How to Get Scholarship for MBA in USA?

MBA, or Master of Business Administration, is one of the most sought-after graduate programs for professionals who want to advance their career in business. However, the cost of pursuing an MBA, especially in US universities, can be a significant barrier for many students. An MBA degree from a top US business school costs between $91,687 and $23,636 on average.

According to Investopedia, the average private school MBA graduate student can incur up to $200,000 student debt over a two year program. This includes costs like tuition, on-campus housing, as well as the price of books and other resources. Thus, if you do not want to break the bank it is critical that you look for a full tuition or partial scholarship for MBA in USA.

Getting full scholarship for MBA in USA – myth or reality?

Full-ride scholarships to top-ranked business programs are rare. Although prestigious business schools may have large endowments to distribute to students, this does not guarantee that you will receive a scholarship offer. In general, one in every eight or 7% of applicants, have a chance to receive a scholarship which can range from 10,000 USD to a full tuition scholarship. However, this percentage drops further below to 3% for top business schools.

Usually, top business schools want the most talented candidates in their MBA program to create a top ranked class. Thus, the competition is fierce just to get admitted into a top ranked MBA programs. A business school will only offer you a scholarship if they find that your profile adds a unique value to the school’s MBA cohort.

Types of available scholarship for MBA in USA:

In general, there are three different categories for awarding scholarship to the MBA students.

Need-based scholarships and awards:

This type of scholarship is especially created for students from low economic standing or poor socio-economic background. This can be considered as financial gifts which are typically awarded from the financial endowments. For example, as of 2021, Harvard Business School (HBS) has over USD 4 billion in its endowment!

Around 50% of students receive a need-based scholarship from HBS per year. The average amount of need based scholarship that a student receives per year is approximately $42,000. HBS announced in August 2022 that it will provide full tuition scholarships to students with the greatest financial need, as well as new scholarships to more students from middle-income families.

Here are the four factors that Harvard Business School consider to determine financial:

  • Gross income from prior three years
  • Assets
  • Socioeconomic background
  • Undergraduate debt

Merit-based scholarships:

Most of the MBA scholarships are merit based. GMAT or GRE scores, as well as GPAs, are typically used in the selection process for all merit-based scholarships, including full-tuition scholarships. Specifically, a high GMAT exam score will put you miles ahead in the competition for getting full scholarship for MBA in USA. Business schools often found that GMAT score is one of the most significant indicators of academic achievement after admission. The second reason is that GMAT score is a component of the U.S. News MBA ranking. That is why business schools offer admission to those applicants who have typically higher GMAT score so that they can maintain or increase their program’s ranking.

However, no scholarship is solely determined based on GPA and test scores. An MBA applicant must exhibit at least or more from the following criteria to be considered for the merit based scholarships:

  • Applicants must demonstrate stellar leadership in at least one of the following areas: academic leadership, team leadership, community leadership, and creative leadership.
  • Applicants should exhibit a diverse range of educational and professional experiences, career goals, ethnicities, citizenship/nationality, sexual orientation, and gender identities/expression.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to Fort√©’s mission of launching women into purposeful careers by providing access to business education, opportunities, and a network of successful women.
  • Additional requirements – set by the admission committee.

Targeted scholarships:

Business schools strive for diversity in many ways, including admitting a record number of women, students of color, military personnel, and others from non-traditional backgrounds. Therefore, they have designed targeted scholarships for improving the diversity among the grad school student body and increase representation for minorities and other groups. For example, there are scholarships available for African American students, Asian or Pacific Islander students, Hispanic or Latinx students, Native American students, female and LGBT+ students.

What is a good GMAT score for MBA scholarships?

The average GMAT scores for the top business schools typically ranges from 700 to above, the higher the better. The higher the better, because when you have a head to head competition with another applicant; the GMAT score becomes a deciding factor.

average GMAT scores for top business schools in USA gradbunker

Most MBA experts consider a score of 700 or higher to be excellent, while anything above 650 is considered good. Top MBA programs require a GMAT score of 700 plus, but having a GMAT score below 700 does not rule out admission to top business schools.

How do I get scholarship for MBA in USA?

