Early Career

How to Pay for the MBA: Positioning for Business School Scholarships

You already know the MBA admissions process requires determination, dedication and hard work. Harness that momentum as you tackle another important aspect of business school success: paying for it all.

Scholarship offers that arrive concurrent to your MBA admit from the program directly is the best way to defray tuition cost.  Fierce competition for these fellowship/ scholarship dollars means you’ll benefit greatly from having the time to build a strong pitch for why you deserve a coveted spot in the program.

That pitch needs to be clear and compelling enough that is met with both admit outcome and scholarship generosity, which is the gold standard that we seek for many our clients.

How to Build a Strong MBA Scholarship Pitch

Across many hundreds of scholarship awards, we have identified the three step secret sauce for maximizing scholarship dollars. The key is to know your own niche relative to the applicant cohort in which you’re competing.

  • Define the industry in which you are competing; identify industry strengths and vulnerabilities.
  • Identify the ways you are unusual relative to your industry applicant pool. Find an angle that is current and engaging, as well as authentically aligned with your identity and passions.
  • Showcase strengths through an overarching framework. Highlight your differentiating treasures throughout every application element.

Negotiating MBA Merit Scholarships

Did you know that you can try to negotiate merit scholarships? If you received drastically different scholarship amounts for two or more programs, or received a financial award for one school but nothing for another, why not contact the admissions committee and explain your difficult decision?

The situation requires extreme tact; you should not name the competing institution, share your offer letter, or make demands. Simply reach out to the admissions office, reiterate your sincere interest in attending their program, and then ask if it’s possible to be considered for a higher scholarship amount (or any scholarship amount) because you now have another offer of acceptance and financial incentive to consider.

This is one of those rare situations in life where—if handled professionally—you really have nothing to lose.

Make It Happen

Your application quality on its own can invoke a windfall of scholarship dollars. Diligence and strategic planning in developing your pitch for your MBA applications pays off.

Stacy Blackman Consulting is a proud supporter of Forté MBALaunch and has jointly helped numerous women gain admission and receive major scholarships to attend the business schools of their dreams. We want you to be a success story like our recent Forté clients. Outcomes can be:

  • Four admits to top MBA programs with 2 significant scholarship awards, covering 67% and 100% of tuition
  • 2 admits to top MBA programs with significant scholarship awards


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