MBA Degree Scholarships
An MBA program can set you up for a successful future. Earning a Master of Business Administration degree gives you the chance to expand your knowledge, meet people with similar interests and secure a high-paying job.
In the U.S., demand for MBAs is high. In 2017, 74 percent of new companies planned to hire people with this degree. This trend is extending across the globe. More companies than ever are hiring employees out of general, specialty and online MBA programs.
Furthering your education is not cheap, though. The two-year degree cost an average of $104,000 in 2014. Finances should not hinder students from enhancing their education.
Most individuals who pursue an MBA do so to increase their salary. The payoff is significant. Before completing an MBA, business majors can expect to earn about $70,000 per year. Three years after graduating from business school, alumni are earning closer to $140,000.
Cost is a primary consideration for many MBA applicants. Need-based financial aid may be available, but qualified candidates usually have to prove significant financial hardship. Financial professionals recommend that prospective MBA students start saving for graduate school as soon as they decide to go down that path.
What Do MBA Scholarships Cover?
Tuition represents only a portion of the total cost of an MBA. Living expenses can set students back financially, especially if they don’t work while attending school full time.
Taking the GMAT, the globally accepted admission exam for graduate management programs, will set you back $250. Traveling for interviews can also deduct a large chunk of money from your bank account.
A scholarship can ease the stress of coming up with the funding for all of these variables. The schools and scholarship programs designate how you can spend MBA scholarships. Some can only be applied to tuition, while others can cover the cost of living expenses, books and other fees. Students who don’t get full scholarships often use a combination of creative options to support their endeavors.
How to Qualify for the Most and Best MBA Scholarships?
The top MBA programs usually offer many funding opportunities for strong applicants. Researching financial aid options as you’re deciding which schools to consider can help you look at the big picture. Some institutions offer merit-based financial support to more than half of their MBA students.
Starting the application process early can put you in the running for the best scholarships. Many schools and funding programs don’t wait until all of the candidates have submitted their applications before doling out awards. They often have limited budgets and are more flexible during the early weeks and months of the application period. Plus, early applicants demonstrate eagerness and commitment.
Your application serves as the first step in the screening process for merit-based scholarships. Most schools will automatically consider you if you have impressive qualities. The best candidates may receive a scholarship offer upon admission. Ask about separate aid or scholarship applications.
Timely preparation can also qualify you for the best private and independent scholarships. These are not provided by the graduate schools. They are often funded by corporations, organizations or individual sponsors.
Making Your Scholarship Application Stand Out
A high GMAT score can set you above the competition. So can a stellar undergraduate GPA.
Don’t count yourself out of the running if you’re not at the head of the class, though. Because students often wait a few years after completing their undergraduate education to attend graduate school, they have opportunities for professional development. Getting certifications and earing additional credentials during this time can improve your candidacy for a scholarship.
Many scholarship applications also require you to complete an essay or project. This is your chance to shine.
Three following three categories are usually evaluated to assess a candidate’s qualifications:
- Academic background
- Personal merits
- Professional experience
Any accomplishments that you have achieved will improve your standing in these areas. Volunteer work, leadership roles and jobs that you have held can demonstrate your strengths and improve your chances of earning a scholarship. Highlight them in your applications whenever possible. You need to show that you’re a dedicated student but can apply the knowledge that you gain to real-world situations.
Employers place a higher value on communication skills than anything else. Writing and presentation abilities are vital for Master of Business Administration candidates.
Graduate school applicants are usually up against others with similar technical skills. Showing that you are resilient, adaptable and a team player can set you apart from the rest. Many scholarship applications let you showcase your talents in these areas.
You’ll likely need to add letters of recommendation and a resume to your application. Choose a variety of referrers who can speak about your academic, personal and professional qualities.
The list below includes the top MBA degree scholarships. Click on each one for additional details. You can apply to as many of these as you’d like for the best chances of financially supporting your campus or online MBA.
Scholarships vs. Loans
In the U.S., federal loans generally offer the lowest interest rates. Students seeking government loans must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Some private loan programs use potential future earnings as a lending consideration, while others only allow you to borrow money if you have a credit-worthy cosigner.
Graduates who are interested in pursuing public interest positions may have their loans forgiven. The U.S. federal government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness program helps MBA graduates afford to take jobs in the lower-paying public service sector. Although this program can be valuable, it requires many specific qualifications and isn’t ideal for many MBA graduates who hope to pursue high-paying and entrepreneurial careers.
While you should be able to pay back your school loans eventually, it’s tough to start your career with so much debt. Many students seek out scholarships to support their educational ambitions. Only about 24 percent of students use loans to fund their MBAs. Thirty percent of tuition funding comes from scholarships, grants and fellowships.
Scholarships are often based on merit, and grants are usually centered on need. Some awards combine need with certain qualifications to enhance diversity and provide opportunities for a wide range of applicants. Most experts recommend looking for this type of “free money” before applying for loans.
A scholarship can lead to financial freedom after graduation. Unlike loans, scholarships don’t need to be repaid. After graduation, students can focus on moving forward instead of paying back their school funding.
This can make the difference between taking a steady job at a corporation and setting out to build your own business. Without having to worry about repaying debt, innovators can follow their passions instead of chasing a paycheck.
Can You Ask for More Money?
In some cases, applicants may be able to negotiate higher awards. This often works best when the scholarship is awarded by the school. Applicants may have a better chance of negotiating a higher offer if they have received offers from multiple schools.
The best way to improve your chances of getting more money is to ask. You can put your request in writing and explain your needs. Be polite and refrain from seeming demanding. You’re simply inquiring whether the school has any flexibility to provide additional funding.
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