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  • Writer's pictureMalvika Patil

Top 8 Deferred MBA Programs

Updated: Jan 29

Did you know that you don’t need professional experience to apply for an MBA?

If you’re a college student graduating this year, you can secure a seat in an MBA class at a top business school 2-5 years in advance by applying for a deferred MBA program.

This way, you are guaranteed a spot in your desired MBA program before you even enter the workforce, and can shape your career plan accordingly. A deferred MBA offers you the flexibility to explore different industries or start your own venture.

Additionally, being able to get admitted to a deferred MBA program at a top business school speaks to your leadership potential and lends credibility, which in turn can help you negotiate a more lucrative job offer or jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of deferred MBA programs, eligibility criteria and requirements of a deferred MBA, the comparison between deferred MBA vs regular MBA programs, or if there’s a downside to applying to a deferred MBA, head over to our complete deferred MBA guide.

Want to explore your options? Here are the top 8 deferred MBA programs globally:

  • Stanford GSB Deferred Enrollment

  • Wharton Moelis Advance Access Program

  • Kellogg Future Leaders

  • Chicago Booth Scholars Deferred MBA

  • Harvard Business School 2+2

  • MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission

  • Berkeley Haas Accelerated Access

  • Columbia Business School Deferred Enrollment

Eligibility Criteria

First, let’s go over the broad eligibility criteria for most deferred MBA programs.

Any early career candidate who is in their final year of undergrad studies or a full-time Master’s program can submit an application for a deferred MBA program. These programs target high-potential individuals with clear career goals and strong academic and leadership traits. Candidates entering the class have a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years of professional experience (depending on your target schools).

For example, the eligibility criteria for the HBS 2+2 deferred MBA program are:

  • Undergraduates in their final year of study are eligible to apply.

  • Candidates in joint Bachelor/Master’s Degree programs are eligible to apply.

  • Candidates from Master’s degree programs who have not held a full time work position (other than internships or co-ops) are eligible to apply. To be eligible for the 2+2 Program, candidates need to have progressed directly from undergraduate to graduate school.

  • Students enrolled in PhD programs, law school or medical school are not eligible for the 2+2 Program; instead, these students should apply through the regular admissions process.

Or, for the Stanford GSB deferred MBA program, you are eligible if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You’re a college senior i.e. you are in the final year of your bachelor’s/joint graduate program.

  • You’re in a graduate program (Masters, Law, PhD or Medical degree) that you started immediately after you completed your undergraduate/graduate program.

  • You didn’t work full-time (other than co-ops or internships) before you started your graduate program.

Note: Graduate students should apply in the final year of their graduate program.

Stanford GSB Deferred Enrollment MBA

Stanford GSB Evaluation Criteria

Stanford GSB aspires to develop principled, insightful, and innovative leaders for which they seek students who will be engaged in our classrooms and create positive impacts on campus and beyond. In their application, they seek to learn about how you think, how you lead, and how you see the world.

GSB also states that every candidate is unique and is not expected to fit the same mold as their current students or alumni.

The factors that the Stanford GSB AdCom takes into consideration are:

  • Background

  • Experiences - academic & extracurricular

  • Perspectives

  • Aspirations

  • Values

  • Accomplishments

Note: The school’s decision does not rely on any one specific component of your application - be it your academic performance, test scores, essays, letters of recommendation, work experience, or interview.

Stanford GSB MBA Essays

The essay set for the deferred MBA program applicants at Stanford GSB is the same as their MBA applicants. Here are the Stanford GSB deferred MBA 2023-24 essay questions:

Essay 1: What matters most to you, and why?

For this essay, we would like you to reflect deeply and write from the heart. Once you’ve identified what matters most to you, help us understand why. You might consider, for example, what makes this so important to you? What people, insights, or experiences have shaped your perspectives?

Essay 2: Why Stanford?

Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford GSB experience will help you realize them. If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs.


Both essays combined may not exceed 1,050 words. We recommend up to 650 words for Essay A and up to 400 words for Essay B. We often find effective essays that are written in fewer words.

