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College Seniors

Stanford GSB builds an MBA class with diverse educational and professional backgrounds. If you are a college senior, we encourage you to consider applying to the MBA Program.

Qualities We Seek in Undergraduate Applicants

  • Superior academic credentials
  • Outstanding evidence of leadership potential through activities, research, or work experiences
  • Maturity and self-confidence
  • An ability to articulate why you wish to attend business school now

Direct Versus Deferred Enrollment

College seniors have two options for enrollment.

  • Direct enrollment — attending business school immediately following your university program
  • Deferred enrollment — working for one to three years before enrolling

In the online application, you must select the year in which you would like to enroll. Note that even if you choose direct enrollment, the Committee on Admissions may grant you deferred admission if we feel you would better contribute, grow, and learn after gaining full-time work experience.

Direct Enrollment

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

Deferred Enrollment

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 professional path and would like to explore an industry.

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 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; 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 College Seniors

Recommended Courses

  • Mathematics courses — such as calculus, microeconomics, or statistics — to strengthen your quantitative exposure
  • An accounting course to understand the language of business
  • Logic courses — such as computer programming, philosophy, or physics — to refine your analytical capabilities

Explore Industries and Careers

  • Read the Economist, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal 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.

Other Advice

  • Take the GMAT or GRE in your junior year or early in your senior year.
  • Pursue opportunities for independent research, such as lab work, seminars, and theses.
  • Become fluent in at least one language beyond your native one.
Last Updated 18 Feb 2014