You’re In…Now How Will You Pay for the MBA?
While MBA programs typically offer fewer scholarships and other types of “free” money than the non-professional forms of graduate education, many online resources can help you to search for a scholarship or fellowship that fits your background and needs.
First, check with your target program. Once admitted, your school will present you with a package of information about public and private loans and scholarships. In fact, many schools have comprehensive websites on the topic.
In addition, you may qualify for merit fellowships based on your academic credentials, accomplishments and experience that you have already touched upon in your application. Some business schools also offer additional fellowships that you can apply for directly through the program.
Applying for the Money
The application processes differ for financial aid, from demonstrating need to demonstrating merit. Organize the deadlines and submission guidelines to make sure you have a plan to complete the applications, and carefully follow the directions of each scholarship, fellowship or loan you plan to apply for.
If you need to submit an essay, answer the question as thoroughly and succinctly as you would any other MBA essay.
The value of fellowships/scholarships should be fairly straightforward, though you may emphasize either need or merit in your response, depending upon the direction you plan to take in the argument for your own application.
You’ll need to prove serious financial hardship if going the needs-based route. If you did have difficulties with finances throughout your life and could not attend business school without such assistance, you may have a good argument. If not, you should pursue the merit-based direction.
When providing evidence for need-based aid, give a straightforward explanation of your economic situation and why you would have difficulty paying for your MBA education. Avoid any complaining or blame, and instead focus on what you have accomplished in your life with little resources and how you plan to continue that trajectory as you benefit from greater resources.
With a merit-based argument, you should outline your accomplishments, both academic and professional. Sell yourself as you would in a job interview, and provide solid evidence for your accomplishments as you did in your application essays.
The impact of financial assistance may allow you to pursue activities such as travel and leadership opportunities. In addition, your receipt of aid may benefit the people around you. If you have been involved in your community or with charity, you can certainly describe the impact you have made on the lives of others thus far and how that impact will be even greater with a business education.