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Wharton Gets $10 Million for New Deferred Enrollment Program

Deferred enrollment programs are an increasingly popular way for students to apply to MBA programs right out of college while still gaining work experience before matriculating. And now Wharton is getting into the game with a new deferred enrollment program for Penn undergrads.

The impetus for the new program was a $10 million grant from Wharton graduates Ken Moelis and Julie Taffet Moelis. Ken Moelis earned his MBA as part of a program previously in place that allowed Wharton students to complete an undergraduate degree plus an MBA in five years.


The new program, though, called the Moelis Advance Access Program, will allow undergrad students from all majors to apply for deferred admission, not just business students. Penn students will apply as seniors, then gain two to four years of work experience before enrolling.

The Moelis Advance Access Program is in the mold of programs from other top business schools like HBS’s 2+2 Program and Stanford GSB’s Deferred Enrollment Program, which have proved a popular way for undergrads to sort out their MBA plans early while still acquiring work experience.

Wharton’s program, however, differs in a couple ways. First, the program is currently only open to University of Pennsylvania students. Second, students admitted to the deferred enrollment program will also be considered for scholarships from a special pool.

The $10 million donation that kickstarted the program is being used, among other things, to create $10,000 per year merit scholarships that admits to the program, known as Moelis Fellows, will be eligible for. Moelis Fellows can still receive other types of aid as well.

As Wharton’s Associate Director of MBA Admissions Danielle DeShields told the Daily Pennsylvanian, Fellows will also be evaluated for additional aid when they matriculate: “If after two years we see that they have had really quality work experience and their academics are clearly very strong, they will be considered for more financial aid”

During the two to four year deferred enrollment period, accepted students will still have access to a number of resources from Wharton. These include a mentoring program and networking events.

One reason deferred enrollment programs are on the rise is that they can help business schools reach talented students who might not otherwise have considered an MBA.

Ken Moelis says that giving Penn students from all majors the option to pursue a deferred enrollment MBA will allow Wharton to make the most of Penn’s large undergrad student body.

In his words: “We have a pool of some of the most accomplished people in the world — why not give them a chance to stay at this university to continue their education?”

And he says that it’s a win-win, with a Wharton MBA opening up doors for students with different academic backgrounds: “I think if you’ve done something else in your undergrad — history, art, engineering, nursing — and then can tag on a Wharton MBA, it would be a phenomenal opportunity.”

The program will accept applications from Penn’s Class of 2018 as its first cohort. For more information, see the program’s web page.