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 Nikki Philip (MBA 2023).

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

I studied global health in undergrad with the goal of working for an East Africa-based nonprofit organization after graduation. My plan was to work on the ground for a nonprofit and then pursue an MBA to combine business principals with social impact work. Applying to HBS via the 2+2 deferred admissions process allowed me to take the GMAT, apply to HBS, and receive my acceptance all before moving to Kenya after graduation. The application process was much simpler than it would have been if I was doing it while living in a remote village in rural Kenya.

How long did you defer your 2+2 admission?

I deferred my admission for four years.

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

During my deferral I worked two jobs: one in global health and one in sports. The first job was at a nonprofit organization called Lwala Community Alliance. Lwala is a global health innovator operating a hospital, a Community Health Worker program, and a community savings and loans cooperative in Migori County, Kenya. At Lwala I worked in Monitoring & Evaluation, Program Design & Implementation, and Development. After two and a half years at Lwala I took a position in Player Health & Wellness at the National Football League (NFL). At the NFL I was responsible for the holistic wellness of active and retired football players as well as coaches and staff.

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

2+2 made many of my decisions between undergrad and business school much easier. I knew I wanted to go to business school and being admitted four years before attending took a lot of pressure off. I always wanted to take an unconventional path before school and being admitted through 2+2 removed the uncertainty around how that would impact an admissions decision. I knew I had the support of HBS as I charted my own path. I think I would have made the same decisions with or without 2+2 but I made them with much more confidence thanks to the early admission.

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

My first piece of advice is to go for it! My second piece of advice is to consider how a 2+2 admission fits into an overall plan for your career and passion. One of the biggest benefits of the deferred admission process is the freedom it gives you to learn and pursue your interests for two to four years. Think about the things that excite you, the ways you want to contribute to the world, and the things you can learn to make you a better MBA classmate. Use 2+2 as a tool to pursue opportunities at these intersections!