Article from Inside Higher Ed.com, September 17, 2007.
You’d be hard pressed to find it written in most business school literature, but common wisdom says the successful M.B.A. student has five years of post-college work experience. While 26 or 27 remains the average age of entering students at many top programs, business school officials are looking to shatter the myth that there’s an age associated with the model applicant.
In a move meant to deliver that message, the Harvard Business School last week unveiled a deferred admissions program that allows applicants to be considered while they are still undergraduates. Rising college seniors who are admitted through the 2+2 program, as it is called, will enroll in Harvard’s M.B.A. program after working for two years at a company or organization that has agreed to participate.
“Our message is apply when you think you’re ready,” said Carl Kester, deputy dean for academic affairs and a professor of finance at Harvard Business School. “We are concerned that interesting and outstanding students are being fast tracked at jobs and are not considering business school until reaching a certain point in their careers. We said, ‘What if we opened up a channel to resolve that uncertainty?’ ”...
(From the same article) ...But interviews with leaders at some of the top business schools show that while officials are keeping a close eye on Harvard’s initiative, they aren’t ready to jump in quite yet. Paul Danos, dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, said the school isn’t looking at going toward the deferred admissions model now but may consider it in the future.
“One size won’t fit all in this case,” Danos said. “Harvard isn’t doing this out of necessity, and if Tuck did this, it would be to foster more diversity. Right now we’re not feeling pressure to expand the applicant pool, but who knows, that could change.”
Tuck has for years run a summer program for college students who want non-credit, pre-M.B.A. training. It is a feeder program for the school, which gets applications for many of the 250 students who participate.
At Tuck, the average applicant has about five years of work experience, and the distribution ranges typically from two to 10 years. While the average has come down in recent years, “it’s not doing so by much,” Danos said.
See Santiago Iniguez' thoughts on the subject in this blog "Professional Experience vs. Potential Talent in MBAs" (04 February 2007)
"...a further vector of diversity is age itself: doesn´t it enchance the learning experience to have participants with different levels of professional experience, even belonging to different generations, in order to replicate what actually happens at work in real life?..."
"MBA programmes are living educational offerings, and their entry requirements should change according to the evolution of circumstances. Maybe it’s time to reconsider the traditional view on the values of professional experience and allow more room for young, talented, participants with high potential."