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From Passion to Purpose: Morgan Klausner Shares Journey of Deferred Enrollment MBA

This article is sponsored by the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

For many undergrad students, following a passion in academics can lead to incredible curiosity and self-discovery. But what happens when a niche area of study doesn’t point to a career that’s necessarily a good fit? First year Darden MBA student Morgan Klausner (Class of 2022) shares insights about how her interest in the intersectionality of business, sustainability and corporate social responsibility ultimately led her to pursue a deferred enrollment program – which allowed her to secure admission to an MBA program while still in college, gain several years of crucial work experience and then attend business school to pursue her MBA.

Morgan Klausner

  • Undergraduate School: University of Virginia
  • Undergraduate Graduating Year: 2017

Why did you decide to pursue a deferred MBA enrollment like Darden’s Future Year Scholars Program?

During undergrad, I studied a small interdisciplinary area of study called Environmental Thought and Practice. I got to study topics that fascinated me; however, I didn’t want to pursue a career in environmental law or policy, which were two popular tracks after this program. During my third year, I took a class called Managing Sustainable Development. I found that I loved the intersection of business, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility.

It was too late to gain a formal business education at the undergrad level, so I started to look into Masters and MBA programs. Applying to the Future Year Scholars Program gave me the opportunity to secure a spot at an amazing business school, while still gaining some work experience during the deferral period.

Are there any classes you would recommend taking before starting the MBA? 

Given that I pursued a niche major, all the classes at Darden are new for me. I would highly recommend taking financial and managerial accounting, finance and an Excel modeling class prior to enrolling in business school.

What were you most anxious about in your deferral period?

Going back to school after being in the working world for three years! It is such a different flow of life being in school versus working full-time.

What were you most excited about in your deferral period? 

I was so excited to come back to Charlottesville, VA. Being a double Hoo (two degrees from UVA – go Wahoos!), Charlottesville holds a very special place in my heart and I’m so happy to be back!

Did anything happen during your deferral period that reaffirmed your decision to stay on course to matriculate at Darden? (in other words, was there ever a time when you felt happy/comforted/excited that your seat at Darden was waiting for you?) 

While working, I developed a passion for the intersection of consumer goods and marketing. After applying to a few of those jobs, I realized I did not have the necessary skillset to make me a competitive candidate. Knowing that an MBA would help me pivot my career, I was excited to know that Darden was my next step through the Future Year Scholars Program.

As a member of Forté (and a Forté Fellow!), how have those opportunities and tools impacted your MBA experience so far?

I got the opportunity to meet and network with other women pursuing their MBAs before even setting foot on-grounds. That allowed me to meet lots of other Darden women, which helped foster a community early on in my MBA experience. Within Forté, we also set up industry groups to start prepping for interviews. For instance, I was interested in pursuing consulting, so I was part of a case interview prep group.

Now that I’m on grounds, being part of Forté has given me an instant network, and something interesting to talk about in interviews!

For more information about UVA Darden’s deferred enrollment, explore the Future Year Scholars Program online.

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