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Stanford GSB Deferred Enrollment Program

Interested in applying to the highly competitive deferred enrollment program at Stanford? We've got you covered with this overview, including who Stanford is looking for, application details, and more.

November 1, 2022

What is the Deferred Enrollment Program?

If you are a junior or senior in your undergraduate degree and are thinking about pursuing an MBA, you may be considering a deferred enrollment program. Deferred MBA programs allow students to apply to business school while still in college, claim their spot, and then defer for three to five years to gain work experience, start a business, or pursue another project. This allows students to feel comfortable in taking risks because they have already been accepted. Stanford established its deferred program in 2010 and, like other top deferred programs, it hopes to find the next generation of global leaders.

MBA Essay Guide

Applying to MBA programs? One of the most stressful parts of the business school application process is the essay portion. We've put together a comprehensive essay guide for all M7 MBA programs, including sample essays, advice from experts, prompts, and much more. Put in your email below and we'll send it directly to your inbox.


You are eligible for deferred enrollment if you are in your final year of a bachelor’s degree and your degree will be conferred between 1 October 2021 and 30 September 2022 or if you are currently in a graduate program that you began immediately after your undergraduate.

Who Stanford is Looking For

GSB is looking for students without full-time work experience from all different academic backgrounds including STEM, humanities, and business. They want individuals who are change-makers and want to have an impact on the world. The Stanford GSB Admissions Director, Kirsten Moss, said they view applicants as a venture capital investment.

If you feel like you would benefit from full-time work experience before entering your MBA, the deferred program is right for you. It is especially beneficial for those who want to explore an industry or work in one that usually requires pre-MBA knowledge, such as private equity and biotechnology.

Read our full Stanford GSB guide for an in-depth dive into the MBA program: Stanford GSB—MBA Program and Application Overview.

Join a Leland Small Group Class

Deferred MBA Application Essays: Strategies for Success

On Nov. 9, 2022, Andy P. will be hosting a small group class on deferred essays. Andy is a professional coach with over 20 years of experience getting applicants into the top MBA programs. Focusing on the essays for HBS and GSB, you'll walk away from this class knowing how to choose your topics, stand out with your responses, and other tips and tricks for writing a compelling story. Seats are limited so RSVP today to secure your spot.

How Hard Is It to Get Into GSB Deferred Enrollment?

Stanford does not release its class profiles for the deferred program but the statistics are similar to the overall class profile. GSB emphasizes that the current class profile does not necessarily reflect future classes. They assess each applicant individually and define diversity in the broadest sense. They consider the multidimensional identity of applicants and want students to reflect on the experiences that have contributed to their worldview.

For the class of 2023, there were 7,367 applicants and 426 new students. 44% of the class were women, 48% were students of color, and 47% were international students. The average undergraduate GPA was 3.78 and the average GMAT score was 738. The majority of pre-MBA work experience was in the investment management, private equity, venture capital, consulting, and technology industries.

Application Details

At GSB, there is no separate application for deferred enrollment; instead, you will select the year in which you prefer to enroll. Even if you request direct enrollment, the admissions office may grant you deferred enrollment or they might offer a deferral for a different amount of time than you request. If you are eligible for deferred enrollment, the application fee is reduced to $100.

There are three application rounds for GSB and those interested in deferred enrollment are recommended to apply in Round 3. The next deadline for application submission is early April 2023, and students will be notified of acceptance in late May 2023.

Join Us for a FREE Leland Event

Getting Into a Top 10 Deferred MBA Program

  • Date: December 6, 2022
  • Time: 5-6pm PST
  • Cost: FREE!
  • RSVP Here

Join us for this completely free event on the deferred MBA application process. Learn tips and tactical strategies for nailing your letters of recommendation, resume, essays, and more from top admissions experts. A panel of pro coaches will be moderated by John K., Leland's CEO and Founder and a deferred admit of both Stanford GSB and Harvard Business School. Space is limited so sign up today to make sure your seat is secured.

Where Can I Start?

GSB, like all the M7 business schools, is difficult to get into but not impossible. Don’t discount your experience, aspirations, and unique individuality. Here at Leland, we’ve got lots of resources to get you started and make your profile as competitive as possible.

Read these articles to start your deferred MBA journey:

Top 10 Deferred MBA Programs in the US–and How to Get In

Are MBA Admissions Consultants Worth It? How to Decide (and How to Pick One)

How to Write a Powerful MBA Essay–With Examples

Final Note

Leland provides you with the content, community, and coaching that you need to get into your dream MBA program and accomplish other ambitious goals. Sign up today to gain access to additional free resources, community events, small group classes, world-class coaching, and more.