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Top Deferred MBA Programs : MBA without work experience

Most business schools require at least 2-5 years of work experience before you can apply to their flagship MBA programs. If you are still in undergraduate or graduate school, fulfilling this requirement and then applying for an MBA program may seem like a roadblock to you.

However, there are a few early-career MBA programs called deferred MBA programs that can help you overcome this roadblock. Through these programs, you can apply to some of the top business schools without having any work experience. Basically, you can apply while you are still in the final year of your undergraduate or graduate studies.

Top deferred MBA programs

This article will bring you up to speed on everything about deferred MBA programs, and if you should go for one along with a list of some of the top MBA programs that offer deferred admissions.

Here is an outline of this article:

What is a Deferred MBA program?

Most MBA programs require some amount of work experience to be eligible to apply. However, some business schools have a deferred admission process for their MBA programs. A deferred MBA program gives candidates an opportunity to secure a seat in a future class of the flagship MBA program before they accumulate the work experience required. However, they start the program only after having gained the minimum requirement of work experience.

The early career MBA programs are similar to the general MBA program. The only difference is that early-career MBA programs allow early admission to eligible students who can use the time (before the start of the program) to gain 2-5 years of work experience.

Benefits of a Deferred MBA program

Benefits of a deferred MBA program

Deferred MBA programs give you the liberty of taking career risks early on in your career. The following scenario will help us in our understanding:

Let’s assume that you have just passed out of your undergraduate school, and you wish to work on your entrepreneurial dream of a start-up. Now is the best time for you to apply for a deferred MBA program. Why? Let’s say you apply for a deferred MBA a program and alongside you pursue your start-up venture.

If your start-up blossoms into a full-fledged business, it’s fantastic. You can decline the b-school offer and continue to work on your company. However, if you see your start-up not performing as expected in a couple of years, you have the option to join an MBA program.

Who should apply for a Deferred MBA program?

Deferred MBA Program Confusion

The basic requirement to apply for a deferred MBA program is that you must currently be in the final year of your undergraduate studies or have recently graduated. Basically, business schools allow early career candidates with less or no full-time work experience to apply for the program. Moreover, the competition for admission through the deferred admission process is relatively higher. Partly due to the quality of applicants and the limited number of candidates that get selected through this route.

So, you should apply for a deferred admission program only if you are sure that an MBA program is a definite pathway to your career goals.

Top Deferred MBA programs

Here is our list of some of the top deferred MBA programs around the globe:

  • HBS 2+2
  • Stanford GSB Deferred Admission
  • Wharton MBA Advance Access Program
  • Yale SOM Silver Scholars Program
  • Chicago Booth Scholars Program
  • Darden Future year admissions
  • MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission Program
  • Columbia Business School Deferred Enrollment program
  • Indian School of Business Young Leaders Program

1. HBS 2+2 program

HBS 2+2 Deferred MBA program

The HBS 2+2 program is a deferred MBA program that lets students in full-time undergraduate or master’s programs secure a seat in a future class of the HBS MBA program. Once the students graduate from their ongoing programs, they get to work in any public, private, or no-profit sector for two to four years, before they join the HBS MBA program.

HBS encourages students with STEM and humanities backgrounds to apply for the HBS 2+2 program. However, students from all other disciplines are welcomed to apply for deferred MBA admission through HBS 2+2.

Eligibility criteria for the HBS 2+2 program

The current students who are in the final year of their undergraduate or graduate degree can apply for HBS 2+2 class of 2024 (entering fall 2022). However, you can apply if you graduate from your current program between October 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020.

You must also fulfill the following criteria to be eligible for deferred MBA admission through the HBS 2+2 program:

  • You must be a current student at any bachelor’s degree program
  • Or, you must be a current student at any joint bachelor/graduate degree program
  • And, you do not have any full-time work experience (internships and co-ops aren’t counted)

Note: You can apply for deferred MBA admission through HSB 2+2 only if you went from your undergraduate school to your graduate school without any breaks in between.

For more detail on HBS 2+2 program, you can refer to the following article: HBS 2+2 program – How is it different from HBS full-time MBA?

For information HBS MBA program, it’s class profile, placements reports, notable alumni, and GMAT scores, refer to the following articles:

HBS MBA Class profile

Good GMAT score for Harvard Business School

2. Stanford GSB Deferred Admission

Stanford GSB Deferred Admission

The Stanford GSB deferred MBA program is meant for students without any full-time work experience.

Stanford GSB encourages students to apply for deferred admission if they feel they need to have a certain amount of work experience before they enroll in an MBA program. For example, some industries, such as private equity, recruit only those students who have had experience in these fields before their MBA. In these scenarios, a deferred MBA program can help the students fulfill the criteria for their aspired career paths.

