MIT Sloan Joins Peer Institutions With Deferred Admissions MBA Programs

MIT Sloan Joins Peer Institutions With Deferred Admissions MBA Programs main image

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management recently announced its entrance into the world of deferred admissions MBA programs. These early admissions initiatives allow business schools to court college seniors as they are graduating and planning for the future.

Business schools can vie for top talent as students move out into the world; it’s also a way for schools to respond to changing demographics and needs. Many undergraduates want to change the world now, and don’t want to put off making an impact. Therefore, they are ready to plan MBA programs into their future as they graduate, rather than years down the road.

Fear of missing out

In fact, top business schools that don’t provide such a deferral program could be missing out on the most ambitious and precocious talent. Sloan, however, arrived at the game later than some counterparts, says Dawna Levenson, assistant dean for Admissions at Sloan.

“This is a response to market demand,” she adds. “Peer schools offer this. I was asked to prepare students for admission at other schools and thought we should be keeping them here.”

What it takes to get in as a college senior

In the last year, college seniors at Sloan could apply to the MBA program. Now, it’s open to anyone who will complete a bachelor’s or first degree by July 2019 and plans to work two to five years. The application, which is due April 8, is virtually identical to the one for traditional candidates. Sloan undergrads, however, don’t have to include GMAT or GRE standardized test scores.

Sloan’s admissions team uses the test scores to determine whether applicants will handle the rigor of the MBA program. Sloan graduates will have their transcripts to back up their ability, says Levenson, who adds the school already has a relationship with them.

Anyone considering the early admissions MBA at Sloan should recognize “it’s not a program, it’s just a different channel for admittance,” says Levenson.

“The qualities we are looking for in those who are working are the same qualities we are looking for in undergraduates,” she adds.

Measuring up to traditional candidates

While college seniors won’t have the same kind of work experience as traditional candidates, the admissions committee will have other ways to assess character, leadership, and ability to work well in teams. Participation in student clubs, internship experiences, and volunteer work could provide insight into the applicant’s potential as a future MBA, says Levenson.

Because deferred admissions MBA applicants will be applying in Round 3, they will receive a decision by mid May and have until June 1 to provide a $750 deposit to hold their place in a future class.

Then, they will graduate and work two to five years before matriculating. When they’re ready to join an MBA class, they must contact the school during the fall before matriculation. At that time, they will pay the standard deposit.

Other deferred admissions MBA programs

MIT Sloan’s deferred admissions initiative compares to those at other top business schools. Harvard Business School has the 2+2 Application Process, whereby those finishing their final year of undergraduate study are eligible to apply, and once enrolled, the must work for two to four years before matriculating into the HBS two-year, full-time MBA program. Applicants to 2+2 should be “innovative thinkers who have demonstrated leadership and analytical skills and want to develop their knowledge and passion to make a difference in the world,” according to HBS’ website.

At Yale School of Management, on the other hand, the process, known as the Silver Scholars Program, isn’t exactly deferred admission. Newly minted college graduates immediately enter their first year of the MBA program. In year two, they take on a full-time internship, and in the third year, they complete the MBA curriculum.

Stanford Graduate School of Business also provides a deferred admissions option. College seniors can choose to apply for direct admission or deferred admission. However, direct admission requires students prove their academic background; extracurricular experiences, and impact through internships and work experiences qualify them to begin the MBA program immediately. “Note that for most college seniors, deferred enrollment is a better choice,” according to the Stanford website.

Giving the people what they want

Clearly, the best business schools in the US are looking to reach younger candidates and bring them into their MBA programs. This is part of an effort to keep the MBA relevant at a time when technology, costs, and the evolving concept of work is threatening the existence of these programs. So, business schools must get creative and keep up with their peers, which is part of what motivated Sloan.

“We want to be part of the conversation about attracting the top and best talent,” says Levenson. “We’re excited to be part of the conversation.”

Francesca Di Meglio

Francesca Di Meglio has written about higher education for two decades. She covered business schools and all aspects of management education for what became Bloomberg Businessweek from May 2004 to December 2013. Di Meglio was the consultant editor for the book Admitted: An Interactive Workbook for Getting into a Top MBA Program (85 Broads Publishing, 2011), which was written by admissions consultant Betsy Massar. In addition, she is a family travel and parenting blogger at the Italian Mamma website

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