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MBA vs Deferred MBA: What should be your choice?


The decision to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a significant milestone in one's academic and professional journey. However, for some individuals, the path to an MBA begins before entering the workforce. Deferred MBA programs have gained prominence in recent years, offering undergraduate seniors or master's degree candidates the opportunity to secure a coveted spot in a prestigious MBA program prior to gaining substantial work experience. Let’s look into some differences between MBA and Deferred MBA applications, which might be helpful for you. 

MBA vs Deferred MBA: What should be your choice?
Source: Leland


Mba application

Deferred mba application

Goal statement emphasis

Focus primarily on post-MBA goals, requiring a detailed plan outlining career aspirations and how the MBA program fits into those goals.

Requires inclusion of pre-MBA work plans, showcasing a clear understanding of the steps to be taken before starting the MBA program, and how these experiences contribute to future success.

Goal detail expectation

Expects fully developed post-MBA goals with detailed insights into targeted industries and roles.

Allows for slightly less fleshed-out goals, understanding that candidates may lack extensive professional experience and insider knowledge of their future roles. Still, candidates need to demonstrate clarity of purpose and direction.

Leadership evaluation 

Evaluates professional leadership experiences, expecting a robust track record of leadership in the workplace.

Recognises limited professional experience, hence emphasises on demonstrated leadership potential through extracurricular activities, campus involvement, or high school experiences.

Numerical Data Importance

While GPA and GMAT scores are essential, they may be weighed alongside professional achievements and experiences.

Relies heavily on numerical data like GPA and GMAT/GRE due to the absence of a significant professional track record. Candidates need to ensure top-notch academic performance and standardised test scores.

Professional Experience Evaluation 

Considers extensive professional experience, including full-time employment, internships, and entrepreneurial ventures, as a crucial aspect of candidate evaluation.

Acknowledges limited but still significant professional experiences such as internships or part-time jobs and evaluates candidates based on the impact and initiative shown within those roles.

STEM Preference

Does not necessarily prioritise STEM backgrounds, valuing diverse academic and professional backgrounds

 Some top schools may favour STEM majors due to their analytical skills, but candidates from various academic backgrounds, including traditional finance, are still accepted.

Which application is better for you?

If you’re a student still pursuing your graduation, you should go for deferred MBA program

Individuals pursuing a master's degree, particularly in fields related to business or other relevant disciplines, may also be eligible to apply for deferred MBA programs.

Deferred MBA programs often target exceptionally talented and high-achieving students who demonstrate leadership potential and a strong academic record.

Traditional MBA programs are basically for candidates who have prior work experience of at least 2 years (may vary according to the university they’re applying for). Traditional MBA programs target individuals with varying levels of professional work experience, including working professionals, mid-career professionals, career switchers, entrepreneurs, and recent graduates with work experience.


In conclusion, the choice between a traditional MBA and a deferred MBA program hinges on factors like academic background, work experience, and career goals. Deferred MBA programs cater to undergraduates or master's degree candidates seeking early admission to prestigious MBA programs, emphasizing academic excellence and pre-MBA plans. Conversely, traditional MBA programs target candidates with significant work experience, offering opportunities for career advancement and skill development. Whether you opt for a deferred MBA to kickstart your career or a traditional MBA to complement your experience, both paths promise growth in the dynamic field of business administration.

We know and understand that the application process can be overwhelming, so we are here for you. The study abroad experts at Hello Study Global are there for you every step of the way. From preparing for entrance exams to college applications, we will guide you to success.

Feel free to reach out to us at Hello Study Global.

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