Business school can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a number of ways to finance your MBA, including scholarships, fellowships, and grants. In fact, some students are able to attend business school without paying a cent.
Here are nine strategies for getting a fully-funded MBA:
Apply to scholarship-friendly programs
That is a great strategy! Here are some additional tips for applying to scholarship-friendly programs:
- Visit the school’s website to learn more about their scholarship offerings. Many schools have a dedicated page on their website that lists all of the scholarships that they offer, as well as the eligibility requirements.
- Talk to current students and alumni. They can give you first-hand insights into the school’s scholarship culture and how to increase your chances of receiving an award.
- Tailor your application materials to each school. Make sure to highlight your specific skills and experiences that align with the school’s mission and values.
- Submit your applications early. Scholarship deadlines vary from school to school, so it’s important to check the deadlines early and submit your applications as soon as possible.
Here are a few examples of scholarship-friendly MBA programs:
- Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business
- The Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago
- Columbia Business School
- Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business
- Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business
- Harvard Business School
- Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
- MIT Sloan School of Management
- Yale School of Management
Understand what B-schools are looking for.
That’s correct. In addition to academic achievement, business schools look for students with strong leadership potential, communication skills, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. They want to admit students who will contribute to the school community and make a positive impact on the world.
Here are some tips for highlighting these qualities in your MBA application materials:
- Leadership: Write about your leadership experiences in your resume, essays, and interview. Be specific and provide examples of how you have demonstrated leadership in your personal and professional life.
- Communication: Showcase your communication skills in your essays and interview. Be clear, concise, and articulate in your writing and speaking.
- Diversity and inclusion: Demonstrate your commitment to diversity and inclusion in your essays and interview. Talk about your experiences with different cultures and perspectives, and how you have promoted diversity and inclusion in your personal and professional life.
Here are some specific examples of how you can highlight your leadership potential, communication skills, and commitment to diversity and inclusion in your MBA application materials:
- In your resume, list any leadership positions you have held in your previous jobs or extracurricular activities. Be sure to highlight your accomplishments in these roles.
- In your essays, write about your leadership experiences and how they have shaped you as a person and a professional. For example, you could write about a time when you led a team to success, or a time when you overcame a challenge and learned from it.
- In your interview, be prepared to talk about your leadership experiences, communication skills, and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Be clear and concise in your answers, and provide specific examples to support your claims.
Focus on test prep.
That is correct. A high GMAT or GRE score can make you more competitive for scholarships and fellowships. Many scholarship and fellowship programs have minimum GMAT or GRE score requirements, and a higher score can make you more competitive for the most competitive awards.
Here are some tips for preparing for the GMAT or GRE:
- Start early. The GMAT and GRE are challenging exams, so it is important to start preparing early. Give yourself at least 3-4 months to prepare for the exam.
- Use high-quality study materials. There are a number of high-quality GMAT and GRE study materials available, including books, online courses, and private tutoring. Choose study materials that are aligned with your learning style and budget.
- Practice regularly. The best way to prepare for the GMAT or GRE is to practice regularly. Take practice tests and review your mistakes to identify areas where you need to improve.
- Get help if you need it. If you are struggling to prepare for the GMAT or GRE on your own, consider getting help from a tutor or online course.
Here are some additional tips for improving your GMAT or GRE score:
- Focus on your weaknesses. Identify the areas where you are struggling and focus your preparation on those areas.
- Take advantage of practice tests. Practice tests are a great way to identify your weaknesses and track your progress.
- Get feedback from others. Ask a tutor, friend, or family member to review your practice tests and provide feedback.
Inquire about MBA funding for specific interest groups.
Yes, that is correct. Many scholarships and fellowships are reserved for women, minorities, veterans, and students from other underrepresented groups. There are also scholarships available for students who are interested in specific industries or fields of study.
Here are some examples of scholarships and fellowships for specific groups and fields of study:
- Forté Foundation Fellowships
- Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellowships
- Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting Scholarships
- GMAT Club Scholarships
- Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellowships
- National Black MBA Association Scholarships
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund
- Asian American and Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund
- Yellow Ribbon Program
- Post-9/11 GI Bill
- Veterans Upward Bound
- Scholarships for Veterans Foundation
- Specific industries and fields of study:
- Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship (for women in computer science)
- CFA Institute Access Scholarships Program (for students pursuing the CFA designation)
- American Marketing Association Foundation Scholarships (for students pursuing a career in marketing)
- American Institute of CPAs Scholarships (for students pursuing a career in accounting)
To find more scholarships and fellowships, you can visit the websites of the following organizations:
- Sallie Mae
Polish your essays.
Yes, the essay is a critical part of your MBA application. It is your opportunity to tell your story and highlight your unique strengths in a way that is not possible on your resume or through your test scores.
Here are some tips for writing effective MBA essays:
- Start early. Don’t wait until the last minute to start writing your essays. Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm, write, and revise your essays.
