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MBA Scholarships Are Helping These Indian Students Make An Impact

From solving a cultural crisis to launching a career in tech, MBA scholarships are giving these students the chance to use business as a force for good


Thu May 9 2019

A quick Google search for ‘Indian women forced to live with in-laws’ drops you in the middle of a socio-economic issue in India that chastises women on the sole basis of gender.

All over the page are headlines asking, ‘Is it fair to expect an Indian girl to live with her in-laws after marriage?’; ‘Does it make me a bad person if I refuse to live with my in-laws after marriage?’; and one stating, ‘Living with in-laws is not the law. And I am not a criminal if I breach it’.

The pertinence of this cultural issue is what drove Shreya Manjunath, who hails from India, to Yale School of Management and an MBA—she sought an education in social entrepreneurship that would allow her to develop her own venture to tackle the problem.

Shreya is able to pursue her ambitions at Yale with the help of an MBA scholarship—the school’s Global Leaders from India MBA Scholarship Program grants a minimum of half of tuition to standout Indian students with leadership potential. They can be granted up to $150,000 over two years.

A techie by trade—having worked previously incubating tech products in India—Shreya is showing the value of an MBA scholarship at business school to pursue one’s own specific career goals.

“It was a very important consideration given that studying at a US business school is expensive. It reduces the debt burden, and you can pay off your loans faster that you otherwise would have,” she explains.

How can an MBA help you achieve your career goals?

From a career perspective Shreya (pictured) says she’s seen an immediate impact—this summer she will undertake an MBA internship with Amazon.


Though she is looking to get into the tech space after graduating, she also expects to have her own venture set up and running before she leaves; it’s an issue deeply influenced by her upbringing in India.

Shreya explains that the process of forcing daughters-in-law to move in with their in-laws after marriage makes them more vulnerable to violence and mistreatment, reduces their position in the household hierarchy, and is economically damaging.

“The motivation is based on this experience of seeing members of my family go through hardship just because of their gender,” she states. “I want to address the issues, and I think tech is the best lever to have a social impact.”

Shreya is combining her education in social impact with cross-university courses available to all MBAs in the second year of their degree—she is currently taking courses in artificial intelligence and machine learning; she is also working closely with a sociology professor on a research project to aid her business. 

“If I was still working, I wouldn’t know if I’d have enough resources, guidance, time, or discipline to start my venture, but here it’s part of the curriculum,” she says.

What’s the value of an MBA scholarship?

For Siddharth Rao, another Indian student at Yale School of Management benefitting from an MBA scholarship, financial aid is of key importance for driving a diverse cohort.

“Scholarships play a very important role in facilitating and encouraging people from various backgrounds to take the leap and pursue an MBA,” he says.

“An MBA at a top global business school is a heavy investment by any measure, and the opportunity cost is multiple times steeper for international students like me.”

It enriches the MBA experience, he adds, when specifically, targeted scholarships open the door to business school for underrepresented communities.

How is the MBA scholarship helping me?

Before the MBA, Siddharth had seven years working in the agri-food consumer good business in India. An engineering graduate, he helped digitize a largely manual and distributed supply chain system at agri-business ITC Limited, and wants to use his MBA to transition fully into the tech industry. 

Being able to pursue an MBA at Yale School of Management is giving him the comprehensive business understanding he craved—he has also been able to expand his worldview, he says.

“Yale SoM’s integrated curriculum will equip me with the ability to think about a problem from different perspectives, and the toolkit needed to solve complex business problems.”

Siddharth adds that he is particularly excited about the Yale Center of Customer Insights Discovery Project, where he’s being given “invaluable” hands-on experience of applying behavioral science to solve real-world business problems for a corporate partner.

His career switch is also being catalyzed by Yale School of Management’s Design Thinking workshops, he says, and training sessions on SQL Tableau by the SoM’s Tech Club.