MBA News: HBS Launches “2+2 Program” to Attract College Juniors

In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, reporter Sarah Needleman writes about the launch of Harvard Business School’s “2+2 Program”, (“Harvard Aims to Widen MBA Pool”) an initiative designed to ensure that qualified College Juniors commit to HBS early. Via “2+2,” such students lock-in a spot in the HBS class (which would commence three years after the conclusion of their junior years), but first complete to a two-year post-undergraduate career. Partnering with actively engaged, prestige employers like Google, and through the use of its own career coaches, HBS is attempting to broaden future-MBAs’ perspectives on business to help shape enduring careers in the field.

While HBS is unabashed in stating that part of its goal is to attract female candidates – who may otherwise wait until their careers’ “mature” and then find that they would prefer to have families instead of pursuing MBAs – HBS also seems to realize that it is “permanently” losing skilled candidates who want to continue with their respective educations immediately. The Journal quotes Andrea Mitchell Kimmel, HBS’s Associate Director of M.B.A. Admissions, who states, “Lots of folks coming out of undergrad oftentimes will make a decision to pursue a graduate degree or take a job, and oftentimes those paths can be very limiting,” says Ms. Kimmel. “What we’d like to do with the new program is talk to them earlier to open up their minds to the breadth of opportunities that exists in business.” 

While the article cites Texas, Carnegie Mellon and Rochester as others engaged or engaging in similar programs, don’t expect Wharton to follow suit. Wharton Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid, Thomas Caleel told the Journal, “We don’t necessarily support the idea of a two-year deferred admission” and did not add anything else.

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