- Be specific and provide examples. Don’t just tell the admissions committee that you are a hard worker or a team player. Give them specific examples of times when you have demonstrated these qualities.
- Be honest and authentic. The admissions committee wants to get to know the real you. Don’t try to be someone you’re not in your essays.
- Be clear and concise. The admissions committee is busy, so get to the point quickly in your essays. Avoid using jargon or clichés.
- Have someone else proofread your essays. Once you have finished writing your essays, have someone else proofread them for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
Here are some specific topics that you may want to write about in your MBA essays:
- Why you want an MBA. What are your career goals and how will an MBA help you achieve them?
- Why you are a good fit for the specific MBA program you are applying to. What about the school’s mission, values, and curriculum appeals to you?
- A challenge you have overcome. How did you overcome this challenge and what did you learn from it?
- A leadership experience. Tell the admissions committee about a time when you demonstrated leadership. What was your role and what did you accomplish?
- A unique experience. Tell the admissions committee about a unique experience that has shaped you as a person.
See whether your employer offers tuition benefits.
es, some employers offer tuition assistance to employees who pursue an MBA. This is a great way to offset the cost of an MBA, especially if you are a full-time employee.
To find out if your employer offers tuition assistance, talk to your HR department. They can tell you about the specific eligibility requirements and how to apply for the benefit.
Here are some tips for getting tuition assistance from your employer:
- Do your research. Before you talk to your employer about tuition assistance, learn about the company’s policies and procedures. This will help you have a more informed conversation and increase your chances of getting approved.
- Be prepared to explain why you want an MBA and how it will benefit the company. Tuition assistance is a significant investment for employers, so they want to make sure that it is worth it. Be prepared to explain how your MBA will help you to be more productive and valuable to the company.
- Be flexible. Employers may be willing to negotiate the terms of the tuition assistance agreement. For example, they may be willing to pay for a portion of your tuition or reimburse you for your tuition costs after you graduate. Be willing to compromise in order to get the financial assistance you need.
Submit a well-crafted MBA application.
Yes, your MBA application should be well-written, polished, and free of errors. This is your first chance to make a good impression on the admissions committee, so it is important to put your best foot forward.
Here are some tips for proofreading your MBA application:
- Read your application aloud. This is a great way to catch errors that you may miss when reading silently.
- Have someone else proofread your application. Ask a friend, family member, or colleague to review your application for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
- Use a grammar checker. Grammar checkers can help you to catch errors that you may miss on your own. However, it is important to note that grammar checkers are not perfect, so be sure to review your application carefully after using a grammar checker.
Here are some specific things to look for when proofreading your MBA application:
- Grammar and spelling errors. Make sure to proofread your application carefully for grammar and spelling errors.
- Punctuation errors. Make sure to use punctuation correctly in your application.
- Typos. Make sure to proofread your application carefully for typos.
- Formatting errors. Make sure that your application is formatted correctly. This includes things like using the correct font size and margins, and double-spacing your application.
- Clarity and conciseness. Make sure that your application is clear and concise. Avoid using jargon or clichés.
Submit your application early.
Yes, business schools often distribute scholarships and fellowships on a rolling basis. This means that they review applications and award scholarships and fellowships as they are received, until the funds are depleted. Therefore, it is important to submit your application early to give yourself the best chance of receiving financial aid.
Here are some tips for submitting your MBA application early:
- Start planning early. The MBA application process can be time-consuming, so it is important to start planning early. Give yourself plenty of time to research business schools, write your essays, and prepare for your interviews.
- Set deadlines for yourself. Once you have a plan in place, set deadlines for yourself to complete each task. This will help you to stay on track and avoid procrastinating.
- Ask for help. If you need help with any aspect of the application process, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or colleagues. There are also a number of professional MBA admissions consultants who can help you.
By following these tips, you can submit your MBA application early and increase your chances of receiving financial aid.
Here are some additional benefits of submitting your MBA application early:
- You will have more time to prepare for your interviews.
- You will be more likely to get your preferred interview dates and times.
- You will be more likely to get into your dream business school.
- You will be more likely to receive financial aid.
Prepare for your admissions interviews.
Yes, the admissions interview is an opportunity to make a good impression on the admissions committee and learn more about the school. It is also a chance for the admissions committee to get to know you better and assess your fit for the program.
Here are some tips for preparing for your MBA admissions interview:
- Research the school. Take the time to research the school’s mission, values, and curriculum. This will help you to understand what the school is looking for in its applicants and to tailor your answers accordingly.
- Practice answering common interview questions. There are a number of common MBA admissions interview questions that you can expect to be asked. Practice answering these questions in advance so that you can give clear and concise answers during your interview.
- Be prepared to talk about your background, career goals, and why you are interested in the program. The admissions committee will want to know more about your personal and professional journey, as well as your motivations for pursuing an MBA. Be prepared to talk about these topics in detail.
