Scholarships up the ante in fight for top MBA students...

First, as a teenager, she emigrated from Zimbabwe, which at the time was plagued by economic undertainty and instability, to Germany, where she completed her undergraduate studies. Her African roots provided her with a second piece of good fortune for business school, since they qualified her for a full scholarship under the Kofi Annan Fellowship programme, named after the former UN director-general. This bursary covered the €25,000 fees for her masters in management at Berlin’s European School of Management and Technology (ESMT), plus money to cover food and rent. Ms Ndlovu insists she did not choose the school for the scholarship. But she cannot deny that securing financial aid has made studying a comfortable experience — even more than her undergraduate existence, when she had to work part-time to pay her living costs. “I feel the difference now a lot because I know the pressure you have to fund your own studies,” she says. “It is pretty excellent.” Scholarships have traditionally been seen as a way of enabling those who would otherwise struggle to get a postgraduate education to achieve their dream. It is why alumni are often more willing to give to support financial aid rather than a new campus building. However, business school endowment strategies are increasingly being driven by the use of financial aid as a carrot to lure the most promising students rather than to enable access to education for the most needy. Sarah Brown, a former financial consultant from San Francisco, received substantial offers from Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Ms Brown, who asked for her real name not to be used in this piece, admits the generous scholarship offered to her by Wharton, more or...

How to Get an MBA Scholarship

Some tips on how to increase your chances for getting more money A big question on the mind of many an MBA applicant: “How do I get a scholarship?” “It’s a question that everybody asks,” says Garry Cooke, assistant dean for student recruitment at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Business Administration (UIC). Indeed, an MBA is expensive, and when you include living expenses and the opportunity cost of taking a year or two off from work, the grand total for getting the degree might seem astronomical. Fortunately for many cash-strapped applicants, many business schools tend to award scholarships to promising MBA applicants. This year, for instance, China’s CEIBS awarded around 12 million yuan (around 1.85 million USD) in merit scholarships, which was distributed to some 80 students, covering between 20 to 80 percent of tuition costs for each recipient. At NYU’s Stern School of Business, around 20 percent of all admitted students receive merit-based scholarships, the majority of which are awards for either full tuition or half tuition. Merit scholarships are just that: they’re given out based on how well an applicant has done, often in past academic and work endeavors. “These are awarded based on applicants’ academic and professional achievements, personal accomplishments, interview performance and potential contributions” to the MBA class, according to Yvonne Li, the director of admissions and career services at CEIBS. How do business schools make these decisions? In terms of potential contributions to an MBA class, “work experience is very important,” says Christine Cordt, MBA marketing manager at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, since a student with a strong background will be able to bring a lot to the table during class discussions. Additionally, according to Cordt, when awarding...