We encourage college seniors to consider applying to the MBA
Program for direct or deferred enrollment.
We will offer admission to college seniors who present superior academic credentials and outstanding evidence of leadership potential through extracurricular and community activities.
If you are a college senior and feel you would benefit from obtaining full-time work experience before enrolling, you may defer enrollment for one to three years.
The Committee on Admissions also may offer deferred admission to college seniors whom we feel would better contribute, grow, and learn in the MBA Program after obtaining full-time work experience.
Qualities We Seek in Undergraduate Applicants
- Extensive leadership demonstrated through activities, research, or work experiences.
- Superb academic credentials
- Maturity and self-confidence
- An ability to articulate why you wish to attend business school now
For most college seniors, deferred enrollment is a better choice than direct enrollment. Consider attending business school immediately following your university program if:
- You feel ready to pursue your MBA because of your academic background, extracurricular experiences, work experiences, and personal aspirations.
Exceptional college seniors who prefer to work for one to three years before enrolling may defer admission. You select on the application the year in which you would like to enroll.
This may be a good choice if you are unsure of your professional path and would like to explore an industry. In addition, 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.
If you are interested in pursuing a career path in one of these fields, deferring for a couple of years may be a strategic decision.
If you choose to defer enrollment, we expect you to work full-time during the deferral period. Pursue opportunities that enable you to build your skills and knowledge, expand your perspective, and develop professional judgment and self-confidence.
Which Application Round?
We offer three application rounds; please apply in the round that makes the most sense for you. College seniors who wish to defer admission incur no disadvantage by applying in the third round.
Advice for Undergraduate Applicants
- Take the GMAT or GRE in your junior or early in your senior year.
- Pursue opportunities for independent research, such as lab work, seminars, and theses.
- Take courses in mathematics—such as calculus, microeconomics, or statistics—to strengthen your quantitative exposure.
- Take an accounting course to understand the language of business.
- Take logic courses—such as computer programming, philosophy, and physics—to refine your analytical capabilities.
- Become fluent in at least one language beyond your native one.
- Read the Wall Street Journal, Economist, and Financial Times to understand the business environment and learn about industries, careers, and organizations.
- Explore professional pursuits through challenging summer internships. Cultivate strong relationships with supervisors and mentors, and seek out opportunities to learn new skills and knowledge.
- Investigate different careers to refine your goals. Sites like WetFeet offer a wealth of information about organizations and professional fields. Talk to friends, or relatives who work in your field of interest.
- Even if you intend to enroll in an MBA program directly after graduation, participate in your college’s recruiting process to learn about careers, organizations and industries. It’s smart to have options.
updated 4 December 2012
"I decided to pursue an MBA early in my career because I wanted to develop my business skills, learn tangible frameworks, and grow the entrepreneurial passions within me.
Attending the Stanford GSB certainly exceeded my expectations as I interacted daily with a phenomenal group of accomplished corporate and social leaders."
Nader Mikhail, MBA 2007
Can I apply as a college senior?
I am a college senior. What type of recommendations should I have? Can I ask my professors?
We strongly suggest that you have your letters of reference written specifically for this application--generic or outdated letters typically do not strengthen an application.
College seniors may use a direct supervisor from a summer, part-time, or internship experience.
Alternatively, you may ask someone who oversaw you in an extracurricular, volunteer, or charitable activity.
You are welcome to submit a recommendation from a professor, but academic letters of reference generally are not helpful in our evaluation. Academic recommendations are acceptable if you worked with the recommender as a teaching assistant, researcher, or in a similar capacity.
I'm a college senior or recent college graduate. Whom should I ask to write my letters of reference?
You may submit a recommendation from a professor, but academic letters of reference generally are not helpful in our evaluation, unless you worked with the recommender as a teaching assistant, researcher, or in a similar capacity.
As a college student, is there a preferred undergraduate major that I should choose to prepare for my MBA education?
MBA students have majored in everything from economics to religious studies.
Since business school curricula will assume a solid foundation in quantitative skills, you may want to take at least a couple of classes in economics, math, statistics, and/or science (i.e., courses that will sharpen your analytical reasoning skills).
If your schedule precludes you from taking these courses, you might consider taking evening or distance-learning quantitative courses from a local university or college.
While in college, you may wish to pursue an honors project or do a senior thesis.
While the topic you choose may not seem to be directly relevant to an MBA, it can demonstrate to an admission committee that you possess intellectual vitality and initiative.