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 year 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 Jada Haynes (MBA 2024).

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

I love the flexibility and optionality that the 2+2 deferred admissions program provided me at a very uncertain point in my life, as a graduating undergrad. Additionally, I knew that if I took the GMAT and applied while I was in the academic headspace, I would thank myself endlessly for having that option down the road.

How long did you defer your 2+2 admission?

I deferred for 3 years. HBS MBA students matriculate with 5 years of full-time work experience on average, so I wanted to get as close to that as made sense for me.

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

I started my career as a consultant at McKinsey in the Chicago office for two years. Because I knew that I was deferring admission to HBS, I then wanted to try something outside of consulting before matriculation. I spent a year in Retail Operations Strategy at lululemon and absolutely loved my job. This gave me a lot of flexibility to try something outside of my comfort zone (even if I knew I could fail because I had a safety net to fall back on).

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

Not only did I change my career path and take more risks, but it was a piece of comfort during unstable market conditions. During COVID, when the US economic outlook and job market was uncertain, I was very fortunate to have the knowledge that I could go back to HBS during that time if needed.

Participating in the 2+2 program changed my perspective professionally, and it also allowed me to reflect more on my journey before business school and make sure I was intentional with my decision. Instead of stressing over applications, GMAT studying, and business school prep, I spent my time career mapping and thinking about what goals I had for my MBA program.

What advice do you have for admitted 2+2 students?

I would take the time over your deferral period to set goals every year and make sure they align with your graduate school plans. Do some internal thinking about what you want to get out of your MBA. Before you arrive on campus make sure you jot down three goals that you hope to achieve during your time at HBS and stick to them.