Deferred Enrollment

Stanford GSB builds an MBA class with diverse educational and professional backgrounds. If you are in the final stages of your educational program, we encourage you to consider applying to the MBA Program.

Criteria for Deferred Enrollment


Graduation from a degree program between October 2018 and September 2019. You must have been enrolled full-time prior to graduation.


Current full-time enrollment in a law or medical program.


Your educational program must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Undergraduate degree program
  • Combined undergraduate/graduate program (pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees simultaneously)
  • Graduate program which you entered directly from an undergraduate program. (If there is a gap of one or more academic years between the two programs, you do not qualify for deferred enrollment.)

Choosing Between Direct and Deferred Enrollment

Choose direct enrollment if you feel ready to pursue your MBA because of your current academic background, extracurricular experiences, impact through internships and work experiences, and personal aspirations. Note that for most college seniors, deferred enrollment is a better choice.

Choose deferred enrollment if you feel you would benefit from obtaining full-time work experience before enrolling. This is a good choice if you are unsure of your long-term professional path, and would like to explore an industry before earning your MBA.

Additionally, certain industries — private equity and biotechnology in particular — tend to recruit only MBA candidates with pre-MBA experience in that field, or with specialized knowledge. Management consulting firms also typically prefer MBA candidates with work experience. Deferring enrollment for a couple of years may be a wise decision if you wish to work in one of these industries.

If you choose to defer enrollment, we expect you to be productively engaged (such as in full-time work or full-time study) during the deferral period. Pursue opportunities that enable you to build expertise, enhance your skills and knowledge, expand your perspective, and develop professional judgment and self-confidence. We ask you in the application what your plans are for the period between graduation and your enrollment at Stanford.

Requesting Direct or Deferred Enrollment

If you meet the criteria for deferred enrollment, you may apply either to attend business school immediately following your university program (direct enrollment), or to work before attending business school (deferred enrollment). In most cases, we offer a two-year deferral.

In your Stanford MBA application, you will select the year in which you would prefer to enroll. Note that, even if you request direct enrollment, we may grant you deferred enrollment if we feel you would better contribute, grow, and learn after gaining full-time work experience. We may also offer deferral for a different amount of time than you request.

If you request, and are qualified for, deferred enrollment, you will pay a reduced application fee of $100.

Applying for a Fellowship and Deferred Enrollment

If you are applying for deferred admission (for example, if you are a college senior) and would like to apply for a specific fellowship, such as Partnership 4 Diversity, USA MBA Fellowship, Stanford Africa Fellowship, or the Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship, you must apply for those fellowships the year prior to your enrollment at Stanford GSB.

If you meet the eligibility for deferred enrollment and hope to begin at Stanford GSB within the next year, you can apply for the fellowship at this time. However, if you do defer your enrollment or we admit you for a different year, your essay and application for any fellowship will not carry over. You will be required to apply again for the fellowship in the year prior to your enrollment.

Applying to Joint/Dual Degrees and Deferred Enrollment

If you are applying for deferred admission and wish to pursue a joint or dual degree, some programs recommend applying in the year prior to your enrollment in the MBA Program, while others allow you to apply during your first year here. Also, some joint/dual degree programs offer flexibility for where you initially enroll. Learn more about joint and dual degree study requirements and timelines.

Choosing Your Application Round

We offer three application rounds; apply in the round that makes the most sense for you. We encourage applicants for direct enrollment to apply in the first or second round. If you are applying for deferred enrollment, however, the third round may be an excellent choice.

Choosing Your Recommenders

If you are currently a full-time student, we encourage you to select recommenders who have supervised your extra-curricular activities or work, such as internships or part-time jobs.

Last Updated 9 Jun 2018