Because you just have a decent GMAT score and have 4 years of working experiences, the business school is not going to offer you scholarships. Top business schools focus on creating future leaders, and to get scholarships you need to demonstrate an exceptional or at least above average profile. You need to have impactful work experience, leadership activities along with your strong academic track records. Furthermore, you’ll need to translate your experiences and personal characteristics/history into a strong application (CV, essays, and recommendation letters), as well as effectively communicate them during the interview process.

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In general, you must have a more competitive profile across all of these factors than the other applicants. You will not only be competing with the entire pool of applicants, but particularly those with similar profiles and backgrounds. These competitive buckets can be quite specific e.g., female Indian entrepreneurs or male Chinese investment bankers. Here are five tips that might help you to find a scholarship for your intended MBA program.

Plan ahead:

Preparing for an MBA program is a long-term game. It requires not only the professional works experience but also the qualities that will make your application stand out. Applicants who are really in a serious pursuit in getting into a full scholarship for MBA, they commit themselves to things outside their professional life. The demonstrate community engagement via different activities and often take leadership roles within or outside their organization as well. So, build your MBA profile by volunteering, taking on more responsibilities at work, or even starting your own business.

Find the right university for you, not the best one:

A typical applicants pool for the MBA program usually consists of different kind of applicants. This includes high-potential business leaders, entrepreneurs, organizational leaders, professionals working in family business, military veterans etc. Business schools look for different type of candidates as their varied experiences will add value to each year’s MBA cohort.

For example, a military veterans might be accepted to a MBA program with scholarship because the business school wants to have the particular experience of supervising large number of soldiers in combat, and learn something new from that experience. Or, perhaps, they might offer a full tuition scholarship to a first generation student who broke their family tradition and striving to be a business leader. So, you should look for such schools where you fit the best. Admission committee look for such candidates who will be the Rockstar, and will significantly impact their alumni network. Whatever your unique advantages and stories are, expressing them clearly in your applications increases your chances of winning a scholarship.

Aim for a high GMAT score:

Score high, if you want a scholarship for MBA in USA. There is no other way around. Generally, any business school requires a two to four years of professional work experience to get into their MBA program. So, plan alongside with your career, to prepare for GMAT exam. A high GMAT score like 730+ increases the chance of getting scholarship by approximately 21% in top 20 business schools.

A high GMAT score is usually correlated to the applicant by the following three criteria:

  • Applicant having a high GMAT score can adapt well to the rigorous MBA program.
  • Possess exceptional quantitative skills.
  • Can prioritize effectively.
GMAT score for MBA gradbunker

All of these are deemed to be necessary for success both during and after the MBA program. As a result, applicants with a higher chance of long-term success are more likely to receive generous scholarships. Furthermore, high GMAT scores for the incoming class are a source of prestige for top business schools. It also plays an important role in determining b-school rankings. As a result, admissions committees are likely to incentivize high GMAT scores to attract top talent and improve the program’s overall prestige.

Be authentic:

Everyone has a unique story to tell, so find yours. Often, prospective MBA applicants think that they might have to come up with some stellar stories about their journey to convince the admission committee. And, they start to coin stories that is not theirs at all. Do not do that. You will often get caught during the interview process. Whatever you say in your admission essay or personal statement is indirectly verifiable. During the interview, if something does not add up to your stories, then the admission committee will eventually reject you.

So, just be yourself, and be authentic as you can be in your admission essays and interviews. If you have a great story to tell that is wonderful. If not, then there is nothing to worry about. You can always write what you are passionate about and what you care most. Then, try to make that mesh with the values of the university you are applying to. Help the business school to figure out whether you are a good fit or not.

Apply early to get scholarship for MBA:

The majority of a school’s scholarship budget is spent on the first round of applications, which occurs in September. Submit your application as soon as the application portal opens up for the upcoming intake. You’ll have more time to look for scholarship opportunities if you apply early. It also shows the school that you’re not making a hasty decision, but that the MBA is something you’ve thought about and prepared for.

In conclusion, getting a full scholarship for MBA in USA requires research, preparation, and persistence. Researching scholarship opportunities, meeting eligibility requirements, preparing a strong application, applying early, and following up are crucial steps to increase your chances of getting a full scholarship. Remember, scholarships are highly competitive. Therefore, it’s essential to put your best foot forward and demonstrate why you deserve the scholarship.

Disclaimer: No A.I. was used to generate the content.

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