Even with the ever-changing business landscape, one factor has stayed the same – if you want to break into a high-level position in the corporate world, you need to have an MBA.
Before applying to their MBA programmes, most business schools require at least 2-5 years of work experience. If you are still in graduate school, completing this requirement and enrolling on an MBA programme may seem daunting.
However, there are many early-career MBA programmes known as deferred MBA programmes that can assist you in overcoming this barrier. You can apply to some of the best business schools without having any prior work experience through these programmes. In general, you can apply while remaining in your final year of undergraduate or graduate school.
What exactly is a Deferred MBA?
To be qualified for most MBA programmes, you must have some work experience. Some business schools, however, offer deferred entrance to their MBA programmes. A deferred MBA programme allows students to obtain a spot in a future class of the flagship MBA programme before completing the needed work experience. They do, however, begin the programme only after obtaining the necessary work experience.
Early career MBA programmes are comparable to traditional MBA programmes. The primary distinction is that early-career MBA schools allow eligible candidates to apply early and accumulate 2-5 years of work experience prior to starting the programme.
What Should you Look for When Selecting an Early Career MBA Program?
1. An Early Career MBA Program
It is a common practice among many schools where they admit students who have recently graduated from college for their MBA programs but early career MBA programs are designed for students who are looking for a career change or initial career start. Some of the most notable schools and universities that provide this special MBA program are, Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business and Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management.
2. Mentorship programs
In the Early MBA programs, the students are provided with a mentor who can be anyone from the faculty or an alumni who will constantly guide you and mentor you through various industrial visits and other important projects. Both Willamette and Rollins have this facility in their early MBA program.
3. A curriculum which is heavy on Practical Exposure
Early MBA programs have some of the most unique course structure which is designed to facilitate the practical experience wherein the students are exposed to real hands-on experience in a working set-up such as consulting services, client organizations and other management based professions.
4. Promising career prospects
Under this program, there are basically two types of career opportunities. Firstly the ones who want to pursue a career based in industries can gain internships and secondly the students who want to pursue a service based career can upskill their knowledge in counselling and resume building.
But, why would B-schools give a chance to early career applicants?
The grueling MBA application process which consists of standardized tests, resumes, essays, letter of recommendations and interviews is designed to scrutinize the applicants and prod them to find if they are MBA material, i.e.,-
- If their career pedigree proves them as a leader with strong communication skills.
- If they have well thought-out and realistic post-MBA goals.
- If they have core quantitative and analytical skills.
- If they are in the right place in their career for an MBA.
To sum up, it’s about finding the right candidates who can truly benefit from an MBA, and make the most out of it; in this fact lies your answer – If your career, however short, has shaped your goals and put you in significant roles where you exhibited the above-mentioned qualities, then the admission committee would see that and give you a chance regardless of the years others have over you. For them, it’s about quality and not quantity.
Is it for me?
To apply for a deferred MBA programme, you must be in your final year of undergraduate study or have recently completed your undergraduate studies. In general, business schools accept applications from early-career individuals with little or no full-time employment experience. Furthermore, there is more competition for admission through the deferred admission process. This is partly due to the high quality of applicants and the small number of candidates who are chosen this way.
While an early career MBA may sound like a cure to all ailments, it really isn’t. There is no doubt about an early career MBA being a polarizing topic – you will hear as much praise as criticism. Ultimately, it all comes back to you – if it’s a right fit, you are in for a ride but if it isn’t, it might just be a blunder of a lifetime that you are going to regret. To find out if it’s the right fit for you, just put yourself on the couch and ask this question:
“At this point in my career, what benefits me more – education or experience? What is more important to my goals?”
While answering, you might realize that an MBA is just the right push that you need right now or you might decide to wait sometime and strengthen your candidacy more.
If you are still not sure, take a look at the pros and cons of an early career MBA:
Accelerated career progression
You not only get an early start in terms of education, but also instead of wasting away years in uninteresting job roles with no relevance to your goals, with an MBA degree, you can break early into the corporate sector, and work your way up from there.
A well-defined career path
Many people do MBA to switch careers, but if you are already sure about what you want, and even have a detailed post-MBA goals list, with early MBA you can carve yourself a focused path, and gain relevant skills and work experience from the beginning itself.
As a recent college graduate you are already used to being full-time students, hence you might find your transition smoother than those who have been working for years. Also, you are more likely to perform better on standardized tests.
