Scholarships for MBA Students: An Easy Guide

mba scholarships

Did you know that full-time tuition at the top MBA programs can cost $70,000 and above per year, while the most affordable MBA programs can cost between $8,250 and $12,342 for the two-year duration? So, if you’re asking, “Are there scholarships for MBA programs?” you’re taking a step in the right direction!

Types of Scholarships for MBA Students

You will find many scholarships, fellowships, and grants for MBA students, but you must commit to finding the best ones for you! You can start with these specific types of scholarships for MBA students exclusively.

Business School Fellowships and Scholarships

Many of the best business schools offer MBA scholarship programs known as fellowships. The main difference between a scholarship and a fellowship is their selection criteria. Fellowships are usually based on merit. Common examples are academic performance and potential. Meanwhile, scholarships are based on financial need.

Featured Programs

Here are examples of universities with fellowship and scholarship programs specifically for their MBA students.

  • The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill‘s Kenan-Flagler Business School awards MBA fellowships based on academic achievement, experience, and leadership potential. You can receive full tuition and fee coverage. There is also a $5,000 stipend in the Premier fellowship.
  • Columbia University, through its Columbia Business School, offers:
    • Perelman Scholarship Fund
    • Ela Lemelbaum Scholarship
    • Meyer Feldberg Distinguished Fellowship Program
  • The University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School offer:
    • Friends of Israel MBA Fellowship (two-year, full tuition)
    • Prism Fellowship (full tuition)
    • ROMBA LGBT+ Fellowship ($20,000 minimum/fellow)
  • Northwestern University offers:
    • Finance Fellows
    • Frederick C. Austin Scholarships
    • McGowan Fellows Program for Second-Year Students
  • Dartmouth College, through its Tuck School of Business, offers:
    • Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellowship
    • Forte Fellowship
    • Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA)

Always ask about the MBA program scholarships available in whatever college or university you want to be in for your graduate business studies. You don’t want to miss out on these opportunities!

External Scholarships

You will also find scholarships, fellowships, and grants from independent organizations. Many of these organizations offer MBA scholarships for specific populations. Some of these are for women, ethnic minorities, and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Here are a few examples that you can look into for starters.

Employer Sponsorship Programs

If you’re lucky, you will also find MBA scholarships for working professionals offered by your employer. Known as employer sponsorship programs, these programs usually involve a service obligation, full or partial tuition coverage, or a tuition reimbursement plan.

For example, you may be required to stay with your employer for three years after completing your MBA degree in exchange for full tuition coverage, known as a service obligation. Alternatively, you may also be reimbursed for the tuition and fees you’ve paid (tuition reimbursement) up to a certain percentage.

A few examples of corporations with MBA scholarship programs for their employees include:

  • Disney
  • IBM
  • UPS
  • AT&T
  • Boeing
  • Ford
  • Microsoft
  • Chevron
  • Dell
  • GE
  • Liberty Mutual

Veterans Benefits and Scholarships

If you’re an active service member, a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, or a qualified dependent of either of these types of individuals, you can qualify for an MBA scholarship in the USA, too.

Be sure to check out the official website of the Department of Veterans Affairs and its education and training benefits, including:

  • Yellow Ribbon program
  • Forever G.I. Bill benefits
  • Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits
  • Montgomery GI Bill benefits
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment
  • $4,750 Tuition Assistance (T.A.) Program
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEAP/REAP)

You should also look into the following programs:

  • Wells Fargo Veterans Scholarship Program
  • The American Warrior Association Scholarship

You may also qualify for federal aid programs for U.S. citizens who want to earn their MBA degrees in foreign countries. The Fulbright Business Grant and The Rhodes Scholarship are the best examples.

Tips to Increase Your Chances of Securing MBA Scholarships

You must put in the time, energy, and effort if you want to secure the best possible MBA scholarships that will pay for your tuition and fees, even for your living expenses.

Do your research.

You should look for graduate scholarships that MBA students can qualify for by reviewing their eligibility criteria, required documents, and application deadlines. We suggest these scholarship websites:

  • College Board
  • Fastweb
  • Scholarships.com
  • Peterson’s
  • ProFellow
  • Chegg
  • Cappex
  • UNIGO

Prepare and present a compelling scholarship application.

Merit-based and need-based scholarships, fellowships, and grants for MBA students are competitive. You must then prepare and present a persuasive application with the following elements: 

  • A professional resume demonstrating your upward growth as a professional
  • Academic transcripts with an exceptional GPA and rigorous coursework meeting the standards
  • A persuasive personal statement that demonstrates your suitability as a candidate
  • Strong letters of recommendation

You should highlight your personal and professional achievements because scholarship officers usually consider these traits first.

Apply early.

You don’t want to miss the application deadlines! You should have sufficient time to prepare and proofread the required documents, check their accuracy and completeness, and ensure that you’re following instructions to the letter.

Most importantly, you should always customize your scholarship applications! You want to demonstrate that. Indeed, you put in the time and effort to be familiar with the scholarship program’s specific selection criteria.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to get an MBA scholarship?

Yes, it is, but remember that these are competitive scholarships! You should meet the eligibility criteria, follow the instructions, and submit your applications on or before the deadlines, among other steps. In most of these MBA scholarship programs, applicants must demonstrate excellent academic performance and potential, meet need-based criteria, and show extensive work experience, too.

Does FAFSA give money for an MBA?

Yes, but these aren’t scholarships, grants, and fellowships that don’t have to be paid back! Instead, these are federal student loans that must be paid back. MBA students can apply for these federal loans by completing and submitting the FAFSA:

  • Grad PLUS Loan, which can cover the cost of attendance less the total financial aid
  • Federal direct unsubsidized loan, which has a $25,000 limit per year

Note that these federal loans for graduate students have higher interest rates than those for undergraduate students. You should borrow only what you need for your MBA education.

Can I get a 100% scholarship for an MBA in the USA?

Yes, you can! You should look into the business schools mentioned above and search for other business schools that offer full-ride scholarships. You must also combine several scholarships, fellowships, and grants from various organizations so that you can enjoy a tuition-free MBA education.

How do you get a 100% scholarship for a Harvard MBA?

Harvard Business School offers a 100% scholarship – $76,000 every year – that covers the total cost of tuition and course fees for students with the highest demonstrated financial need. Your application will be evaluated by the financial aid team using a standardized formula based on these factors:

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

While there’s no 100% guarantee, you should also demonstrate exceptional academic performance, extensive professional work experience, and leadership potential.