What You Need to Know About Early & Deferred Admissions

What You Need to Know About Early and Deferred Admissions

When you decide to apply for an MBA depends on where you’re at with your career and goals. Business schools often offer a variety of ways to apply—from early to regular admission and even deferred.

US News recently spoke to experts, who explain how early and deferred admission programs work, and what applicants should know about each.


Early admission MBA programs are a good option if you’re a high-achieving undergraduate student who’s set on a specific business school.

“These programs are designed for students with no full-time work experience and open the door for recent graduates to build expertise in a chosen field before getting their MBA,” Alana Olswing, of InGenius Prep, says.

One of the biggest benefits of applying early admission is having higher odds of acceptance since most business schools admit students based on a rolling basis.

“It gives people an option to put themselves at the head of the line,” Michael Robinson, a senior director of MBA admissions at Columbia Business School, tells US News.

Olswing says the best way for early admission applicants to distinguish themselves amongst the competition is to convey both ambition and a unique approach to business.

“This means that you can distinguish yourself by pursuing impactful leadership opportunities in your activities and internships, and bring business to creative spaces like the humanities and social sciences,” Olswing says. “Aim for tangible and demonstrative achievements. If you are applying for early admit programs, you need to take the time to gain business experiences that are impressive enough for them to go ahead and admit you now.”


Deferred admission MBA programs allow students to gain work experience after they’re admitted. Typically, deferred admission programs will guarantee college seniors a seat and allow them to enroll in the MBA program two to five years post-college.

“This allows students to focus on their work experience with their MBA plans already in place,” Olswing says.

A big benefit of deferred admission is the flexibility it gives for students who want to explore post-undergraduate jobs or experiences.

“So instead of me just kind of naturally taking this job with this big corporate brand, knowing that will help me get into MBA school, now that I already have an offer in hand, I might be able to take a job at a startup or at a nonprofit – something that is really more of a passion project,” Jarrett Brandon Early, a senior admissions consultant with the Menlo Coaching admissions consulting company, says of potential MBA students.

Sources: US News, InGenius Prep

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