The HBS 2+2 program is a deferred admission process for current students in their final year of study, either in college or a full-time master’s degree program. If you are admitted through 2+2, you work for two to four years in a field of your choice before enrolling in the regular HBS MBA Program. This spring we’re speaking with current MBA students who were admitted through 2+2 to learn what they did during their deferral years.

Here’s an interview with Cecil Alfaro-Mora (MBA 2022):

Why did you decide to apply to HBS via the 2+2 deferred admissions process?

Since early on during my time in college, I envisioned doing an MBA at some point. I thought of it as an ideal complement to my engineering background. Therefore, having a chance to apply earlier than usual was appealing. It came across as a high-reward and minimal-risk opportunity.

I felt that senior year was an excellent time to apply. Preparing for the GMAT was something I could easily incorporate into my daily study routine. Many people who take the GMAT years after leaving school might find it challenging to recover the studying skills and habits needed to prepare well for the test.

Also, a combination of exciting extracurricular activities and very enriching internship experiences made for a solid story to tell, one I felt confident and proud to portray in an HBS application.

How long did you defer your 2+2 admission?

I deferred for four years (the maximum amount of time), mainly because my role and responsibilities at work kept evolving into more influential and impactful ones. I tried to get the most out of that opportunity.

What job(s) did you have during your deferral?

I spent all four years working at P&F Flower Farms, an agribusiness headquartered in Costa Rica. I joined as a Supervisor for a small logistics operation in Florida, but my role gradually evolved into Chief of Staff to the CEO. In this final stage, I helped him carry out several company-wide initiatives mostly related to Operational Excellence.

Did 2+2 change your path or alter your post-undergraduate plans?

My post-undergraduate plan remained the same, but being granted admission at HBS served as a confidence booster, especially in professional and business-related matters. It also made me ask myself regularly: how can I use this time to prepare well for the coming MBA? That question led me to seek opportunities to learn about business areas beyond my scope of expertise, such as finance, human resources, and sales.

What advice do you have for prospective MBA students considering the 2+2 program?

When preparing your application, seek input and feedback from others, including current or recently-graduated MBAs. You’ll be surprised to see that many people are available and willing to assist you and their opinion is usually valuable!