For Some, 2+2 Is Greater Than Four

The majority of students enrolled in the Harvard Business School’s 2+2 Program choose to wait longer than two years before attending the Business School, according to statistics for the second class admitted to the program.

2+2 admits college seniors to the Business School’s MBA program provided they work for at least two years after graduation. From the first cohort of 2+2 students, who graduated from college in 2009, 66 out of 106 came to the Business School after two years.

That number dropped to 26 out of 115 students from the second cohort which began school this year, dropping matriculation from 62 percent to 23 percent.

Deirdre C. Leopold, managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid, said the admissions office has become more “overt about signaling that it’s fine to take another year” beyond the two required.

Leopold said she thought the increasingly global economy might also affect the time students are willing to spend in the workforce.

“The first 2+2 cohort was launched into a very grim job market when they graduated from college,” Leopold said. “A lot of people in the [second] 2014 cohort were just having a wonderful time at work, and they saw that the average age of HBS is 26 to 27, and they wanted to stay in the world of work.”

Leopold said she welcomes the flexibility that the possibility of extra years on the job adds to the 2+2 Program.

She has said in the past that she thinks the program could be called X+2, to indicate the wide range of options available to accepted students after college graduation.

“We don’t want these really special, wonderful college seniors to feel in any way that by being in 2+2 they lose optionality,” Leopold said.

“We enable them to have that third year, but trust that they can make the best decision.”

According to statistics prepared by Assistant Director of MBA Admissions Dana Scalisi, admitted 2+2 students spend two to five years in the workforce before coming to the Business School.

From the first cohort of 2+2 admits who graduated from college in 2009, 66 matriculated with the class of 2013, 18 matriculated with the class of 2014, 13 will matriculate with the class of 2015, two will matriculate with the class of 2016, and seven students canceled, opting not to participate at all.

From the second cohort who graduated from college in 2010, 26 matriculated with the class of 2014, 41 will matriculate with the class of 2015, 36 will matriculate with the class of 2016, three will matriculate with the class of 2017, five students canceled, and four students are still deciding whether to matriculate with the class of 2015 or 2016.

Leopold said none of the cancellations were from students who chose to attend other business schools, but instead represent those who have “gone to other non-MBA programs or stayed in the workforce.”

Since announcing the 2+2 Program in 2007, the admissions office has filled four cohorts of 2+2 students and is currently selecting the fifth.

The Business School accepted 25 applicants in September and will send out additional decisions in the coming months, according to the Business School’s admissions website.

—Staff writer Brian C. Zhang can be reached at brianzhang@college.harvard.edu.

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