned from your mistakes rather than assigning blame.
  • Ideally, your honesty and likability will come across clearly in your application while taking into consideration your activities, how you interact with the community, etc. A personalized recommendation letter from someone who knows you well and your resume are both excellent ways to demonstrate these skills.
  • Targeting a top business school requires demonstrating leadership potential. However, as they do not hold full-time positions, deferred MBA candidates frequently require assistance in explaining their leadership. Since leadership isn’t just defined through the prism of having a leadership title, I like guiding applicants through this thought process. Instead, it is demonstrated by the way you collaborate with your teammates, take ownership of a project or a part of a project, and participate in extracurricular activities. Think about the work you are most pleased with that you have had a direct role in influencing, and use those experiences to demonstrate leadership in your resume and essays.

3 Essential Elements Deferred MBA Programs Look for

Deferred programs are difficult to get into because of their small size and emphasis on exceptional individuals. The class profile for HBS 2+2, for instance, is significantly more competitive than the general pool. So, what are the requirements for an MBA with deferred admission?

  • To start, you must have excellent grades and great quantitative abilities. But there are a few key characteristics that business schools look for when evaluating applicants for their deferred enrolment programs. The following three items should be present in your deferred admission MBA application.
  • defined objectives and a focused career vision. The admissions committee wants to understand the reasons behind your application, what motivates you, and what influence you want to have.
  • leadership experience is much more important to demonstrate leadership qualities and noteworthy extracurricular involvement when you lack relevant work experience. According to Hillis, “You need to have had some outstanding leadership experience in college.”


Finally, the top 12 postponed MBA programs stand out because of their unique qualities and advantages for future business leaders. These programs give candidates flexibility by allowing them to work before beginning their MBA courses. This improves their learning experience by allowing them to apply real-world knowledge to their academic endeavours.

Students have the advantage of obtaining a position in prominent business schools thanks to the early admission feature, which removes the uncertainty of conventional application processes. Collaborations with reputable organisations build a solid basis for future success by providing access to industry leaders, mentorship programs, and networking opportunities. These postponed MBA programs offer a strong foundation for people to begin their journey towards becoming great business professionals thanks to their distinct features and diversified offerings.

refer to the following video to gain a better understanding!

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