MBA financing options for Indian candidates
Written by Sameer Kamat
If your last name is Ambani, Tata, Birla or you are a direct descendent of Seth Karodimal, feel free to scoff at the futility of this post and move on to the next one. Oh, so you are still with us. Cool, read on.
Despite the wild fluctuations in the foreign exchange rates (we are talking about INR vs USD, INR vs GBP et al), for Indian candidates hoping to navigate the steep financing curves it’s never been an easy road to cross. A top MBA program would set you back by 20 lakhs to over 70 lakhs, depending on whether you are targeting a 1 or 2 year program from an elite school. Most schools will ‘encourage’ you to look for funding in your own country. Roughly this translates to – ‘sort out as many problems as you can before you come to our campus.’ Some schools (including those that have the cautionary advice that we just mentioned) are a little more considerate and will help you identify sources of funding before and during the program.
But rather than depending on the business school, you’d be better off if you’ve already got a major chunk of the funding arranged. There are two primary ways to do this – Personal savings and MBA education loans (from Indian banks). Then there are the extremely competitive scholarships offered by Indian trusts, companies, individuals (the respectful technical term here would be HNI – High Networth Individuals). Most of them don’t cover the entire tuition. There are a few exceptions though and these are very (VERY) difficult to get if you aren’t a superstar. Partial scholarships for Indian candidates are also very tough to get. So if you get one of these, consider yourself very lucky. But if you are betting on financing your entire MBA through scholarships, it’s a damn risky proposition.
Essentially the bottomline is, if you aren’t a strong candidate for the schools that you have on your list, a major chunk of your financing will have to come from bank loans, personal savings, campus income (internship, part-time work) and finally scholarships. More on each of these in the future blog posts.