If you’re going back to business school, you’re probably also calculating how to pay for it.
Top business schools are blessed with large endowment funds. This means there is plenty of fellowship money flowing out to high-performing applicants. If affording business school is top of mind for you, know that with some diligence, you can position yourself in an ideal position for receiving offers from schools which include fellowship funds.
For starters, it’s important to get the nomenclature down.
Typically at the graduate school level, scholarships are called fellowships. It’s more common for the term “scholarship” to apply to undergraduate grants. Still, some MBA programs might call their offers “scholarships,” but you might try searching for the term “fellowships” if you are having trouble finding information on the internet.
MBA fellowships have become much more common in the current era of graduate business school applications. The arms-race for top students has propelled top schools into a highly competitive market where everyone is trying to out-offer each other when it comes to providing fellowship funds for their most competitive applicants.
Even marginally-competitive applicants are being offered money, however.
It’s actually pretty unusual for applicants to well-known MBA programs to not have some kind of fellowship offer. The key to all of these offers, however is to apply early. Typically, schools will award 80% of their fellowship pool of funds in the first and second round. The most competitive schools will save back about 20% for rounds three and beyond, but because many schools are in a use-it-or-lose-it situation with awarding funds, they definitely have everything allocated by the time their final rounds are complete.
Suffice it to say that in order to be most competitive for money offers means you should apply early and apply to several schools.
The good news is, you can sometimes even use one school’s offer to leverage a better offer from somewhere else. As the old saying goes, everything is negotiable.