An MBA is an extremely versatile degree which puts you in the driving seat of your career. Funding your path towards attaining this lucrative degree can be difficult. Without a scholarship for MBA, even more so. So, it is advisable to be informed about the several different scholarships for MBA in USA.
And you may also ask, why the USA? Because some of the world’s finest business schools are located all over the USA, offering cutting-edge MBA programmes.
While they charge a hefty fee for these lucrative programmes, scholarships for MBA in USA are quite abundant. And if you research well, you might have a chance at getting a free ride (full scholarship)! Here is a list of the various options available for an aspiring MBA student.
This article will also try to answer some of your most pertinent questions such as, how to get a scholarship for MBA in the USA.
Why do an MBA in the USA?
There is a plethora of options available when choosing an MBA programme that is correct for you. However, there are certain aspects that make the USA stand out as one of the top destinations to attain this coveted degree. It is easier to discuss them by dividing them into four broad categories.
The Economy of the USA
The USA is one of the largest economies in the world, and accounts for a good chunk of the world’s GDP. So why should that matter to you? Because the sheer size of the economy means that the country is home to a massive amount of small and large firms specialising in a plethora of sectors.
Whether it be financial services or petrochemicals, or car manufacturers, the USA is home to them all. And what’s more, many, if not most of these companies are Fortune 500 companies or have been ranked in some other well-known index.
While you will find financial giants like PwC and JP Morgan Chase on Wall Street in New York, you will also find technological greats like Apple and Facebook in the Silicon Valley in California. For a MBA graduate, this provides a bouquet of opportunities, to shape their future career.
Most of these firms are always hiring young college graduates, with some firms even having direct enrolment programmes with top business schools. An extremely diverse economy also means that schools also offer a tonne of scholarships for MBA for international students as well.
Demand for MBA skills and enterprise
The USA is also one of the largest consumer markets in the world, and a very large proportion of this is accounted for by consumer spending on tertiary sector services. Therefore, students carrying an MBA credential with them will be well placed to attain a high paying job at a reputable company.
Whether it be as an Economist, or CEO, or Senior Financial analyst, these jobs have average salaries ranging from $75,000 all the way to $170,000 a year! Moreover, the advertising and marketing aspect of the MBA degree also means that you will gain skills which are in high demand in today’s consumer oriented, digital advertising world.
Quality of teaching
The table below shows the top business schools in the world, as ranked by the QS 2022 Global MBA rankings. Be sure to note how many of them are American!
|University Name (Business School)
||Rank (Same rank indicates tie)
|University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
|London Business School
|University of Chicago (Booth)
|University of California, Berkeley (Haas)
|Northwestern University (Kellogg)
It is apparent from the table above that out of the top 10 schools to get an MBA from, 7 are American! The high ranking achieved by American MBA programmes can be attributed to the skilled and experienced faculty.
A prominent example is our very own, Raghuram Rajan, the ex-Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, who is currently a professor at the Chicago Booth School of Business!
Diversity and inclusion
Diversity is one of the major key points that makes the USA such an attractive place to study. For example, the chart below shows the number of international students as a proportion of the total enrolment in the MBA course at Harvard Business School in 2022.
Scholarship options from top business schools
As you can see, with over 35% of students representing international countries, students are able to intermingle and learn to put aside differences and work towards a unified experience.
Moreover, networking is an essential component of the business world, and hence studying within such diverse and culturally vibrant groups allows students to form connection which last for a lifetime.
Having discussed the key reasons that make the USA a stellar choice to pursue an MBA, let’s look at some of the scholarships for MBA offered by some of the top schools on the list we saw above.
While the list is certainly not exhaustive, it provides an insight into the general requirements and the extent to which these scholarships can cover tuition costs and different ways of paying your MBA tuition fees. Scholarships are broadly defined into two categories, they can be either merit-based or need-based, and the names themselves are explanatory!
|Wharton School of Business
||Emerging Economy Fellowships
Specifically, available for students from emerging economies in need of funding.
No application required, automatic consideration.
- First year student
- Academic excellence
- Leadership and personal qualities
|Social Impact Fellowships
||Awarded to aspirants to make a sound impact on their leadership and strategic qualities.
|Joseph Wharton Fellowships
||For excellence in academics or the professional field.
||Stanford GSB Fellowships
||Awarded on a need-based basis.
|Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship
||In partnership with Reliance Industries Limited, helps Indian students with their MBA degree, by funding upto 80% of their tuition costs. Upto 3 of these fellowships are awarded each year.
- Indian Students
- Fellows required to return to India within 2 years of their degree completion, and work for an Indian Organization.
- Academic excellence and financial need
||Full-funding scholarships to promote multicultural and diverse growth. For all Stanford Graduate degrees.
|Sloan School of Management
||Available to all, but awarded to at most 4 first-years.
- Academic excellence and professional capabilities
||Promote diversity and inclusivity, so offered to all students regardless of cultural background. Can be a free-ride as well.
|Harvard Business School
||Horace W. Goldsmith Fellowship
||Awarded to students taking up work in the non-profit sector. First-year students awarded a sum of $10000.
