Quick crash course on Deferral MBA programs such as HBS 2+2 and Yale’s Silver Scholar:
What is it? You apply in the final year of your undergrad program→ get accepted→ start the program usually a couple of years down the line.
Examples: HBS 2+2, Yale’s Silver Scholar, Stanford’s Deferral program, Darden Future Years, IESE’s Young Talent etc.
What do you need to apply? GMAT, application (the most important part) and for several Indian student english language certification such as IELTS/TOEFL (you also need your transcript etc.)
How difficult is the competition? For HBS 2+2 and Yale’s Silver Scholar the competition is intense. Not because the admissions standards are different, but the number of seats for international students are fewer.
For eg. Here is a quick comparison between HBS and HBS (2+2)
Though, the acceptance rates remain almost the same. There are two things you should notice (1) It is slightly more difficult for International students to get accepted to HBS 2+2 compared to HBS regular program (2) Most of the international students who get accepted to HBS 2+2 have STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) as their undergraduate degree.
- The data remains almost the same for Yale’s Silver Scholar and Stanford as well.
SOME APPLICATION TIPS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS TO GET INTO DEFERRED PROGRAMS:
- Start the process early: If you are serious about these schools, start the process early, preferably, ONE TO TWO years in advance. Here is why: if you are an undergraduate student, you are probably doing the same stuff as your peers. And, you need time and guidance to “build your profile”.
- Focus on one or two key activities: Building a profile does not mean that you try out everything. You don’t need to start a club, start a nonprofit, volunteer at a shelter home, teach an underprivileged kids AND top all your exams. Don’t do all these things! Just pick one or two focus areas and get going. Here, you might need some help as to what activities should you pick based on your background.
- Know your strategy: From the data above, it is clear that HBS prefers STEM graduates over liberal arts folks. But, what if you are at SRCC and are targeting these programs? You must realise, based on your profile of course, what exact 2–3 things you must do to mitigate your perceived “analytical” weakness. Additionally, you need to critically analyse your profile and keep mitigating several such weaknesses.
- Know your story! In your application and interviews, you need to narrate your life via a story. Figure out what this story should be.
- Work with someone who knows the process: If it’s your friend or a family member, well and good. Just make sure that they know how the admissions to top business schools work and are aware of the latest trends. Don’t shy away from taking professional help.