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Been Deferred? Here’s What You Can Do

Every year, business schools defer a select number of applicants from one MBA round to the next one. Getting deferred often can be stressful as you haven’t quite been accepted, but you also haven’t quite been rejected either.

Shaifali Aggarwal, Founder and CEO of Ivy Groupe, a boutique MBA admissions consulting company, recently offered a few tips on what applicants can do if they get deferred.


Often, applicants will see a deferral as a negative outcome. But Aggarwal says that isn’t the case.

“In the case of a deferral, while it is understandably not the ideal result, you are still in the running; essentially, a school has decided to push a decision about your candidacy to a subsequent round because they want to see what the full pool of applicants looks like (for instance, those in oversubscribed industries are often deferred),” Aggarwal explains. “Note that a deferral does not disadvantage you in any way come the subsequent round; it should definitely be viewed as a strength of your candidacy.”


Unfortunately, business schools usually won’t give a reason for why you’ve been deferred. As eager as you may be to find out the reason, Aggarwal recommends being patient and heeding to the school’s specific policies.

“For instance, some schools will ask that you sit tight while others may allow you to provide an update letter outlining anything new in your candidacy as the subsequent round’s deadline approaches,” Aggarwal says. “Whatever the steps may be, follow them.”


Deferred applicants will typically have an opportunity to provide updates on their profile in the next admissions round. Experts say it’s important to look into how you can strengthen your candidacy if you’ve been deferred.

“Take a look at your application and understand where your weaknesses might be. Retake the GRE/GMAT if you can, or get a colleague, mentor, or boss to write you another letter of recommendation,” Nathan Wilgeroth, of Abound MBA, says. “Especially for a business-related program, you can demonstrate your proficiency through proof of a raise or promotion at work.”

Sources: Ivy Groupe, Abound MBA

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