When you are looking for possible sources of funding for your MBA (Masters in Business Administration) program, the best approach is to leave no stone unturned, including researching MBA scholarships. Making the decision to apply to an MBA program has the potential to propel your career to a very lucrative level. MBA grads will see their income increase substantially, especially if they concentrate in a particular field. Pursuing this degree is a major commitment of time and money and any help you can get to cover the cost is going to make the process a little easier. You’re already convinced that obtaining this degree is the way to make your fortune, but now you have to find a way to pay for it.
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The good news for prospective MBA students is that MBA loans are not the only way to finance the degree. There are also scholarships available. Since these funds are available as a gift to students who have been found worthy to receive the financial help, you don’t need to pay them back. The exact criteria that each donor of MBA scholarships considers when determining who should get the help varies, and it’s a good idea to apply for multiple MBA scholarships to increase your chances of getting free money to help pay for your education.
Going online can help you find potential sources of funding, but you should be prepared to use other means to uncover potential MBA scholarships. National MBA scholarships will have the most competition for available funds and it’s probably not the best choice to rely solely on them as a funding source.
MBA Scholarships Offered Through the University
There are a couple of basic types of MBA scholarships for students. School-based scholarships are offered through a university and you can find out about your options by contacting the Financial Aid Office of the universities you have applied to. The Office should be able to provide you with a list of MBA scholarships, criteria for consideration and application deadlines.
There’s another good reason to contact the Financial Aid Office at the university, too. The staff there should be able to direct you to outside scholarships available to students enrolled in its MBA degree program. These are sources of funding available to students at a particular institution but made available by other organizations or individual sponsors, and may include MBA scholarships for students in the following circumstances:
- New MBA program students enrolling at the university
- Gay or Lesbian MBA students
- International MBA students
- Minority MBA students
- Returning MBA program students
- Women MBA students
Scholarship money for MBA students may also be available to people who are concentrating their studies in a particular area, such as Marketing or Finance. You may also be able to quality for a school-based scholarship based on demonstrated financial need or achieving a high score on the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test).
Other Sources of MBA Scholarships
There are a number of other sources of MBA scholarship funds. Consider approaching a professional association to see whether it offers this type of assistance to students. You may be required to become a member before you will get any money, so be sure the ones you are considering reflect your personal interests and values.
If a parent or other close relative is a member of an organization, you may be considered for a scholarship based on this relationship. When you are looking at sources of funding, don’t discount ones which are slightly outside your immediate realm of contacts.
A past employer or a local business may be willing to provide some funding toward the cost of your MBA. If you have worked for a large corporation, it may have a scholarship program already in place. Contact the Human Resources Department to find out when and how to apply.
Service clubs and religious organizations are another potential source of MBA scholarships. If you or a parent are or have been a member, this fact can help you get the money you need to go to school.
By approaching companies and organizations directly, you may have a better chance of getting an MBA scholarship, simply because you have less competition for available funding. The best strategy is to do your homework to discover available MBA scholarships and apply for the ones where you fit the criteria necessary to be considered.
Application Tips for MBA Scholarships
When you do find an MBA scholarship you would like to be considered for, take the time to read over the application instructions carefully. Follow them to the letter. If, for example, the instructions say that your application must be postmarked after a certain date, then don’t think that you will be able to jump to the front of the line by applying early. That kind of strategy will only result in your application being trashed and you will have no chance of receiving one of these particular MBA scholarships.