Eligibility criteria for Stanford GSB deferred MBA admission

You must fulfill the following requirements to be deemed eligible for Stanford GSB deferred admission:

  • You are a final year student in any bachelor or joint bachelor/graduate degree program
  • You are a student of any graduate program that you joined immediately after your under-graduation

For more information on the Stanford GSB MBA program, refer to the following articles:

Good GMAT score for Stanford GSB

Stanford GSB MBA class profile

3. Wharton Deferred MBA Advance Access Program

Wharton MBA Advance Access Program

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania introduced the deferred MBA program for Wharton undergraduates in 2017. This program was established with a $10 million help from one of Wharton’s alum, Ken Moelis.  But recently, Wharton extended this opportunity for students outside the University of Pennsylvania. This has opened a new pathway for Wharton MBA aspirants.

Through the Wharton MBA Advance Access program, the students get an opportunity to attain two to four years of work experience in their desired field after their under-graduation.

Application deadlines for the Wharton Deferred MBA Advance Access program

The application deadline for the Wharton MBA Advance Access program are as follows:

Application Process Deadlines
Application deadline April 1, 2020
Invitation for Interview April 16, 2020
Interview Dates April 24 to May 1, 2020
Decisions May 8, 2020

Note:  Students are required to pay a reduced application fee of $100 while applying for deferred admission at Wharton MBA.

Application for Wharton Deferred MBA Advance Access program

Your application for the Wharton MBA Advance Access program is going to be evaluated on the following components:

  • Academic Transcripts (Unofficial ones for final year fall and spring semesters)
  • GMAT/GRE scores
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendations
  • Two essays (same as general MBA)
  • Group discussion
  • Personal interview

Note: You can apply for deferred admission at Wharton during the senior year in Round 3.

You can apply for the Wharton MBA Advance Access program here: Apply for Wharton MBA Advance Access program.

You can find detailed information on Wharton MBA, it’s class profile, employment report, notable alumni, and good GMAT score in the following articles:

Wharton MBA Class Profile

Good GMAT Score for Wharton MBA

4. Chicago Booth Scholars program

Chicago Booth Scholars Program

The Chicago Booth Scholar program is meant for final year undergrad students. This program allows you to apply for a full-time MBA at Chicago Booth during the final year of your undergraduate studies, and then work for a two to four year period after completion of your undergraduate degree.

Eligibility for Chicago Booth Scholars program

Only the students in the final year of their under-graduation are eligible to apply for the Chicago Booth Scholars program.

Application Deadline for Chicago Booth Scholars Program

The application deadline to apply for the Chicago Booth Scholars program is April 2, 2020. If your application is selected, an interview will be scheduled for you in early May 2020. The decision related to your admission will be notified to you on June 4, 2020.

You can start your application for the Chicago Booth Scholars program here: Apply for Chicago Booth Scholars Program.

Application for Chicago Booth Scholars Program

Your application for Chicago Booth Scholars’ program will be evaluated based on the following components:

  • Essay
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • GMAT or GRE scores
  • Personal Interview
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores (for international students who have completed their under-graduation from a non-English institution)

For detailed information on Chicago Booth MBA, it’s class profile, employment reports, notable alumni, and good GMAT score for admission, you can refer to the following articles:

Chicago Booth MBA Class Profile

Good GMAT score for Chicago Booth MBA

5. Yale SOM Silver Scholars program

Yale SOM Silver Scholars Program

The deferred admission to Yale MBA, known as the Silver Scholars program, was established in 2001. 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. However, the course curriculum for the Silver Scholars programs lasts for three years, with the second year of the course dedicated towards a full-time internship.

Eligibility for Yale Silver Scholars program

Yale School of Management specifies that only students in the senior year of their under-graduation are allowed to apply for their Silver Scholars program. So, if you are applying for the incoming class of 2020, you must graduate on or after December 1, 2019, and submit your final transcript latest by August 1, 2020.

If you have any doubts regarding your eligibility for the Silver Scholars program, you can clarify them by sending an email to the Yale admissions office at mba.admissions@yale.edu.

Application for Yale Silver Scholars program

Your application for Yale Silver Scholars program will be evaluated on the following components:

  • Academic transcripts
  • GMAT or GRE scores
  • Two letters of recommendations
  • Performance in the personal interview
  • Quality of summer internship or part-time work experience
  • Extra-curricular activities

The first and third year of Silver Scholars program is going to be same as the general MBA program at Yale SOM. If you wish to know details about the Yale MBA program, it’s class profile, employment report, and notable alumni, you can refer to the following articles:

Yale MBA Class Profile

Good GMAT score for Yale MBA admissions

6. Darden Future Year Scholars program

Darden Deferred MBA Program

Darden’s Future Year Scholars program is similar to most deferred MBA programs where you can apply during the senior year of your undergraduate school. If selected for the program, you are allowed two to four years to gain professional work experience.

Eligibility for Darden Future Year Scholars program

You can apply for Future Year Scholars program at Darden if you are in the final year of your undergraduate or master’s program. So, if you are applying for the incoming class of 2020, you must graduate between September 2019 and August 2020.

