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I was wondering if anyone else had been considering finding out if it's possible to defer their acceptance to B School, why, and, if you've spoken to the adcom, the result?
I was very keen to leave my job back in June 2012 when I started applying for MBAs, but in October, I had an opportunity to take another role as a founding member of a start up (after I had sent in the majority of my applications). I took it, figuring I'd work there for a bit less than a year and go on to business school. However in just the few months I've been there, things have really taken off. We've grown our user base 10x in 12 weeks, we've been approached for very interesting partnerships with a couple of F100 companies (which I would manage) and we're a potential acquisition target for at least one of those companies within the next 12-18 months (again a process I would be heavily involved in). Basically, it would be really hard to leave now and I think the experience (whether we continue to succeed or fail miserably) would really enhance my classroom experience going for an MBA.
My reading about deferrals, however, suggests that most schools do not look favorably on deferring for additional work experience, typically it's for reasons beyond one's control. Do you think I have a compelling case that I could bring significantly more to my class with this experience? Do you think any schools would actually grant a deferral? I would probably go to get my MBA this year if push came to shove, but I really want to see if I can get one more year at my start up under my belt before going back to the classroom.
Congrats on the success of your startup. You don't know if you can get a deferral if you don't ask. I have several classmates who deferred from c/o 2013 to c/o 2014. You're in so it's not like they will rescind your admission just for asking. Be aware that if you do defer you might forfeit any scholarship money you were awarded for the upcoming school year.
This is one of those great problems to have, but understandably worth fretting over. I think cheetarah is spot on, and she probably knows more about this than I do. I will add a couple things to consider, though:
Because the admissions process is so long and fluid, I imagine this isn’t particularly rare. Yours is more of an extreme example than most, but I would guess that schools get this kind of question a lot
For that reason, I had the impression that deferrals were hard to come by and are usually because of a health problem or family issue. As with most things in this process, schools have the leverage here: “You applied for the class of 2015, and if you want to be in 2016 you can apply again next year.” I’m sure schools are very understanding that things like this come up, but I don’t think it’s in their best interest to give away future admissions spots very frequently. That is just my impression though.
One problem I might have as an admissions person, in your case, is that there’s no clear reason why you would attend next year over this year. It seems like there would be just as good of a chance that when next year rolls around you might say “we’ve gone international, we’re in the middle of these awesome partnerships, and there’s just so much potential. I can’t leave now!” So if you do ask for a deferral (and like cheetarah said, I think you should) you might want to think very hard about presenting your case in a way that convinces the school that you have a clear plan to gain X experience over the next year, hand off the reins to someone else, and pursue an MBA to achieve your long term goal. It’s a tough line to walk, though, because it has to be a clear advantage for you to both stay in this job, but also to continue to pursue an MBA next year. You might want to seek out advice from someone who's been in admissions before you send your letter. EDIT: I just noticed your comment about being a potential acquisition target -- this would probably be helpful to mention, but I'm not sure it's enough to be convincing for an adcom.
Here is a similar question I’ve been thinking myself: say Wharton won’t let a candidate like londoncalling defer for a year and she sticks with the growing startup. In a year or two when she re-applies, how will Wharton view her? Favorably because they admitted her previously, or negatively because she turned them down?
@cheetarah, I will definitely be asking, I agree, there's no downside to asking the question! I kind of wanted a sense of whether or not others had any insight into this process so I could better prepare myself for the answer . Nice to hear there are a couple of deferrals you've come across.
@mrbucket, super thoughtful and thought-provoking response! You've made some really great points and I'll definitely plan my deferral proposal to take into account your comments around whether or not I'd truly commit to attending a year from now. I also am really intrigued by your follow up question. The uncertainly around this just makes me afraid that I would be less appealing as a candidate after I had turned them down, despite additional experience, and why, as I mentioned in the OP that I would probably go to school if I couldn't defer. Also, this whole process is so competitive, there's every chance that with a different applicant pool, they wouldn't even have accepted me in the first place!
Anyway, thanks again for the input, and I'll hopefully be able to provide some feedback on how requesting a deferral went!