Deferred MBA: Admission to Columbia MBA in the Last Year of University? Save Five-Figure Consultant Costs as an International Applicant!

Last Modified 2023/02/04

What is a Deferred MBA?

An early admission MBA with maximum flexibility – Deferred MBA

This article is mainly an introduction to the Deferred MBA program. In addition, I also wrote an article, “Keys to admission of low-scoring students to Columbia Business School Deferred MBA”, sharing how I got the M7 MBA admission from Columbia University in the City of New York before graduating from my senior year in college!

Need work experience to apply for an MBA? Not true anymore!

The Deferred MBA is a new program that has been introduced by the top MBA in the United States in recent years and is new to many international students. In short, students can apply for a Deferred MBA in their final year of college or master’s degree, and if they are admitted to a Deferred MBA, they can work for 2 to 5 years before enrolling in the MBA program. The application process, documents, and focus are mostly the same for Deferred MBA and MBA programs. After acceptance, Deferred MBA admits will not be divided into separate classes, and many Deferred MBA programs even waive application fees. The savings of $200-$300 per application is significant!

仲介不會推薦你的神祕項目-Deferred MBA

How hard is it to get into a deferred MBA?

The program is new, the number of places is small, and the difficulty of application is high; therefore, most MBA consultants do not actively recommend students to apply. As the result, Deferred MBA programs are relatively little known.

Currently, only M7 MBA and a few Top MBA have launched Deferred Enrollment Programs, which makes it difficult to apply (the cohort is small). Another reason is that the MBA application materials and process differ greatly from other master’s programs.

There is an article on WeChat describing the difficulty of applying for the Deferred MBA program (source: BeBeyond):

How do deferred MBA programs work?

Most top MBAs tend to encourage students to return to campus after entering the workplace (the average work experience is also 4-5 years) since business is a practical discipline.

Instead of waiting until you have 3-5 years of work experience to apply, the Deferred MBA I am introducing today will give you a “top MBA admission guarantee” before you graduate from college/graduate school. This program requires students to apply in their final year of college or master’s degree, current master’s degree applicants must not have had any full-time work experience (other than internships) during their college or master’s degree. Admitted students can enroll in the program within the next 2-5 years.

For those of you who are still wondering whether to pursue a master’s degree directly after graduation or to enter the workforce immediately, the Deferred MBA is like an insurance policy that allows you to “go back to school” at any time: after working or even starting your own business for 2-5 years after graduation, depending on your actual needs, you can choose to enroll in the MBA program at any time.

Is Deferred MBA worth it? Advantages & Disadvantages


  1. Get your GMAT or GRE scores at the peak of your study mindset: Unlike traditional MBA programs, you can avoid the challenge of juggling a challenging MBA application with a full-time job by locking in a ticket in advance! It’s easier to take the GMAT or GRE before graduation than to prepare for the tough exams after you start working.
  2. Freedom of career choice: As one of the most difficult master’s programs to apply for, top MBAs have nearly stringent requirements for applicants’ academic and career backgrounds (e.g., rigorous and feasible career plans, employment with globally recognized companies, etc.), while changing career paths and startups are all potential risks in the application process. If you are admitted to the Deferred MBA, you will have more options to explore without worrying that a change in career path will affect your future MBA application.
  3. Freedom to choose when to enroll: Deferred MBAs often give admitted students 2-5 years to explore, but of course, if you find that you don’t need an MBA you can always choose not to enroll and continue your career.
  4. Competing with different applicants: For me, this is one of the advantages I feel the most! Since I have two years of entrepreneurial experience in college, I have an advantage among Deferred MBA applicants (senior or recent master’s graduates). The existence of the Deferred MBA is also an opportunity to apply for an MBA in advance.
  5. Fewer applicants in Asia: Since Deferred MBA is not well known in Asia, there are not many applicants compared to other master’s programs, resulting in a small advantage for Asian Deferred MBA applicants.
  6. You don’t have to wait until you enroll to access the MBA community’s network and resources! Take Columbia Business School (CBS) Deferred Enrollment Program as an example, after you’re admitted, you can attend conferences, use Career Office resources, connect with alumni, and more.


  1. Annual deposit: Although most Deferred MBA programs waive the application fee to encourage students to apply, the Deferred Enrollment Program at Columbia Business School (CBS), for example, requires an annual deposit of $500 until the year of admission.
  2. Lower acceptance rate than Regular MBA: The huge benefits of the Deferred MBA come with a lower acceptance rate than the Regular MBA. The MBA application materials and interviews required are indeed more challenging for senior students! In addition to short, medium, and long-term career goals, “Why school” essays, interviews, etc., all require long preparation time for self-reflection, school information research, and even networking. Almost all Deferred MBA programs openly state that even if the application for Deferred MBA fails, it will not affect the subsequent MBA application. In my opinion, if you have applied for a Deferred MBA but failed and then reapplied for MBA after working for a few years, you even have a little advantage because you can show your Commitment to MBA!


This offer has a different meaning to me. Coming from a non-feeder school (non-U.S. college and our alumni have never received a Deferred MBA offer), with a low GPA and a non-traditional background (student entrepreneur), I was able to get the first Deferred MBA offer. I believe everyone else has a chance too!

I spent almost 4 hours a day during the process of my MBA application with the mentality of “Maximum Effort = Zero Regret”. Business school application is a self-reflection process, so consider why you need to apply before the school accepts you!

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