Luckily, there are many types of MBA scholarships out there. Whether you are an ethnic minority, a member of the LGBTQ+, or top of your class, there are programs all over the world that can give you full or partial funding—including those offered by the business schools themselves.
Even if money isn’t a concern, there are still plenty of reasons as to why you should consider putting your name in. From increased networking opportunities to the chance to work with industry professionals, being awarded a scholarship reaps more benefits than just the financing.
1. Exclusive networking
One of the greatest parts of being accepted into a scholarship program is being granted access to a network of other likeminded professionals and students.
Whether it’s being informed of new job opportunities or simply having others to bounce ideas off, being part of a group can make a massive difference to your future career.
For example, the Forté Foundation Fellowship provides numerous global platforms where its members, who are mostly female, can connect. You can either attend online workshops, join MBA forums or engage in leadership conferences headed by top industry professionals to make new contacts and develop relationships.
2. Improving your MBA resume
Aside from the practical benefits of a scholarship, being able to simply write it down on can open a multitude of doors.
Particularly for those who apply for scholarships based on merit, being awarded one is a major plus to potential employers. Most scholarships are highly competitive. Obtaining one proves that you not only possess natural skill, but the hard work and the determination needed to turn your abilities into a company asset.
3. More time to focus on your MBA studies
Easing the financial burden of paying for an MBA can also mean more time to focus on the course itself. Instead of spending your evenings working part-time, you can commit to catching up on course reading, watching seminars or developing your own projects.
4. More time for extracurricular activities
Another advantage to landing an MBA scholarship is the increased freedom it gives you to factor socializing and other extracurricular activities into your budget. Often some of the most valuable experiences that an MBA offers are the chance to go on trips, attend events, and to get to know your fellow candidates.
“It's important to remember that the MBA program extends beyond the classroom academics and outside experiences are a huge part of it,” says Priyal Keni, an MBA student at London Business School.
For Priyal, being awarded both the Laidlaw Women's Leadership Fund scholarship and the Forté Foundation scholarship has provided the financial flexibility she needs to invest in her business relationships, which even includes covering expenses for coffee chats.
5. Professional mentors
Some scholarship programs also provide students with access to professional mentors. Typically, these will be people with industry experience who can provide you with one-on-one support and guidance throughout your degree.
The Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) scholarship is open to self-identifying LGBTQ+ candidates and provides an online platform through which its members can connect with a variety of mentors.
6. Global exposure
Many scholarships have alumni spread out all over the world, who will likely hold positions in all kinds of industries. If your aim is to move country, or even city, having geographically varied connections is a massive plus.
These connections can be made by attending online workshops or reaching out to other scholarship members across social media.
7. Increased Confidence
One of the most important benefits of a scholarship is the opportunity it gives you to develop your confidence in other subjects.
“I have the chance to consider jobs in areas I wasn’t even thinking about before,” says Maria Kukhlaev, who graduated from the MBA program at POLIMI Graduate School of Business with the help of the MIP4Women scholarship.
Having the financial backing of the scholarship meant that Maria could focus on learning new digital skills, giving her the push needed to change her career path.
8. Pursuing your passions
Even for those who are able to fund their own MBA journey, the looming reality of loan repayments often pushes people into sectors that they don’t necessarily enjoy.
This might result in some grads entering tech and consulting because of the higher salaries, despite their passions lying in entrepreneurship or traditionally lower-paying industries such as social and economic development.
Heta Jangla is an INSEAD MBA graduate who currently works her dream job as a social investment professional in India. She reveals that without scholarship funding, this may not have been the case.
“The kinds of scholarships that INSEAD provide could be a big factor in people pursuing this kind of career,” Heta says. “It’s something a lot of people are interested in but aren’t really able to [pursue], given the modalities in the way the sector works.”
So, when you’re searching for MBA scholarships to fund your degree, keep in mind that the benefits you can reap go far beyond financial gain.
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