Are you a college student who dreams of one day studying at Harvard, Stanford, or Yale?
Till a few years ago, such a dream would have been a distant one. Most top MBA programs require at least a few years of work experience, and college seniors (students in the final year of their bachelor’s programs would have found that gaining admission without it would be extremely difficult, if not outright impossible. Happily, all that has changed over the last few years, as top business schools have increasingly realized the potential that college graduates represent. Today, you can aspire for admission to the Harvard, Stanford, or Yale MBA programs right after completing your bachelor’s studies!
In 2007, Harvard Business School (HBS) first announced the launch of its vaunted 2+2 program.
Through this option, outstanding college seniors from around the world could apply to the Harvard MBA and those who were successful could join Harvard Business School two years after they graduated. In these intervening two years, they would pick up professional skills through employment approved by Harvard Business School.
This move not only ensured that top talent at the bachelor’s level did not elude Harvard, but it also created an option for college seniors who were sure about pursuing a top MBA later in their career.
In fact, the Harvard 2+2 was not the first such top program that enabled college seniors to win admission to a top school right after college. The Yale Silver Scholars program, introduced in 2001, has that distinction. And yet, the structure of the two programs differ significantly. Harvard 2+2 applicants must first complete two years of full-time work before they begin their MBA, while Silver Scholars at Yale begin right after they complete their bachelor’s. Silver Scholars take a year
off after the first year of their MBA to gain a full year’s practical/internship experience. They then come back in the third year to complete their MBA. This structure, Yale reasons, not only allows students to apply business concepts to the real world as they learn them, but also allows these students the chance to network better, as they get to be a part of two different Yale MBA classes.
Just as Yale and HBS began to be seen as leaders in this segment, other top schools took notice too. In 2009, IESE Business School in Spain introduced the Young Talent Program (YTP), through which college students in the final year can be selected to pursue the full-time MBA at the school post gaining two years of work experience. Soon after, the Indian School of Business (ISB) in India followed with the Young Leaders Programme (YLP), which follows a similar pattern. Till
2015, only students in the penultimate year of their studies could apply to the ISB YLP, but this year onwards, ISB has expanded eligibility to also include students in the final year of their programs. More recently, other top schools such as Stanford GSB, Chicago Booth, and NYU
Stern, have also started considering outstanding college seniors for direct admission to their full-time MBA programs. However, at this time, the percentage of such applicants making it (as a proportion of the whole MBA class) remains small, at 1%-2% of the total intake.
Today, there really are a world of opportunities (no pun intended) with respect to top global MBA education for students in college to aim for, and these opportunities don’t necessarily require years of work experience to seize. With strong academic performance, demonstrated leadership, and excellent GMAT scores, Indian college students can now aspire for top MBA education right
after they graduate.