Guide on How to Get an MBA Scholarship

With the high costs of MBA and the current uncertainties in the global economy, many are struggling to find funding for their MBA degrees. The funding avenue that is most preferred by MBA students is by way of scholarships. It should be comforting to know that there are thousands of MBA scholarships available, but disheartening to find out that tens of thousands are applying for them.  So now, how do you get that MBA scholarship? 

Find all the possible scholarships that are available
First things first, do you know all the scholarships available out there that you are eligible for? In order to be above the rest, you need to be properly informed and updated about the current MBA scholarships that becomes available. Many eligible candidates miss out on scholarships because they don’t know that they’re there. In some cases, the most thorough scholarship seeker will get the scholarship. Here are some tips that will help you know all the MBA scholarship opportunities available to you:

  • Subscribe to Google Alerts for the keyword ‘MBA scholarships’ or any other keyword that’s specific to you i.e. ‘MBA scholarships for women’.
  • When searching for ‘MBA scholarships’ in Google, switch to the news section to see the latest news about MBA scholarships.
  • Do a Twitter search on ‘mba scholarships’ and know what’s currently the buzz on MBA scholarships
  • Visit the Business School’s scholarship page and drop by their news and events section for scholarship updates.
  • Join MBA fairs and MBA clubs and networks that gives you a chance to apply for their scholarships. In 2015, QS Top MBA will provide 1.5M worth of scholarships exclusively for those who attended the QS World MBA Tour.  Beat the GMAT Network offers an annual scholarship open for their members only.
  • Utilize our website – We are the only scholarship database dedicated to listing all MBA scholarships. Subscribe to and be updated whenever an MBA scholarship has opened or Follow on Twitter.

Apply to scholarships to which you have the best chances of getting
Generally, there are three different kinds of scholarships – need-based, merit-based, and a combination of need-based and merit-based.  And there there are the rest- the numerous other scholarships based on some specific criteria, such as your country of origin or your gender.  You are likely to get higher ROI when you apply to scholarships that are well matched to your “unique” qualifications (specific nationality, background, interest, experience, etc.). You’ll want to identify what factors distinguish you from your peers and target those opportunities. Your chances will increase since you’ll be competing with a smaller group of scholarship applicants.

Most Business Schools will have merit-based scholarships to attract the brightest MBA candidates.  Based on our research across thousands of MBA scholarship offerings, we find that general merit-based scholarships look for one or more of the following qualifications:

  • Outstanding academic achievement
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Extensive professional experience.

If you cannot strongly identify your strength in one or more of those qualifications, you’ll next want to look at Need-based scholarships, which generally look for evidence of financial need by assessing your current financial status.

There are other specific types of scholarships targeted to people with different interests, gender, backgrounds, and nationality. The criteria for these types of targeted scholarships also may include: academic, leadership, and professional achievement. Examples of such targeted scholarships are:

Excel in your Scholarship Essay
If you are lacking in distinguishing qualifications, simply come up with a spectacular scholarship essay. A well-thought out and convincing scholarship essay could win you that MBA scholarship. In 2011, someone won a full-time MBA scholarship to the Tippie Business School by submitting the most creative ‘tweet’ essay. Scholarship essays give you a chance to “talk” to the scholarship providers and show them your best qualifications that can’t be measured by academic grades or professional experience.

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