Everything to Know About the Kellogg Deferred MBA Program (Future Leaders)

An overview of Kellogg's deferred MBA enrollment program, including who Northwestern is looking for, how hard is it to get into, application details, and more.

Posted May 11, 2024

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What is the Future Leaders Program?

Kellogg Future Leaders is the more recently established deferred enrollment program at Northwestern University. Current college seniors are able to claim their spot in a future MBA class and then defer for two to five years to gain professional work experience. During the deferment period, admitted students will have access to the full spectrum of Kellogg resources, including individual support from a dedicated admissions officer and access to a large alumni network and events.

Deferred admission programs, in general, are a good idea for college seniors with a competitive application who want to pursue their passion, take a gap year, start a business, or explore different industry sectors while having the comfort of an already accepted application.

Read our full Kellogg MBA guide here for an in-depth look into the school and application process: The Kellogg School of Management—MBA Program and Application Overview.


Students who are eligible for the current year of admissions must graduate from their undergraduate degrees between October 2021 and September 2022. Master’s students who went directly from their undergraduate to their graduate program are also eligible. Both domestic and international students are welcome to apply. Similar to other deferred enrollment programs, Ph.D., medical, and law students should apply through the standard Kellogg admissions process.

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Who is Northwestern Looking For?

As the name of the program implies, Kellogg is looking for those who aspire to lead and want something bold, dynamic, and impactful in their career. They also seek students who are willing to embrace the many learning opportunities available and who have the academic rigor and teamwork skills required to contribute to the Kellogg classroom. Meaningful work experience and clear goals will also help candidates make the most of their time in the program. Most importantly, in the application they want students to show what makes them special and highlight their individuality.

The most recent Future Leaders class had 559 students of which 26% were international and 40% were women. The admission benchmarks are similar to that of the full-time MBA program. The average GPA was 3.7 and the average GMAT was 727. Students entered the program with an average of 5 years of work experience, primarily from financial services, consulting, and technology and from lots of different undergraduate majors, including STEM, economics/business, and humanities.

Coach Recommendations

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. Below are some of our most popular admissions coaches, browse all of them here.

How Hard is it to Get Into Future Leaders?

While the deferred enrollment program is still relatively new, the graduate school at Kellogg is incredibly competitive and one of the best in the world. For the class of 2022 the acceptance rate was around 20%. However, Northwestern examines its applicants from a holistic perspective and no student should discount their application.

In the following video, the Associate Director of Admissions at Kellogg, Christy Heaton, discusses three key areas of the application that are especially important.

Application Details

The next application is due in mid-April 2024 and decisions will be released in mid-June 2024. There are no application fees for the deferred application. A GMAT or GRE score is required for all those who did not attend Northwestern University as undergraduates.

Applicants are also required to submit a few brief essays, a resume, and a letter of recommendation. Invitations will be sent out for an interview shortly after the application deadline. International students whose undergraduate institutions were not conducted entirely in English will need to submit a TOEFL score. After acceptance, there is a required admissions deposit of $500 and then another $500 every year of deferment.

Why Kellogg?

Among the different business schools in the US, Kellogg is world-renowned for its emphasis on teamwork, experiential learning, and relatively large class size. There are fewer students pursuing a finance concentration and more pursuing consulting.

However, there are many other factors that interested applicants should take into consideration. On campus, there are over 80 active clubs each year where students can grow their skillset and take on leadership roles. They will also engage with alumni and host conferences. Three of the most active clubs on campus are the Women’s Business Association, Net Impact, and the consulting clubs.

Northwestern is located in Evanston, Illinois along four miles of Lake Michigan, and is one short train ride away from downtown Chicago. Full-time MBA students take classes in the Global Hub, a 415,000-square-foot building designed for community and collaboration. The Kellogg Career Management Center is award-winning and supports students along their career journey. The total cost for a two-year, full-time MBA is $222,192, although there are different financial aid opportunities available.

Where Can I Start?

Applying to any MBA program can be a stressful, time-consuming, and costly process. That is why, here at Leland, we have lots of resources available to help you along the journey.

Read these articles to start your deferred MBA journey:

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