Optional Short Answer Question

Think about times you’ve created a positive impact, whether in professional, extracurricular, academic, or other settings. What was your impact? What made it significant to you or to others? If you would like to go beyond your resume to discuss some of your contributions more fully, you are welcome to share up to three examples (up to 1,200 characters, or approximately 200 words, for each example)

Wharton Moelis Advance Access MBA

The 2022 class profile of the Wharton Moelis Advance Access program is as follows:

Enrolled students


Countries represented


International students


Female students


US students of color


First generation students


What the Wharton Moelis Advance Access program is looking for

Wharton is looking for candidates who are innovative, ambitious, driven and are keen to use a sense of professional liberty to maximize their early career experiences while creating an impact on the world.

They encourage students from varied academic backgrounds to apply. Their admissions criteria is highly selective and they are keen to admit candidates whose academic and career interests expand the traditional notions of business education.

Wharton Moelis MBA Essays

The essay set for the deferred MBA program applicants at Wharton Moelis is the same as their MBA applicants. So, here are the essays 2023-24 MBA essays you need to write as you apply to the Wharton Moelis Advance Access Program.

Essay 1

How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals? You might consider your past experience, short and long-term goals, and resources available at Wharton. (500 words)

Essay 2

Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)

Optional Essay

Please use this space to share any additional information about yourself that cannot be found elsewhere in your application and that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee.

Kellogg Future Leaders MBA

Kellogg Future Leaders Advice for applicants

Kellogg believes that it is never too early to pursue formal business education. They ensure that top undergraduate students receive a spot in their MBA class. They want candidates to be their authentic self in the application essays and want to get to know you beyond your resume. This is why the application is designed uniquely; Kellogg’s essay questions aim to understand who you are, what drives you, and why you think Kellogg is the right fit for you.

Kellogg Future Leaders MBA Essays

The Kellogg deferred MBA application essays 2022 - 23 are:

Essay 1

Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn? (450 words)

Essay 2

Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)

Essay 3

Please share how you intend to spend the next several years prior to joining Kellogg. (250 words)*

Short Answer Questions

1. What drives your interest in these short- and long-term goals? (240 characters)

2. What is your desired position after Kellogg? (150 characters)

3. What is your long-term career goal? (150 characters)

Chicago Booth Scholars Deferred MBA

If you’re targeting Chicago Booth for your deferred MBA plans, here’s some advice that Chicago Booth’s alum, Emily Ding shares based on her personal experience:

  1. Gain a deep understanding of the personality of Booth students and reflect on what values align well with your own.

  2. As with any community, there is mutual give and take. What are you looking for in this experience? What do you bring in return?

  3. You have limited space, so be conscious of what each application section highlights for you.

Chicago Booth Scholars Deferred MBA Evaluation Criteria

The key traits that successful applicants at Chicago Booth demonstrate in their deferred MBA application are:

  • Curiosity

  • Leadership ability

  • Maturity

  • Competitive scores (to showcase your academic competence)

  • History of substantive internships, part time jobs, and/or an entrepreneurial spirit

The Chicago Booth Scholars Deferred MBA program welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds and interests to apply.

Chicago Booth Scholars Deferred MBA Essays

The Booth deferred MBA application essays 2022 - 23 are:

Essay 1

How will the Booth MBA help you achieve your immediate and long-term post-MBA career goals? (250-word minumum)

Essay 2

An MBA is as much about personal growth as it is about professional development. In addition to sharing your experience and goals in terms of career, we’d like to learn more about you outside of the office. Use this opportunity to tell us something about who you are. (250-word minimum)

Harvard Business School 2+2 MBA

The 2022 class profile of the HBS 2+2 MBA program is as follows:

Total applicants


Committed students


UG institutions represented in the committed student pool


Out of 121 committed students, the pool represents 61 undergrad institutions implying that there are, on average, 2 candidates from each University. This also shows the school’s commitment to admitting candidates from diverse backgrounds.

The majority of the class is from an Engineering or Math/Physical Sciences background; approximately 70% of the candidates come from technical backgrounds.

HBS 2+2: Who are they looking for?

HBS states that it will give some preference to candidates with nontraditional profiles such as:

  • Candidates who intend to work in an operating company in fields including tech, manufacturing, consumer goods, retail, industrials, etc.

  • Candidates from a less privileged/low socio-economic backgrounds such as first generation graduates, or hailing from a low income household or a family with limited exposure to higher education.

