The history of the affordability of higher education, going as far back as the ancient times when burly Greek men in freshly creased togas engaged in academic discussions, was largely limited. Only the wealthy, or the chosen rare sponsored by a wealthy patron, could manage to spend in “indulgences” like education. Financial aid was not an official protocol and thus the poorer, academically inclined, students could only rely on private endowments to turn their tides.
History pretty much carried on as such with growing promise over the centuries until things began markedly improving during Renaissance. Work study programs and religious scholarships began to arise. The first formal scholarship fund, akin to what we are familiar with now, came about at Harvard in the middle of the 17th century.
Over the years, scholarships have come to mean a lot more than funding the financially needy to pursue education. Athletic scholarships, minority based scholarships, and most of all merit based scholarships are now a common means to make education excellent yet all inclusive. Both independent and university financial aid are now a part of all undergraduate and graduate degrees, especially professional degrees like MBA which are monetarily much steeper than other graduate programs.
In this article, we will cover information about such MBA and other business degree scholarships – their types, their sources, their approval chances and get access to testimonials from students who have achieved the bounty.
Types of MBA Scholarships
MBA degrees, with a price tag of anywhere between $50k to well over $100,000 in total can be a huge financial commitment for students. Thankfully, there are many financing options among which scholarships are especially popular. These can be either supported by the business schools themselves or awarded by an external agency.
Universities or other private/public institution providing financial aid are motivated not just by the tax benefits but also the overall impact of providing education to deserving talented individuals. There are many forms of scholarships, as we briefly touched upon before, and they work by either fully or partially covering the expenses of getting a degree.
– University Scholarships
University Scholarships provided by business schools, may target need based, merit based candidates, or minority based candidates. For instance, HBS gives nearly 50% of their class need-based scholarships of the order of $42,000 a year. Stanford GSB too provides $40,000/year in need-based scholarships to about half its students. There are also full tuition fellowships like Knight Hennessy Scholars or Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship for specific candidates.
In this MBA Crystal Ball interview, the Admission Director at Georgetown McDonough School of Business talks about their MBA Scholarship and Assistant financial aid options. Every university business school page sheds light on the aid types offered. So, we encourage you to visit your desired school for more information.
Corroborate the validity of scholarship options before you apply. Beware of immigration and education consultants peddling false hopes to MBA applicants and fleecing them off with various scholarship scams.
– External MBA Scholarships
External MBA Scholarships for international students are aplenty too. The G2 Entrepreneurial Scholarship for $5k, The Orbis Investment Management Fellowship, TY Danjuma MBA Scholarship, are some of them that target specific niche categories of MBA students like certain regional candidates, minorities, etc. You only have to take your time to scour the internet.
Of course, there are more ranging from need based, merit based, nationality, gender, or other minorities.
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How to improve your chances on getting a scholarship
Many students believe that scholarships are generally out of reach and therefore shy away from even considering them as a possibility towards MBA financing and the chance to study abroad for free. However, there are ways to improve their chances by being prepared and diligent in their research.
Scholarships, by definition, cannot be a guaranteed gift. However, if you can focus on improving your profile by upping your merit status through GPA, GMAT or other test scores and reflect your commitment to a wholesome learning through extracurricular activities, you can certainly be a worthy sell.
Ultimately, your need for scholarship is best conveyed through your scholarship essay. If they (scholarship donors) get to know the person behind the application through a strong essay, they will be more willing to help you.
Here are some useful articles on ways you can help your scholarship goals.
MBA Scholarship Success stories
MBA Scholarships are the icing on MBA admission offers. In our archive here for MBA success stories, we have happy beginnings shared by nearly 50 MBA applicants who managed to accomplish both. What determined the success of these scholarship applications is a highly subjective matter.
Though high GMAT or GPA scores are the traditional markers in a lot of these merit based scholarships, there are a considerable number of instances when students managed to receive them with either low test scores, less than average academic record, too little or too much work experience, multiple past rejections, or lack of any other particular competitive edge.
Here are a few stories highlighted from our repertoire of MBA applicants who obtained financial aid despite apparent odds of receiving scholarships.
MBA Scholarship with low GMAT score
Many MBA applicants from India think that crossing the 700 score mark on the GMAT is the only way to get into a good business school and have any remote chance of getting a scholarship. But this energy sector professional managed a meaty scholarship, at HKUST, despite a below average GMAT score in two attempts.
We also have an EDHEC MBA success story with a 650 GMAT score and a 40% scholarship.
Still looking for more inspiration? Then here’s the story of a company secretary with only a 580 on his GMAT who went on to get multiple admits and scholarship.
MBA Scholarship with below average academic record
This MBA candidate talks about looking past his failures – low GRE and GPA and 15 rejections that didn’t manage to deter his determination. He shares how he managed a whopping $125k scholarship at Boston University’s Questrom.
MBA Scholarship after 30
Second MBA admit shares his offer of a scholarship from MIT after 30 and 11 years of work experience.
An HEC Montreal admit over 35 years of age also talks about how he battled high age a low GMAT score to not only receive an admission offer but also a scholarship to help him in his pursuit.
We encourage you to browse and draw inspiration from stories from a range of candidate profiles – high to low GMAT/GRE scorers, first time applicants to reapplicants, low to high work experienced candidates, and students with academic grades that span the whole spectrum of GPA.
If you think your odds of getting a scholarship are low, it is time to rethink your goals and your application strategy. Check out our archive of all articles relating to scholarships here” MBA scholarship blogs.
And don’t hesitate to drop us a line at info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com if you are seeking professional help with your MBA applications, especially with an eye on scholarships.