Partner Sites


Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

MBA Scholarships Are Bountiful—Here’s How To Win One

Some savvy students are even negotiating their own financial aid packages

Tue Oct 23 2018

BusinessBecause
Tory Paez would not have gone to business school without scholarships. 

Having served in the US Peace Corps as a community economic development advisor on a rural island in Costa Rica, she received a minimal stipend as a salary. That put her desired MBA program at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, with its $58,500 tuition fees, out of reach.

“I knew I couldn’t afford to put myself in a financially compromising position for my entire career,” Tory says. Her scholarships from Georgetown cover the full tuition fees. In order to pay for extra costs, such as living expenses, she works a part-time job and uses personal savings.

But the scholarships have given her the freedom to pursue a business education and a career in the social impact sector, where compensation is not comparable to more traditional MBA career paths, such as consulting.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity my scholarships have awarded me. I would not have been able to pursue my career aspirations in the same way without them,” says Tory.

Studying for an MBA is a huge financial investment, but to alleviate some of the pressure, there are an increasing number of business school scholarships on offer. 

According to GMAC data, 61% of this year’s students are receiving scholarships. That is up from 41% in 2014. Competition for the best candidates has been the driver, according to admissions consultants.

Some scholarships are awarded based on financial need, diversifying business schools with candidates who cannot afford the fees. Other scholarships are awarded based on merit, such as standardized test scores, undergraduate performance, success in the interview, years and quality of work experience.

At ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business, scholarships are available to every full-time MBA student who is admitted. The school’s ‘Scholarships For All’ initiative was launched in 2016 to attract students from non-traditional backgrounds to pursue the MBA, prompting a boom in applications and a more diverse class.

NEOMA Business School of France offers six different categories of merit-based scholarships each worth €8,000 ($9,200) for EMBA students. Although financial need is taken into account, the scholarships were created to attract certain profiles of students, such as entrepreneurs, innovators or people with experience in developing markets, says Leila Murat, director of the MBA programs business unit.  

It’s important to apply early, she says. “We have a first-come, first-serve policy. And most schools begin the admissions cycle with a certain allotment of scholarship money which runs out towards the end of the cycle. Thus, the earlier you apply, the better your chances.”


shelly-mcdonough

Shelly Heinrich, associate dean for MBA admissions at Georgetown, says applicants need to prove their worth


Tory believes she was successful because of thorough preparation and her past work experience. “I conducted informational interviews with connections in my network, as well as with current students, to understand the options available and how to best position myself for success,” she says.

So bountiful is financial aid that some savvy students are negotiating their own customized packages, pitting one offer against another before accepting an MBA place. A successful negotiation requires “extreme tact”, according to Esther Magna, principal at admissions advisory firm Stacy Blackman Consulting (SBC).

One of her clients, a male finance applicant, was admitted to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with scholarships to both. 

Preferring Booth, he sent a letter to the school affirming interest but acknowledging that Kellogg had offered more money. The following week, Booth increased the offer to $10,000 more than Kellogg’s. He opted for Booth.

Between 20-to-25% of SBC clients receive scholarship packages ranging between $2,000 to full-ride offers valued at $200,000. The collective amount received by clients each year is between $2-to-2.5 million.

“The negotiation leverage is best when the candidate’s original application is optimal quality, as any negotiation efforts will always be tied to the strength of the profile and not predicted merely by the way a candidate asks for money,” says Esther.

Shelly Heinrich, associate dean for MBA admissions at Georgetown, advises that candidates do not come back asking for more scholarship dollars unless something has drastically changed about their application since submission—for example if they increased their standardized test score or received a promotion at work.

She says the admissions interview can really make or break someone’s candidacy. “In a positive way, if they do an above-average interview, they could be the person that an admissions committee member fights for in conversations about scholarship awards,” says Shelly.

“Conversely, they could have the best stats on paper, but really not wow us in the interview or convince us that they know Georgetown McDonough is the right fit for them.” 

Student Reviews

Georgetown: McDonough School of Business

Yegana

Verified

1/11/2023

Online

GWU - excellent investment for future

George Washington University is a good respected institution with strong programs in various studies, including project management, international affairs, politics, medicine and etc. The university provides students with good opportunities for internships and networking. GWU has a diverse student body and a reputation for academic excellence.