  • Candidates intending to pursue technical roles in any industry

  • Candidates who intend to pursue entrepreneurship

HBS 2+2 Essays

HBS Essay 1

As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program? (900-word limit)

HBS Career Goals Short Answer

Briefly tell us more about your career aspirations. (500 characters)

Harvard Post-Interview Reflection

Within 24 hours of your interview, you will be asked to submit a post-interview reflection. This includes direct prompts, as well as space for you to reflect on your interview. Here are a few points you must bear in mind while writing your post-interview reflection.

MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission

The 2022 class profile of the MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission program is as follows:

​Committed students


​UG institutions represented


Underrepresented minority representation


Countries represented


International students


Total female candidates


Total male candidates


MIT Sloan has some of the best gender diversity of all top business schools, with 51% female candidates in the MIT Sloan MBA early admission class.

Academically, Sloan also has some of the most competitive average scores, with the median GPA of the class of 2022 being 3.88 and the median GMAT being 750. For GRE test takers, the quant range (middle 80%) is 161 - 169, while the verbal range (middle 80%) sits at 157 - 167.

The majority of the class is from an Engineering (30%), Computer Science (21%), or Business (21%) background.

MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission: Who are they looking for?

MIT Sloan School of Management’s mission is to develop principled and innovative leaders who want to improve the world and are capable of generating ideas that can advance management practices.

MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission Essays

The MIT Sloan deferred MBA application essays 2022 - 23 are:

Cover Letter

MIT Sloan seeks students whose personal characteristics demonstrate that they will make the most of the incredible opportunities at MIT, both academic and nonacademic. We are on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students. We seek thoughtful leaders with exceptional intellectual abilities and the drive and determination to put their stamp on the world. We welcome people who are independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative—true doers. We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems, and strive to preempt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas. We demand integrity and respect passion.

Please visit the website for frequently asked questions.

Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more professional examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to the Admissions Committee (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).

Video Statement

Introduce yourself to your future classmates. Here’s your chance to put a face

with a name, let your personality shine through, be conversational, be yourself. We can’t wait to meet you!

Videos should adhere to the following guidelines:

- No more than 1 minute (60 seconds) in length

- Single take (no editing)

- Speaking directly to the camera

- Do not include background music or subtitles

Video Question 2

All MBA Early applicants will be prompted to respond to a randomly generated, open-ended question.

Video Question 2 is a part of your required application materials and will appear as a page within the application, once the other parts of your application are completed.

The question is designed to help us get to know you better; to see how you express yourself and to assess your communication style. It does not require prior preparation.

Applicants are given one minute to prepare a 60 second response.

Optional Short Answer Question

Applicants are invited to expand on their background by responding to the following optional 250 word short answer question:

How has the world you come from shaped who you are today? For example, your family, culture, community, all help to shape aspects of your identity. Please use this opportunity if you would like to share more about your background.

This question is truly optional; applicants will not be evaluated more positively or negatively should they choose to respond. This is an opportunity for you to share more about yourself with the Admissions Committee, should you choose to do so.

Columbia Business School Deferred Enrollment MBA

The 2022 class profile of the MIT Sloan MBA Early Admission program is as follows:

Admitted students


GPA range

3.30 - 4.18

GMAT range

530 - 780

UG institutions represented


Countries represented


CBS Deferred Enrollment: Who are they looking for?

Columbia Business School is looking to welcome future leaders coming from varied academic and personal backgrounds to maintain the diverse and supportive community for which Columbia is known for.

CBS Deferred Enrollment Essays

The Columbia deferred MBA application essays 2023 - 24 are:

Essay 1

Why are you interested in obtaining a Columbia MBA in the future? (maximum 300 words)

Essay 2

Who is a leader you admire, and why? (maximum 300 words)

Berkeley Haas Accelerated Access MBA

Berkeley Haas Accelerated Access Program was launched in 2020, making it one of the newest accelerated programs among the top business schools.

Berkeley Haas Accelerated Access Essays

The essays for the accelerated access program are the same as the traditional MBA program. The Berkeley Haas Accelerated Access MBA 2022 - 2023 essays are:

Essay 1

What makes you feel alive when you are doing it, and why? (300 words max)

Essay 2

What kind of a leader do you aspire to be and why?


Thinking of applying to one of these top deferred MBA programs? Book a free chat today.


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