Darden’s Future Year Scholars Program is a deferred enrollment program for exceptional college seniors and Master’s students with no full time work experience. Future Year Scholars embark upon their careers knowing they have a seat in Darden’s top MBA program, with the flexibility to matriculate after two, three or four years of professional work experience.

One of the more frequent questions we receive from prospective students relates to how students think about their matriculation timeline. When is the right time to start an MBA program? Here are a few things for a student to consider as they think through matriculating after two, three or four years of work experience.

There are a number of questions for you to consider when deciding if now is the right time for you to enroll in an MBA program. Many of these questions relate to your career goals and how an MBA fits into your ultimate career plans. As you consider next steps, you’ll want to start with self-reflection and introspection.

For Consideration:

  • Have you reached a plateau in your current role that an MBA will help to overcome?
  • Do you have your sights set on a position that requires an MBA?
  • Are you ready to make a career pivot, i.e.to try a new industry or a new function?
  • Do you want time, space and resources to grow your own start-up?
  • Most importantly, do you know WHY you are pursuing an MBA, what you are going after and where you want to land post MBA?

In some ways, business school will help you explore career options, but, on the other hand, the time goes by quickly, and current students will tell you that there is value in being focused (but also open) as you embark upon this journey.

There is no shortage of jobs available to Darden students, and current students sometimes report feeling overwhelmed by all of the opportunities ⁠— particularly if they arrive on Grounds without much definition around their career goals. Over 1,600 jobs are posted on Darden’s career portal and over 140 companies host on-Grounds recruiting events at Darden. Not to mention there’s also interview forums and other informal channels available to students. Don’t overlook how much value your pre-MBA experience will have when it comes to teaching you more about what you like and what you don’t like.

It is always a good idea to leverage your time now to network and learn about different industries and job functions. Admitted Future Year Scholars: Check out the FYS LinkedIn group. Is anyone doing something you find interesting? Reach out. Schedule a call. Take this time to learn more about what is out there!

As you hone-in on the industry and/or function you will be targeting at Darden, think about how your pre-MBA work experience will look through the eyes of employers of interest and prepare you for your internship and post-MBA work experience. Are there additional tools, skills or experiences you can gain now or over the next year that will make you more competitive for the position you seek through your MBA?

All of these steps are important as you reflect upon your matriculation timeline. If you feel like your plan is still unclear or there are outstanding goals you would benefit from completing before starting your MBA journey, you will want to take these considerations into account as you evaluate next steps.

Supplemental Application

Admitted Future Year Scholars: Once you have your plan and know the direction you are heading, it’s time to fill out the supplemental application and get the ball rolling. The application is one of the first steps in the matriculation process. It’s purpose is to serve as a request to the Admissions Committee to begin your MBA studies with the class matriculating in August.

As a reminder, the Supplemental Application consists of an updated resume, an updated career goals statement and a new recommendation letter from a current supervisor. Students hoping to maximize their competitiveness for merit-based scholarship may also submit a new standardized test score.

When reviewing your Supplemental Application, the Admissions Committee will be taking a look to see how you have spent your first years out of school coupled with your new career goals. Do your goals align with your prior work experience? Does your career story make sense?

When reviewing your recommendation, we will be particularly focused on what kind of teammate you have been and your achievements and contributions during your career thus far.

The purpose of the Supplemental Application is to help you think through your narrative (an incredibly important part of the MBA recruitment process) and to allow our Admissions Committee to learn how you have been spending your time post-degree, and to make sure you are ready to excel as a member of the Darden community.

Different timelines make sense for different students, and our team can help you think through your options.


We can always be reached at futureyear@darden.virginia.edu.

Considering applying to our deferred enrollment program? We are looking forward to opening the 2021-22 application later this fall!

In the meantime, our team is also hosting Future Year Scholars Program coffee chats for prospective students ⁠— check out the calendar and sign up for a space here.

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