- Dress professionally and arrive on time. First impressions matter, so make sure to dress professionally and arrive on time for your interview.
Here are some common MBA admissions interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why are you interested in pursuing an MBA?
- Why are you interested in our school?
- What are your career goals?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What are some of your academic and professional accomplishments?
- What are your plans after graduation?
By following these tips, you can prepare for your MBA admissions interview and make a good impression on the admissions committee.
Here are some additional tips for a successful MBA admissions interview:
- Be yourself. The admissions committee wants to get to know the real you. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
- Be enthusiastic. Show the admissions committee that you are excited about the prospect of attending their school and pursuing an MBA.
- Be positive. Focus on your strengths and accomplishments. Avoid dwelling on your weaknesses or negative experiences.
- Ask questions. This shows the admissions committee that you are interested in the school and the program.
Here are some additional tips for getting a fully-funded MBA:
- Network with alumni and current students. They can provide you with valuable insights into the admissions process and help you connect with potential scholarship donors.
- Attend business school fairs and events. This is a great way to learn more about different programs and meet admissions representatives.
- Apply for external scholarships and fellowships. There are a number of organizations that offer scholarships and fellowships to MBA students. Do some research and apply for any that you are eligible for.
- In 2023, the Forté Foundation is awarding $2 million in scholarships to women pursuing MBAs.
- The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management is awarding $10 million in fellowships to students from underrepresented groups.
- The Mastercard Foundation is awarding $50 million in scholarships to students from Africa who are pursuing MBAs at top business schools in the United States.
Getting a fully-funded MBA is not easy, but it is possible. By following these strategies, you can increase your chances of receiving the financial aid you need to attend the business school of your dreams.
What is the cost of an MBA program?
The cost of an MBA program can vary widely depending on the school, location, and program duration. On average, tuition for a two-year MBA program at a top business school in the United States can range from $100,000 to $200,000 or more. However, it’s important to consider additional expenses such as living costs, textbooks, and fees.
What are the different types of financial aid available for MBA students?
MBA students can access various forms of financial aid, including scholarships, fellowships, grants, loans, and tuition reimbursement programs offered by employers. Scholarships and fellowships are particularly attractive because they do not need to be repaid.
How can I find scholarships and fellowships for MBA programs?
To find scholarships and fellowships, start by researching specific business schools’ websites, as many offer their own financial aid opportunities. Additionally, external scholarship websites and organizations like Forté Foundation, Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, and various professional associations provide information on MBA scholarships.
What are scholarship-friendly MBA programs?
Scholarship-friendly MBA programs are those that have a history of offering substantial financial aid to students. These programs typically have a range of scholarships available and may be more open to awarding financial aid based on merit, diversity, and other criteria.
What can I do to improve my chances of receiving scholarships?
To improve your chances of receiving scholarships, focus on academic excellence, leadership experiences, and community involvement. Tailor your application materials to each school, highlighting your alignment with their values and mission. Additionally, consider preparing for and achieving a high score on the GMAT or GRE, as this can make you a more competitive applicant.
Are there scholarships available for specific groups or fields of study within MBA programs?
Yes, there are scholarships available for specific groups such as women, minorities, veterans, and individuals pursuing careers in certain industries or fields of study. Organizations and foundations often provide scholarships to support underrepresented groups and encourage diversity in MBA programs.
How can I prepare for the GMAT or GRE to improve my chances of receiving financial aid?
Start your test preparation early and use high-quality study materials, including books, online courses, or tutoring services. Regularly practice, focus on your weaknesses, and take advantage of practice tests to track your progress. Seeking help from tutors or online courses can be beneficial if you’re struggling with test preparation.
What is the role of essays in MBA applications, and how can I write effective essays?
MBA application essays are essential for demonstrating your uniqueness and fit for a specific program. Start early, be specific, provide examples, and be honest and authentic in your essays. Make sure your writing is clear, concise, and free of errors. Having someone else proofread your essays can help catch mistakes.
Is it common for employers to offer tuition assistance for MBA programs?
Yes, some employers offer tuition assistance or reimbursement programs to support their employees in pursuing an MBA. Check with your HR department to understand your company’s policies and eligibility criteria. Be prepared to explain how an MBA will benefit both you and the company.
Why is it important to submit an MBA application early for financial aid?
Submitting your MBA application early is crucial because many scholarship and fellowship programs have rolling admissions and allocate funds as applications are received. By applying early, you increase your chances of being considered for financial aid before the available funds are exhausted.
What should I expect in an MBA admissions interview, and how can I prepare?
MBA admissions interviews typically involve questions about your background, career goals, why you’re interested in the program, and your strengths and weaknesses. Research the school, practice common interview questions, and be prepared to discuss your experiences and motivations. Dress professionally, arrive on time, and be yourself during the interview.