Stanford GSB Deferred Enrollment Program: What You Need to Know

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.

Posted March 12, 2024

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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.


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 2023 and 30 September 2024 or if you are currently in a graduate program that you began immediately after your undergraduate.

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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.

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.

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The best way to nail your deferred MBA applications is to work one-on-one with an admissions coach. They'll be able to provide in-depth, customized guidance based on your personal background, budget, and goals. Here are some of our most popular admissions coaches, browse all of them here.

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 R3 deadline for Stanford is April 9, 2024, and students will be notified of acceptance in late May 2024. Read more about the recently released deadlines here: Stanford GSB MBA Application Deadlines (2023-2024).

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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:

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