- Have worked in the non-profit sector full-time before submitting an application to HBS.
|HBS Fellowship Programmes
||Primarily need-based. Awarded liberally, with data showing that over 50% of the class receives approximately $32,000 per year through such schemes.
|Chicago Booth School of Business
||Merit Based Scholarships
||No formal application required for these, assessed on an application-by-application basis.
|Global Innovator Fellowships
||Primarily awarded to students who display a raw passion for innovation and making their impact in the business world.
|A.H. Tobaccowala Fellowship
||Awarded to students hailing from India.
- Students with a primary home in India.
|Ramakrishnan Family Scholarship
||Another scholarship award for Indian nationals
These scholarship options will surely lift a huge burden off your shoulders, however, even after finalising a university and a particular MBA programme, a successful application still has to be made. Here is some general advice on how to make sure that you make a cutting-edge application which will ensure that you get a sweet scholarship for your MBA studies!
It is important to get a good GMAT score. Make sure that you begin preparing well in advance and take help if needed from institutions which specialise in providing coaching for the GMAT or GRE. GMAT scores for top business schools’ range in 70-720 range, so you will have to work hard towards a respectable score. The table below outlines average scores for the top business schools in the USA.
|FT (Financial Times) Ranking
||Average GMAT Score
||Stanford Graduate School of Business
||600 to 790
||Harvard Business School
||601 to 800
||University of Pennsylvania: Wharton
||500 to 790
||University of Chicago: Booth
||610 to 790
||690 to 760
||Columbia Business School
||530 to 790
||UC Berkeley: Haas
||640 to 780
- Moreover, it is advisable to conduct thorough research of your target universities and course. This is because an MBA is like an investment, and you have to make sure you put your money in the right place.
- If it seems too overwhelming to do by yourself, why not enlist the services for a professional counsellor? Kanan International are one such company who have been consulting and counselling students for 25 years.
- Do not lie. Make sure that your application is truthful and honest, and that you have a credible storyline of your achievements and qualifications before your proposed MBA.
- Submit exceptional essays and interviews, and make sure that you have stellar recommendations. It makes a tonne of a difference when the application officer reads your application, if your essays are well-worded and sufficiently succinct!
While scholarships are a major way of funding MBA studies in the USA, there are other institutions and pathways that you can use to fund your education. These include Collateral-Free Education loans, which are availed under the Credit Guarantee Fund for Education Loans (CGFEL) Scheme.
You will have to check with your bank if they provide this facility. Banks and other non-banking institutions provide education loans as well, such as HDFC Credila, which is a subsidiary of the HDFC bank. A word of caution, these loans may require high amounts of paperwork and collateral.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding Scholarships for MBAs in the USA
Q. Which MBA programs provide the highest amount of Scholarships?
||% of Gross Tuition
|Harvard Business School
|New York (Stern)
These are rough estimates gathered from business school reports of the various schools. However, there are many free-ride scholarships attained as well, and this hugely varies on the quality of your application, and your need.
Q. How can I get a free MBA?
A. Getting a free-ride scholarship or any other form of funding which derives your MBA education virtually free of cost is very difficult. However, there do exist certain options such as your employer, if you are employed in a large firm, may offer to pay for your tuition fee.
Moreover, apart from the USA, many countries also offer free education for local students, look if you fit into one of those categories.
Q. Is an MBA worth it?
A. The article has highlighted the fact that attaining an MBA degree can turn out to be a very expensive ordeal, especially considering other costs such as costs of living for international students.
Therefore, to actually make your MBA worth it, it is imperative that you make the most of the time you spend studying for it. The MBA will equip you with a whole range of versatile skills, which will make you career-ready for a range of vocations and positions.
However, it is vital to understand that and MBA is only useful if you plan to work in a business or finance related field, or you plan to become an entrepreneur. And moreover, while you may have to take this with a pinch of salt, where you get your MBA from matters as well, due to the overcrowding of the number of MBA graduates in the business world.
Q. Are high GMAT scores guarantors for scholarships?
A. Most universities define high achieving as a necessary condition to attain a scholarship. And therefore, a high GMAT score may stand as assertion of your academic excellence and go a long way towards making sure that you are awarded a scholarship.
However, your GMAT score will not be the only deciding factor in your attainment of a scholarship. Most top-tier schools, like the ones listed above, already require a score between 720-730 for entrance in the school.
Therefore, to make you application competitive enough for a merit-based scholarship at any of these schools, it is imperative that you attain a score higher than the entrance requirement.
Q. MBA vs a master’s degree
A. While the MBA is a also a form of a Master’s degree, the main aspect that differentiates it from a similar Master’s degree, such as a Master’s in Finance, is its versatility and breadth. While the MBA is a rigorous programme which teaches a wide range of business skills, a Master’s programme will tend to be more specialized in a specific subject or niche.