What, Why, Where, When
Some business schools offer graduating seniors the opportunity to apply for admission that would be assured early with matricualtion deferred between 2 and 5 years to enable the student to gain valuable experience before beginning their business studies. Some of these programs are open to final year graduate students as well. These are specialized, small, and highly-selective programs and it is important to reflect on your aspirations thoroughly, prepare well in advance and have clarity about the field that attracts you most, and the fit between you and the individual business school. The programs vary both in their structures and specific expectations. Research all details thoroughly. Generally, the application process begins in the fall/winter and requires GMAT or GRE scores, transcript(s), application narrative, and letters of recommendation. Some of these programs interivew applicants by invitaition. It is best to complete and submit all application materials early and well ahead of deadlines. Some programs require applicants to submit only within a particular application round.
Continual reflection is essential for any career field and this is particularly true for programs whose aim is to identify at an early stage talented, knowledgeable, and driven students, with a sense of clarity about their career objectives. Most business school applicants take a number of years after college to gain valuable experience, many embarking on a career path they then aim to develop further in business school. For others business school is a change of direction following a prior career. Consider carefully, and continually, your academic and professional aspirations so you make sure such programs would be the right fit for you and to develop an application that is as strong as posible.
Because most business school applicants would have had not only strong academic backgrounds but also 2, 3, 5 or more years of significant work experience after graduation from college, you should aim to develop a portfolio of relevant activities that is well-rounded and shows your preparation for a career that aligns with the objectives of business education. Facility with academics, knowledge of issues of policy, entrepreneurship, society, science, analytics, as well as leadership experience, and some work in relevant areas, would be key for your application. You can develop these in internships, research, and leadership activities that indicate your potential for further growth and your deliberate planning.
Deferred admission programs would expect that you have some clarity about the work you would do for a year, two, or more after graduation from college. They would also expect that the experience you have already gained when you apply would connect fairly well with your stated goals for post-college graduation work. You would want the connections to be as clear and as feasible as possible but don't worry- you won't be expected to know the minute details of the job you would pursue during these years.
Last, but not least, make sure that the program you are applying to will be the right fit for you and will enable you to gain the knowledge, develop the skills, and professional connections that would make this endeavor worthwhile. In addition to expecting you to meet their eligibility criteria, these programs would expect that you can articulate how good a fit you would be for them and they- for you.
Some Deferred Admission Programs
Harvard Business School 2+2 Program
Early admission of applicants who are graduating seniors or final year graduate students. The program requires 2 years of work before matriculation. (admission rate 9%)
University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Moelis Advance Access Program
The school opened this program for applicants from colleges other than University of Pennsylvania in fall 2019. Graduating seniors or final year graduate students apply during round 3. Admitted applicants work between 2 and 4 years prior to matriculation.
University of Chicago Booth Scholars Program
A program for graduating seniors who work between 2 and 4 years prior to matriculation.
Yale School of Management Silver Scholars Program
This program for graduating seniors does not involve work between college and matriculation to YSM. The second of three years at the program is dedicated to a professional internship.
University of Virginia Darden Future Years Scholar Program
This program for graduating seniors requires admitted applicants to work between 2 and 4 years before matriculation.
Stanford University Graduate School of Business Deferred Enrollment
This program is for graduating seniors, as well as for students enrolled in law or medical school directly after college. Unlike other deferred admission programs, it is not required that admitted applicants work for a number of years before matriculation.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan MBA Early Admission
This program for graduating seniors requires work between 2 and five years before matriculation. The program incentivizes MIT applicants.