Kellogg Joins Ranks Of Elite Schools With Deferred Admission

Applications open this month for the new deferred admission program at Northwestern Kellogg, Kellogg Future Leaders. Kellogg photo

Until recently one of the few top-10 business schools without a deferred admission path to its MBA program was Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. No longer. Kellogg has announced the launch of a program that will allow undergraduate seniors at any school to apply to the No. 5-ranked Northwestern MBA and, upon acceptance, defer enrollment for up to five years while they get work experience.

The Kellogg Future Leaders program will be open not only to undergrads from any school: Master’s candidates with no previous work experience are also eligible to apply. And in a twist aimed at encouraging more “double Wildcats,” submitting a score from one of the standardized admission tests will be optional for any Northwestern undergrads applying to Kellogg Future Leaders.

“I chose to attend both Northwestern for undergrad and Kellogg for business school because of the experiential learning opportunities that come from being so close to a major city,” said Katie Parks, Kellogg School of Management Class of 2020, in a statement included with the Kellogg Future Leaders announcement. “In undergrad, I was able to intern at Goldman Sachs through Northwestern’s Chicago Field Studies program, and most recently, at Kellogg, I was able to intern at Bluestein & Associates, a Chicago-based venture capital firm. At both NU and Kellogg, I was able to gain valuable experience in fields that are traditionally hard to break into.”


Like all of the top 25 schools, applications have dropped at Northwestern Kellogg. From the 2017-2018 cycle to last year, apps were down 15.5%, from 4,471 to 3,779; in the last two years they dropped nearly 18%. As a result, some of the school’s other metrics have suffered as well, particularly acceptance rate, which climbed more than 5% to an estimated 26%. Meanwhile, yield slipped in the last year from 51.6% to 48%.

None of which has affected Kellogg’s place in the rankings. It remains in fifth place in the P&Q composite ranking and recently gained three spots to land 11th on The Financial Times’ 2020 list. Nevertheless, as for all B-schools worried about the viability of their flagship MBA, deferred admission is an attractive option for Kellogg, locking in admits early who might otherwise slip away. On the application front, meanwhile, the Kellogg School is exploring other popular options, including a new STEM major that it hopes will appeal to international applicants.

“We’ve always aimed to bring the Kellogg spirit of creativity and innovation to our degree programs, and this new addition is a particularly exciting one for our admissions team,” says Kate Smith, assistant dean of admissions and financial aid, in a blog post announcing Kellogg Future Leaders.

Among the elite schools, you can find deferred admission programs at Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Booth, Columbia, and, most recently, MIT Sloan and UC-Berkeley Haas. Many have similar parameters, but each differs in some significant way: some are more flexible about application requirements, for example, and some offer more in the way of special programming and career development support.


Those applying to the Kellogg Future Leaders program must be in their last year of undergraduate study or a master’s student who went directly into a graduate program from undergrad, no matter their undergraduate major. Anyone who qualifies as a Kellogg Future Leader can then spend two to five years in the workforce, during which they will have access to Kellogg events and admissions personnel while being a $500 deposit each year, money that will go directly into their tuition balance once they start classes. The school also will waive the application fee. However, besides those seeking to become “double Wildcats,” applicants to the Future Leaders program must submit a Graduate Management Admission Test or Graduate Record Exam score as part of their application.

The program promises:

• 1:1 support: “From the time you’re accepted through the time you start classes, you receive direct support from a dedicated admissions officer who will help you stay connected,” Smith writes.

• Access: “Even before you come to campus and are fully integrated into one of our MBA programs, you get to take advantage of Kellogg events and resources. We want to see you on campus!”

• Flexibility: “Kellogg’s portfolio of MBA programs is unique in its breadth. As you get ready to start your studies, you’ll have the opportunity to reassess which program is right for you. This means that you may be accepted into our Two-Year MBA option, but can explore switching to the Evening & Weekend or One-Year Program if you’ve come to realize you don’t want to take two years off from your job just yet. You can also consider the JD-MBA and MMM Programs at that point, though they will require regular acceptance to other Northwestern schools.”

“It’s no secret that planning for life after college can be intimidating,” Smith says. “As Kellogg Future Leaders, you will know that a place is secured for you in a world-class MBA program before you even leave school. You also get to skip the conundrum that many people face when considering the right time to enter an MBA program down the road. You’ll already be set to propel your career forward when you feel the time is right.

“Kellogg is world-renowned for its commitment to creativity, innovation and inclusion. Apply when you’re still in the academic mindset and get the opportunity to call the Global Hub your future home away from home.”

Learn more about the Kellogg Future Leaders program here. The application period for Kellogg Future Leaders opens February 26 and closes April 2. Admissions decisions are promised by May 20.


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