Should You Apply to a Deferred MBA in 2021? |

Should You Apply to a Deferred MBA in 2021?

By Linda M

Updated April 15, 2021 Updated April 15, 2021

Do you have your eyes set on an MBA programme? Are you thinking of going to b-school but don't feel ready to take the next step into your career? Here's why a deferred MBA might be the right choice for you.

Doing an MBA isn’t always an easy choice. Aside from being an expensive endeavour, it’s also highly competitive and time consuming, with MBA programmes taking between one to three years to complete from sending off the first application to graduating.

Depending on where you are in your education, you may already have your eyes set on a specific MBA programme, but you also may not feel as though you’re ready to go to business school yet. If this is the case, don’t worry – you're certainly not alone.

In 2020, to accommodate talented applicants during the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of business schools – including top institutions like such as The Wharton School, MIT Sloan School of Management, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Stanford Graduate School of Business  and Harvard Business School – expanded their offering of deferral options for their MBA programmes.

This trend is set to continue in 2021 and into 2022, as new schools like Haas School of Business have recently introduced new deferred MBA degrees.

If that’s the case, is 2021 the perfect time to apply to a deferred MBA?

Let’s take a look at some of the pros.

Connect and apply from anywhere in the world

Attending in-person admissions events used to be a great way to get a jumpstart on your application to business school. In fact, by connecting with alumni, recruiters and faculty members, candidates could obtain valuable information to make their application stand out in the competitive admissions pool of hopeful MBAs.

However, in the realities of a pandemic world, most events have now been moved online – somewhat levelling out the playing field, allowing candidates from anywhere in the world to make meaningful connections and learn the ins-and-outs of the admissions process.

If you’re dreaming about relocating or going to business school abroad, taking advantage of digital recruitment offerings might be your best bet to fast-track to your school of choice without missing out on all the advantages of attending events.

Apply without standardised test scores

Test-optional admissions and GRE/GMAT waivers have become the norm across the US and the rest of the world.

Not only do these waivers increase diversity and inclusion rates in MBA cohorts; they also make the application process easier for candidates who don’t normally perform well on standardised tests or who currently don’t have the resources to take the GMAT or GRE.

If your dream is to attend a top school in a few years, applying test-free in 2021 might be a perfect time to do so. But be careful – the admissions process is still competitive, so you want to make sure your references, grades and MBA essays are of exceptional quality.

Earn – and save – a portion of your tuition fees

One of the greatest perks of getting accepted into a deferred MBA programme is having a guaranteed two-to-five years in between applying early and starting the programme. While this might seem like a long time to wait around before going to business school, in reality, it offers prospective MBA students more time to put money towards tuition fees and other degree expenses.

Moreover, having more time between securing a spot and starting your degree will allow you to look more in depth into different MBA funding options, including scholarships, loans, employer sponsorships and crowdfunding. Better not waste any time!

Find your career path

You don’t need to know exactly what your career will look like after your MBA before applying. However, it’s helpful to have a general idea of the industries, sectors and companies you’d like to gain experience in at some point.

If you’re not sure what these might be, applying to a deferred MBA programme in 2021 might be your best option. You’ll not only be able to job hunt online – and possibly even land some remote positions –, you’ll also have the opportunity to network on digital platforms and learn more about what the post-MBA job market might have in store for you.

This article was originally published in March 2021 . It was last updated in April 2021

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Written by

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 


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