As a young graduate, your future career choices are crucial. Owing to your little experience, it can a bit intimidating and frustrating. But with MBA programs, your B-school helps you reach your long-term goals by guiding you to just the right live projects, internships, and other recruitment opportunities including the on-campus placement.
Exposure and development
A well-structured early career MBA program from a reputable B-school not only facilitates your academic growth but also professional and personal growth with their diverse clubs, activities, and events giving you ample opportunity to grow your skills and resume.
If you get in, you’ll be part of a diverse and extraordinary student community where everyone has something to offer. An MBA is an opportunity for you to learn from them, and form lifelong connections with like-minded people. Not to forget, a strong alumni network can guide you while you are doing MBA, and afterward.
Salary & employability
Compared to MBA graduates with years of work experience, the starting salary of early-career MBA graduates is less. Also, many employers would prefer candidates with more experience for a higher level job. But as you gain more experience, the gap would start bridging.
Tough admission process
For the year 2016, Harvard Business School had 9,543 applicants! So, you get the idea of how popular an MBA degree is. This is where the tough application process comes in. Your competitors are going to be some of the most exceptional people with significant experience and you will have to prove that you are better than them.
Losing a way out
Many people go for MBA after years of working either because they want to switch careers or else they are familiar with their chosen field and are sure of their decision. If you go for an MBA this early in your career, some years down the line, you might find out that you aren’t happy with the field that you chose, and lose the chance to use MBA to switch careers.
Keeping up with the curriculum
An MBA is an intensive and tightly structured program. It can be hard to keep up with, especially, when you have a little practical experience to understand the theoretical concepts. Similarly, you might find yourself lacking, therefore, intimidated among people who have much more life and work experience over you.
How to ace your MBA admission essays as an early career graduate?
The answer to this mystery is to be specific, clear and memorable in your admission essays. The admission committee reads thousands of essays every day, if you are going to copy and paste generic statements of you being a leader, then you are asking to be forgotten. Draw a distinct picture of you; “I am a leader” isn’t enough, you need to back it up with an incident where you acted as a leader, and move the focus of that story from ‘What’ to ‘Why’ and ‘How’. If you are answering a question about why you chose MBA from that particular B-school, then refer to specific programs, clubs, activities, etc which that B-school offers, and would help your goals.
Top 10 B-Schools that offer MBA to early graduates:
1. Harvard Business School
The HBS 2+2 programme is a deferred MBA programme that allows students enrolled in full-time undergraduate or master’s degrees to enrol in a future HBS MBA class. Students work for two to four years in any public, commercial, or non-profit sector after graduating from their current studies before enrolling in the HBS MBA programme.
Students with STEM and humanities backgrounds are encouraged to apply to the HBS 2+2 programme. However, students from all fields are encouraged to apply for this MBA admission through HBS 2+2.
The Students still in their final year of graduate studies can apply for the HBS 2+2 class of 2024. (entering fall 2022). You may also apply if you graduate from your present programme between October 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020.
2. Stanford Graduate School of Business
The Stanford GSB deferred MBA programme is designed for students who have never worked full-time.
If candidates believe they need more work experience before enrolling in an MBA programme, Stanford GSB encourages them to petition for deferred admission. Some businesses, such as private equity, hire only students who have worked in these disciplines prior to earning their MBA. This MBA programme can assist students in meeting the requirements for their desired career choices in these situations.
3. Wharton School of Business
In 2017, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School launched a deferred MBA programme for Wharton undergraduates. Ken Moelis, a Wharton alum, donated $10 million to help start this programme. However, Wharton recently extended this possibility to students from other universities. As a result, aspirants to the Wharton MBA programme now have a new option.
After completing their undergraduate studies, students can get two to four years of work experience in their selected profession through the Wharton MBA Advance Access programme.
4. Chicago Booth
The Chicago Booth Scholars programme is for students in their final year of college. This programme permits you to apply for a full-time MBA at Chicago Booth during your last year of undergraduate study and then work for two to four years after graduation.
5. Yale School of Management
In 2001, the Silver Scholars programme for deferred admission to Yale MBA was founded. This programme is unique among the early-career MBA programmes discussed in this post. Unlike other deferred admission programmes, the Silver Scholars programme recruits early career talent directly to their MBA school. On the other hand, the Silver Scholars programme has a three-year curriculum, with the second year of the programme dedicated to a full-time internship.
