Apply now, enroll later with Columbia Business School’s Deferred Enrollment Program

It’s no secret that being admitted to the MBA at Columbia Business School is a significant point of pride. With the MBA Deferred Enrollment Program, you can save your spot while completing your undergraduate studies. Securing your admissions allows you time to gain a few years of work experience. To look deeper into the program, we heard from staff and faculty at the school, as well as the students who have benefitted from it.

In short

What is the Columbia Business School Deferred Enrollment Program?

In short, with this practical application process, you apply during your senior year in college or during a subsequent graduate program. When reviewing your application, the admissions committee will look at your academic background, work experience or internships, and your engagement in activities outside the classroom.

Morgan Janela, from the Office of Admissions, describes the program in the following way: “The Deferred Enrollment Program at Columbia Business School gives students the opportunity to apply to the highly selective Columbia MBA program while still in school. Then if offered admission, you would work for two to five years before matriculating at Columbia Business School.” (00:30)

Simply put, it’s an optimal pathway if you want to plan your future studies during your undergraduate degree. Almost all MBA programs demand a few years of work experience as an admissions requirement, and Columbia is no different. The Deferred Enrollment Program allows you to line up your MBA before entering the workforce. 

What advantage does the Deferred Enrollment Program provide?

Columbia Business School attracts the best talent from all over the world. This route is perfect for planners who want to guarantee their next steps after gaining work experience. From the admissions team, Michael Robinson shares, “When you complete the deferred Enrollment Program, you are admitted, and then you have something in your back pocket which allows you to enter the workforce with this amazing opportunity that will happen in two to five years.” (00:45)

What makes an MBA from Columbia Business School unique?

Columbia University’s reputation goes before it, but that isn’t necessarily helpful for prospective students who want to know the details. The best people to speak on the matter are those who have completed the program. 

For example, James Pates, from the Class of 2020, highlighted the quality of Columbia’s teaching staff. He says, “Every professor I’ve had here has been unparalleled in their ability to communicate with the classroom. They are at the top of their fields.” (01:49)

However, it’s not all about the academic and professional side. As 2019 graduate Geoff Silver puts it, “The community at Columbia Business School is amazing, and the diversity makes such a big difference, too. It’s not just ethnic and geographical, but it’s people from all walks of life and perspectives.” (01:39)

Circling back to the Columbia MBA selection process, they don’t just accept anyone. When you’re in a classroom with some of the best students in the world, you graduate with some of the best future leaders. This gives you access to one of the strongest professional networks you could ask for, including classmates, professors, and leaders you meet along the way.

How is the program aligned with the business world?

Recently ranked #1 by the Financial Times, the curriculum at Columbia Business School is designed to be challenging and rigorous. Students also have the opportunity to network with faculty and alumni across various industries. In addition, they benefit from a rich learning environment that provides opportunities for cross-cultural exchange.

The school is constantly innovating, so whenever you’re taking your course, you know it will be cutting-edge. The Dean of Columbia Business School, Costis Maglaras, summarizes, “Businesses are changing how they function. We’re changing the education that we offer in a way that best prepares everybody that comes to Columbia Business School to really launch very successfully in professional careers.” (01:13)

One way of achieving this is to invite guest speakers to present their work and answer questions. Students following the Deferred Enrollment Program can expect a who’s who of successful entrepreneurs, thinkers, and representatives of leading companies. 

Aishwarya Ashok Sharma of the 2019 cohort says, “It isn’t an uncommon experience to see someone who is a Nobel Prize laureate or someone who is regularly consulting Fortune 500 companies standing in front of the class.” (01:59) To name drop just a few, Columbia has welcomed leaders like Warren Buffett, Al Gore, Barbara Corcoran, and Bill Gates. 

While big names come into the school, students also reach out to companies making an impact. On their Manhattan campus, Columbia MBA candidates are immersed in one of the world’s most innovative areas for business. This makes finding dynamic change-making organizations easy to find. Zenah Hasan from the Class of 2019 recalls, “I had the chance to go visit the Peloton headquarters and sit down for a chat with the CEO – and that’s all because we’re here in New York City.” (02:52)

What international opportunities are available with the Columbia MBA experience?

Camira Powell from the Class of 2020 grabbed the opportunity to work on a consulting project with both hands. She recounts, “In my first semester, I was able to work with a pro-bono consulting project for a non-profit based in Thailand. I, along with the rest of my team, was actually able to travel to Thailand and work with the company for about a week.” (02:22)

Projects like Camira’s not only offer the practical experience of working on diverse projects. They also give students first-hand exposure to working in international environments.

For the final say on the Deferred Enrollment Program, we’ll hand it back to Camila, who concludes, “It’s a really special opportunity to have two years to really explore what you care about, why you care about it, and where you want to go, and then take that time to really push yourself to get there. (03:45)

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