Columbia Business School today (Aug. 8) revealed that it will launch a deferred admissions program for undergraduate students interested in going to Columbia for their MBA.
Admissions Director Emily French Thomas said CBS plans to formally announce the program on its website either later this month or in September. She made the remarks at a webinar hosted by Accepted.com, one of the leading MBA admission consulting firms.
Applicants will complete a different application and the application cycle will be slightly later, said Thomas. As with other deferred admission programs, it’s aimed at college seniors who will apply, be accepted, and then work for a couple of years before starting their MBA studies at Columbia. Further details are still being worked out, though it will be open to all undergraduates and not merely those who are at Columbia University.
HARVARD’S DEFERRED ADMISSIONS PROGRAM ATTRACTS MORE THAN 1,100 APPLICANTS A YEAR
Though Thomas could not be reached for comment, Columbia most likely felt it was at a disadvantage versus several of its peer schools that have such programs. Harvard Business School, Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Yale’s School of Management have long standing programs to accept applicants and then defer their admittance to the MBA programs. Harvard’s 2+2 program attracts more than 1,100 applicants a year and boasts an acceptance rate of 11%, exactly the same as the selectivity of its mainstream application pool. HBS’ program tends to favor STEM undergraduates and graduates from far and wide (see HBS 2+2: A No-Risk Way To Get Into Harvard Business School?).
Last year, Columbia Business School received 6,188 applications for both its January and August intakes and admitted a total of 1,019 candidates for an overall acceptance rate of 16.5%. Some 753 of those admits enrolled at the school for a yield rate of 73.9%. Columbia’s acceptance rate for its accelerated MBA program with a January intake is substantially higher than its overall rate. Last year, CBS admitted 232 of the 562 applicants who applied under that January option for an acceptance rate of 41.3% versus the 14% rate for admits to its full two-year program. Some 204 of the January admits enrolled for a yield rate of 87.9%. It’s not clear how many more applicants CBS would get under a deferred program, but Harvard currently receives about 10% of its applications through the school’s 2+2 program.
Admission consultants believe that it’s a good way to get into a highly selective business school if you know as a senior that you would likely want to do an MBA. “Deferred admission programs are very low risk ways for applicants to have a MBA acceptance in their hip pocket as they launch their professional careers,” says Linda Abraham, founder of Accepted.com. ” It gives them the freedom to explore opportunities that perhaps they would otherwise hesitate to explore during those two years for fear that the experience may reduce admissions chances.”
WHARTON, CHICAGO BOOTH & UVA DARDEN ALSO HAVE DEFERRED ADMIT PROGRAMS
Applicants can receive guaranteed admission to a top MBA program, providing them with the confidence to take risks and be bold early in their career, knowing that they have certain next steps secured. A business school, meantime, can widen and strengthen its recruiting funnel, getting on the radar of top college students who might not otherwise be considering an MBA.
Last year, Wharton joined the deferred bandwagon, announcing the Moelis Advance Access Program, for University of Pennsylvania undergrads only (see Wharton’s New Deferred MBA Admit Program). The school said its new deferred-admission pathway will focus on Penn undergraduates with non-traditional academic backgrounds who can defer admission for between two and four years. Chicago Booth’s deferred admit program is also limited to seniors at the University of Chicago who, if accepted, can defer enrollment for three years.
The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business launched a deferred option in 2016 called Future Year Scholars Program aimed at top college seniors or fifth-year master’s degree students. Admitted scholars may choose to begin their MBA after gaining two, three, or four years of work experience. At Darden, there are additional incentives for accepted applicants, including a scholarship of $15,000 per year of study at Darden, eligibility for additional scholarships and early access to the Darden network of over 15,000 alumni, among other benefits.