You are not required to have studied in the business domain as an undergraduate student to apply. However, you must have a full-fledged idea about the field in which you wish to work in the future. If you are selected for the program, you will spend a minimum of two years working in the domain.

For detailed information on Darden MBA, it’s class profile, employment reports, notable alumni, and good GMAT score for admission, you can refer to the following articles:

Darden MBA class profile

Good GMAT score for Darden MBA

7. MIT Sloan Deferred MBA Early Admission

MIT Sloan Deferred MBA admissions

MIT Sloan recently came up with a deferred admission process for college seniors who wish to secure a seat in their future MBA program. The prospective students will get an opportunity to work for two to five years after their graduation if selected through MIT Sloan MBA early admission. Once they have attained the required work experience, they can join the MIT Sloan MBA program.

According to Rod Garcia, the Assistance Dean of Admission at MIT Sloan, “MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission provides an exciting opportunity for undergraduate seniors to set a future path for themselves at MIT Sloan. There is increasing market demand for this type of early admission among MIT undergraduate students and top students around the world. This is a very positive addition to our offerings.”

Eligibility criteria for MIT Sloan MBA early admission

MIT Sloan deems you eligible for deferred entry to their MBA program if you:

  • Have graduated or will graduate from an undergraduate degree during the current academic year
  • Recently entered a graduate program or are graduating from a graduate program just after completing your undergraduate degree
  • Don’t have any full-time work experience

Application Deadlines for MIT Sloan MBA early admission

The MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission has been designed for proactive students in the final years of their under-graduation and graduation years. Hence, the admission committee won’t have the ‘quality of work experience’ component of the application to evaluate the candidacy of the students. Therefore, each application for MIT Sloan MBA early admission will be given the utmost possible review.

The applicants will be notified about the admission committee’s decision on or before the following deadlines:

MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission process Deadlines
Application Deadline 3:00 p.m., EST, April 6, 2020
Ad. Com’s Decision May 20, 2020
Acceptance of Offer Deadline July 1, 2020

However, for students pursuing their under-graduation from MIT Sloan, the application deadlines for deferred admission to the MBA program are going to be the following:

MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission process Deadlines (For MIT students)
Application Deadline 3:00 p.m., EST, October 28, 2019
Ad. Com’s Decision December 16, 2019
Acceptance of Offer Deadline 1sr July 2020

Application for MIT Sloan MBA early admission

If you are planning to apply for deferred MBA admission at MIT Sloan, you must start preparing the following components of your application:

  • A 300-word cover letter demonstrating your personal characteristics
  • One-page resume
  • A 60-second video introduction/statement
  • Academic transcript from every institution you have attended
  • Two online letters of recommendations
  • Your GMAT/GRE scores

The admission committee is also going to evaluate your application for deferred admission based on your performance in the personal interview.

Note: You do not have to pay any application fee for applying to MIT Sloan MBA early admission.

You can apply for deferred admission to MIT Sloan MBA here: MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission

If you wish to know more about the MIT Sloan MBA program, it’s class profile, employment report, notable alumni, and good GMAT score for MIT Sloan MBA admission, you can refer to the following article:

MIT Sloan MBA program class profile

Good GMAT score for MIT Sloan MBA admission

8. Columbia Deferred MBA

Columbia Business School Deferred MBA Program

Similar to most MBA programs that offer deferred admission, the Columbia Business School Deferred Enrolment program admits early career talents who have clarity about their career paths. You can apply for the deferred enrolment program at CBS during your final year at undergraduate school or graduate college. If you are selected, you will be allowed to work for 2-5 years, and then start the MBA program.

Application for CBS Deferred Enrolment program

Your application for deferred admission to CBS MBA will be evaluated based on the following components:

  • Online application
  • Academic transcript
  • GMAT or GRE scores
  • Resume
  • A letter of recommendation
  • An Essay
  • Performance in the personal interview

For more information on Columbia Business School MBA admission, class profiles, placement reports, alumni, refer to the following articles:

CBS MBA Class profile

Good GMAT score for CBS MBA

9. Indian School of Business Young Leaders Program

ISB Young Leaders Program

There are two types of deferred admission to MBA programs at ISB: ISB Young Leaders Program (YLP) and ISB Early Entry option.

The ISB YLP is a foundation program meant for final-year undergraduate or graduate students who wish to apply for ISB PGP.

For detailed information on the ISB Young Leader’s program, you can refer to the following article: Indian School of Business Young Leaders program

On the other hand, the Early Entry option is also a deferred admission option offered to ISB PGP aspirants, who are recent graduates and have less than 24 months of full-time work experience.

You can detailed information on ISB Early Entry option and ISB PGP here: ISB PGP Class Profile and Early Entry Option

That was all about some of the top deferred MBA programs around the globe.

Here are a few other articles that you may find useful:

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