Stanford’s Deferred MBA Program: Get Accepted

Stanford's deferred MBA program

  • Stanford’s Deferred MBA Program launched in 2010.
  • Like the HBS 2+2 Program, it seeks to identify and cultivate the next generation of global leaders.
  • Our college senior admits say that they have great job opportunities in the two years leading up to their MBA program because of their early MBA admit.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has several consultants exclusively dedicated to college senior clients during the first quarter of every year. Their expertise runs deep for the deferred MBA admissions programs across our client pool. In fact, one of the founders of the HBS 2+2 program is now an in-house advisor at SBC.

A recent college senior client, who we absolutely loved guiding, agreed to share her deferred MBA admissions experience with SBC’s readers. One of our most experienced consultants was dedicated to this client’s success through SBC’s All-In comprehensive services. Their focus on strategic positioning included finding ways to meaningfully support the client’s career aspirations using evidence and rich storytelling.  

Her SBC consultant commented, “We worked hard and took an unusual angle that ended up working well. She’s a very bright woman and highly motivated.  I hope she has a wonderful experience at b-school.”

We hope you enjoy this exclusive interview with an inspiring young professional who got admitted to Stanford’s deferred MBA program.

How did you hear about the deferred MBA program?

I attended Harvard Business School’s Peek Weekend the summer after my junior year, where I learned about HBS’s 2+2 program. After some googling, I saw other schools also offered deferred MBA programs, including Stanford.

What made you decide to apply for deferred MBA programs? 

I always wanted to get a graduate degree. As my career evolved, I found myself going down the path of private equity, and an MBA seemed like the most relevant degree to get. One of my tenets in life is “frontloading is key.” So, securing early admission to a program was right up my alley. That way, I don’t have to worry about admissions later.

I graduated a semester early in December 2019, and then COVID hit in the spring. Suddenly, any traveling plans I had vanished. I took advantage of all the time I had left over and used it to prepare my applications.

To be completely honest, I don’t have a great concrete reason for getting an MBA. I think the conventional reasons for getting an MBA are definitely beneficial (for networking, resume prestige, learning skills, etc.), but I think I am just most drawn to the personal development I’ll get out of the degree.

As with many type-A students and high-achievers, we never stop to evaluate the reason why we work so hard. The MBA program will be a great time to reflect on my sense of purpose and motivation for why I do things. Hopefully, that will also help me determine longer-term career goals.

The great thing about deferred MBA programs is that you get access to an amazing network of the most interesting, smart people you’ll ever meet—years before you even start your MBA. Connecting with these people early on has enabled me to jump-start that self-reflection process by learning from others. That’s a huge benefit of the deferred programs that I think isn’t discussed enough.

Stanford's deferred MBA program

What do you feel allowed you to be successful with getting admits? Any suggestions on how to stand out?

Maturity and self-awareness are key! Ultimately, your experiences probably aren’t that unique, given the huge number of applications programs will get every year. But it’s how you frame them, reflect on them, and use them to showcase yourself that will set you apart from others.

Personally, I highlighted a few experiences that didn’t really seem like they tied together based on the subject. But I used it to show a facet of my personality. (When presented with opportunities in life, somehow, I always end up choosing the more challenging one). If you can showcase your personality rather than your achievements on an application, I think that’s pretty impressive and memorable.

What advice or tips do you have for others applying to Stanford’s Deferred MBA program?

First of all: don’t be afraid to apply! Never in a million trillion years did I think I had a shot at getting into the GSB. But I applied anyway, just to prevent any sense of regret of not trying. And it worked out great.

Even if you think you don’t have many concrete accomplishments under your belt, don’t fret. Imposter syndrome is real even for admitted students. Something really enlightening I heard from another admit is that Kirsten Moss (Stanford GSB Admissions Director) said they view applicants as a venture capital investment.

The GSB is choosing a range of people to invest in because of their future potential to change the world. Perhaps they’ve already shown a history of doing so, but other times they haven’t. Instead, those applicants show a promising trajectory that they’ll get there in the future.

Stanford cares a LOT that students have a genuine interest in making some larger, positive, social impact on the world. Yes, the point of business school is for your own career advancement. But GSB wants that career advancement to amount to broader social advancement, too.

Stanford's deferred MBA program
So, pick an industry that aligns with your past experiences and interests. Talk about why that’s important to you, what your career plans are in that space, and gently weave in how your career will have a ripple effect on the communities around you.

Any “don’ts…” to share? What should applicants for Stanford’s deferred MBA program avoid doing?

Don’t go over the word limit on essays, send in additional materials/letters, etc. These are simple rules to follow! But do fill in all the essay/mini-essay sections that are available. Each response is a portion of the larger kaleidoscope that shows how interesting and 3D of a candidate you are.

Do you think the college senior round is more competitive?

It’s hard to say. College applicants are definitely people who really have their s*** together. They’re able to pull all the application components together on a shortened and earlier time horizon (study for the GMAT, have strong enough relationships to warrant great letters of recommendation, etc).

But, they’ve also had less time to accomplish things in life. This means the average of historical achievements is probably lower than if you look at a group of working professional applicants.

I think there’s also something to be said for maturity level. Obviously, seniors, on average, are less mature than older working people. To have a successful application, you must have sharp self-critical and reflection abilities. Also, be unafraid to confront both the good and the ugly side of your personality and accomplishments. Use that self-awareness to construct the best possible marketing package (your application) that you can.

Overall, I don’t think it really matters how much more or less competitive the deferred MBA is. If you’re gunning for top programs, they will all be very competitive regardless of the year and the round and the group of people you go up against. If you are self-aware and can stay on the ball, I’d highly encourage applying for deferred MBA programs.

Even if you don’t get in, you have many chances later to apply. Your GMAT will out of the way—or at least you’ll have a base score to work from. Plus, you’ll learn a lot about yourself through the application process. That’s good for self-maturation as well as informing your next round of apps.

We hope you enjoyed this exclusive interview with an inspiring young professional who got admitted to Stanford’s deferred MBA program. Check out our How to get into HBS 2+2 overview here.  Additional college senior tips can be found here.

SBC’s star-studded consultant team is unparalleled. Our clients benefit from current intelligence that we receive from the former MBA Admissions Officers from Harvard HBS, Stanford GSB and every elite business program in the US and Europe.  These MBA Admissions Officers have chosen to work exclusively with SBC.

Just two of the many superstars on the SBC team:
Meet Erin, who was Assistant Director of MBA Admissions at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) and Director of MBA Admissions at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Meet Andrea, who served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at Harvard Business School (HBS) for over five years.

Tap into this inside knowledge for your MBA applications by requesting a consultation.


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