David

Verified

18/08/2023

On Campus

Safety on campus

I have had an amazing experience at Georgetown University. The classes are enjoyable, the professors are exceptional, and I feel like I am receiving a worthwhile education. The people and faculty at this institution are extraordinary, and I have discovered my true self while being here. Additionally, I always feel secure on campus, as it is the safest place in town.

Daniella

Verified

4/04/2023

On Campus

Georgetown is on top!

I've been enjoying this school so far. I wouldn't alter it, despite the fact that the school is on a hill and that it requires a lot of walking to get around it. For minority and first-generation students, there are a ton of services available. Even though the usual dorm rooms are modest, there is still plenty of area for storage. We have a ton of alternatives every day in the dining halls since they provide so many different dishes from so many different cultures

Student

Verified

1/03/2023

On Campus

Physical and mental health

Georgetown is my second home. The pre-professional counselors are incredibly helpful, and I feel supported and inspired to pursue my aspirations. We are certainly ranked as the top research university in the nation. They place a high priority on the development of the students as well as their physical and mental well-being.

Student

Verified

1/03/2023

On Campus

Wonderful university

Georgetown University is wonderful. The school's amazing diversity is one of its greatest strengths. The athletes are extremely committed to their sport, and the campus is amazing. The dorms are excellent! They are comfortable and spacious. If you ever find yourself bored on campus, you can always go off campus; it's fantastic. You'll never get bored dining in the cafeteria because the food is so delicious on campus.

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Academics

The university's academics are what really set it apart; the lecturers are kind and motivating. Although it can be challenging to connect with the majority of students because they are so intense and competitive, social life and student life are what you make of them. It is undoubtedly a very difficult four years that are challenging to get through. But in the end, it strengthens you and provides you with a wealth of knowledge and incredible prospects.

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Fantastic university

Georgetown university is a Fantastic university. The professors are outstanding, there are lots of ways to participate in campus life, and there are numerous groups and organizations where students can get involved. The campus is lovely and always kept clean, and there are people are willing to assist you 24 hours a day whenever you need help.

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Review of Georgetown university

Being at Georgetown university has been one of my best experiences. The Professors are knowledgeable, approachable, and very helpful. You will fall in love with Georgetown because of its daily activities, the vibrant students you will encounter, the food served on campus, and the lush surroundings. The housing and dorms are fantastic. There is no better place than Georgetown University if you’re looking to study, discover new things, make lifelong friends, and have fun!

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Academically challenging institution

Georgetown University is certainly an academically challenging institution, however, if you ask for assistance when you need it, the workload can be managed. Students are happy to assist one another, and most Professor want you to succeed. Student life is vibrant, the location is excellent and everyone here is friendly and welcoming.

Student

Verified

7/02/2024

On Campus

4 Years as an Expat at Georgetown University

Georgetown University provided an exceptional environment for my academic journey as an expat from Italy. As someone who initially felt apprehensive about moving to a new country, Georgetown quickly alleviated my concerns and made my transition incredibly smooth. One of the standout features of Georgetown is its diverse and welcoming community, particularly for international students. The campus is teeming with students from various corners of the globe, fostering a rich cultural tapestry that made me feel right at home. The vibrant campus life and numerous extracurricular activities offered ample opportunities to connect with fellow students, ensuring a well-rounded and fulfilling university experience. Georgetown's unique setting within the heart of Washington, DC, adds another layer to its charm. While the university is situated in the bustling city, the campus in the historic area of Georgetown provides a distinct and almost intimate atmosphere. This blend creates a truly unique feel and contributes to an unforgettable educational experience. Initially enrolled in the College with a desire to major in Linguistics and minor in Art & Journalism, I appreciated the flexibility and openness of the Georgetown education system. After my freshman year, I discovered my true passion lay in Marketing and International Business. The university's seamless transfer process allowed me to transition to the McDonough Business School, where I found the perfect fit for my academic aspirations. Georgetown's commitment to helping students explore and find their academic niche is indeed one of its most commendable qualities. The ability to explore various subjects before settling on a major is a testament to the university's dedication to fostering individual growth and success. The journey from Linguistics to Marketing & International Business exemplifies the beauty of a Georgetown education — a dynamic and supportive environment where students can discover and pursue their true passions. In conclusion, Georgetown University provided not only a top-notch academic education but also a transformative and enriching experience. From the welcoming international community to the unique campus setting and the flexibility to explore diverse academic paths, Georgetown stands out as a beacon of higher education that truly caters to the individual journey of each student.

RECAPTHA :

8c

4c

04

9d