6. Darden School of Business
The Future Year Scholars programme at Darden is comparable to most postponed MBA programmes in that students can apply during their final year of college. If accepted into the programme, they will have two to four years of professional work experience.
7. MIT Sloan School of Management
For college seniors who want to ensure a spot in their future MBA school, MIT Sloan recently introduced a deferred admission process. If selected for MIT Sloan MBA early admission, prospective candidates will have the chance to work for two to five years after graduation. Then, they can apply to the MIT Sloan MBA programme once they have completed the qualifying job experience.
8. Columbia Business School
The Columbia Business School’s deferred Enrolment programme welcomes early-career talents who have clarity about their future paths, similar to most MBA programmes that provide deferred entry. During your final year of undergraduate or graduate school, you can apply for the CBS deferred enrolment programme. If you are chosen, you will be able to work for two to five years before beginning the MBA programme.
9. Haas School of Business
The University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the country’s second-oldest business school, has been challenging the status quo since its origin in 1898.
Berkeley Haas is the epicenter of the future. We encourage you to discover more about Haas, its outstanding faculty, including two Nobel Laureates in Economics, and its dedicated community of students and alumni.
10. Stern School of Business
The Stern School of Business NYU is ranked No. 12 (tie) in Best Business Schools and No. 4 in Part-time MBA. Schools are actually rated based on their performance on widely regarded excellence factors.
Stern typically has over 3,000 applicants, and roughly 1,000 accepts, with a 29 percent acceptance rate. Those who are admitted usually have a GMAT score of 723 and a GPA of 3.6.
Other B-schools that you should check-out are
|Carey Business School, John Hopkins (University in Baltimore, Maryland)||Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, University of Delaware|
|College of Business, San Francisco State University||Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University|
|Fox School of Business, Temple University||Frank G.Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University|
|La Salle University School of Business||Lucas Graduate School of Business, University of Baltimore|
|Northern Illinois University||Rohrer College of Business, Rowan University|
|Peter J. Tobin College of Business, St. John’s University||Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University|
Anglia Ruskin University
University of Bedfordshire
LCA Business School
Leeds Beckett School
Liverpool John Moores University
University of Derby
University of Northampton
University of Sunderland
University of West London
West London College
London School of Commerce
|New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), Vancouver, BC (Canada)||Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, British Columbia|
|Brock University||Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia|
|University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario||Vancouver Island University (SPP), Nanaimo, British Columbia|
|Australian National University – College of Business and Economics||Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT|
|Melbourne Business Schools(MBS) – University of Melbourne||Monash University- Graduate School of Business|
|Sydney Business school (SBS) – University of Wollongong||La Trobe University – La Trobe Business School|
|MGSM Macquarie Graduate School of Management|
If an early career MBA is a right fit for you, then you get more years to reap the financial and professional benefits of MBA, but if it isn’t, you need to be patient and wait a few years. MBA is a huge investment, so take your time and look at the pros and cons.
If you can’t ignore the cons but still want to start early, then you can always go for Masters in Management which is specifically tailored for early career graduates!
Q1. What institution offers the most straightforward MBA program?
The College of Business at Colorado State University offers one of the most convenient and accessible online MBA programmes available. The program’s outstanding curriculum and the business school’s AACSB accreditation make it an excellent choice for distant learners.’
Q2. Which MBA Programs Are in Demand?
According to the 2019 corporate recruiter study, the largest demand is for finance, project management, consulting, strategy, and business analytics specialists. On the other hand, employers hire MBA graduates with a variety of specialisations since each degree type is suited to a particular position.
Q3. Is it important where you obtain your MBA?
The answer is contingent on your prospective employer. Some employers place a premium on where individuals obtained their MBAs, while others value degree speciality or relevant work experience. MBA rankings may convey that only elite business school graduates get work, but this is not the case.
Q4. Is an MBA appropriate for everyone?
An MBA is only worthwhile when the graduate intends to work in a business-related discipline, management, or as the founder of a company. Those working in other industries may not find an MBA relevant unless they are in management or leadership positions. In addition, MBA degrees are not all made equal.
Q5. How much does a two-year MBA in the United States cost?
An MBA degree can be expensive, but the average tuition for a two-year MBA programme is more than $60,000. Tuition and fees at one of the top business schools can cost up to $100,000 or more.