Business Schools






        Revealed: How To Find The Best Scholarships For International MBAs In America

        Many foreign applicants feel priced out of the best programs, but Chioma Isiadinso says otherwise

        Return on investment is usually the first thing applicants consider when deciding on an MBA program.

        ROIs can be huge, with many MBA graduates from top schools pulling in salaries of well over $100,000 per year. However, there's no denying that the up-front costs are steep, especially for international students.

        Tuition at many top business schools can set students back over $60,000 per year – and that's before you factor in living costs, books and supplies, among other expenses. International students have additional travel expenses to consider, along with passport and visa costs that American students don't have to worry about.

        However, the outlook for international students in America is rosier than it may seem. In addition to MBA funding options for non-US citizens, many schools offer loans and fellowships specifically for international students. Here's where you should look when searching for these:

        Business School Websites

        The best business schools truly value variety. They know that bringing in students with new ideas and global perspectives can lead to an improved MBA experience for all, as well as a diverse alumni network.

        You should always look at what the schools you’re already applying to have to offer. They'll have a lot of information about financing options for international students. For example:

        Stanford Graduate School of Business offers need-based fellowships which are available to all MBA candidates, irrespective of their country of origin or citizenship status. Award size can vary depending on the specific financial needs of the student.

        Stanford also offers two country specific fellowships that cover the full cost of tuition and program fees:

        Their Africa MBA Fellowship covers all tuition fees for eight candidates who are African citizens. Recipients “are required to return to Africa to work for at least two years in a professional role that contributes to the continent's development” within two years of graduation.

        Stanford’s Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship is awarded to up to five Indian candidates on the basis of merit and commitment to India as well as financial need. Recipients “are required to return to India for a period of at least two years to work for an Indian organization” within two years of graduation.

        Harvard Business School also offers need-based fellowships available to all students. Additionally, they offer several external scholarship options for international students:

        British citizens are eligible for the Fulbright Scholarship from the British Friends of Harvard Business School, which awards $45,000 to up to five students who complete the rigorous application process. The Sainsbury Management Fellowship Scheme is also available to UK students with an engineering background, and allocates £300,000 to ten students each year.

        Spanish candidates can apply for a scholarship from the Eduarda Justo Foundation, which covers their Harvard tuition in full, offering an additional stipend for travel and living costs.

        The Instituto Ling Scholarship Program and the Fundação Estudar are merit-based scholarships available to varying amounts of Brazilian students with entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

        Students from Sub-Saharan Africa may apply for Harvard’s Olam International Africa Graduate Scholarship, which awards $58,000 over two years to two students. Nigerian students are also eligible for the 7UP Harvard Business School Scholarship, which covers all tuition costs for the two-year MBA program, plus travel and living expenses.

        Students from France, Germany, Mexico, Lebanon, and Japan are eligible for various scholarships at Harvard, and Harvard also provide information about scholarships for LGBT students, women, New Americans, and more.

        Stanford and Harvard are far from the only American business schools offering financial aid to international students. Whether you're headed to NYU Stern or Tuck School of Business, the first place to start your scholarship search is with the school itself.

        Scholarship Search Websites

        Only once you've exhausted the scholarship options from your target schools should you start looking at scholarship search websites. While there are certainly some great sites out there, digging through them can be time-consuming, and the scholarships they offer tend to have more competition for smaller financial reward.

        Here are some to get started with:

        American Association of University Women

        Aga Khan Foundation

        Joint Japan World Bank Scholarship


        Financing an MBA can be a daunting prospect for any student, but like every other part of the business school application process, it's a hurdle that can be overcome with research, dedication, and diligence. 

        Chioma Isiadinso is an education entrepreneur and co-founder/CEO of EXPARTUS, the first MBA admissions consulting firm to integrate personal branding into every aspect of the MBA admissions process.

        She's also a former Harvard Business School admissions officer and the author of the Best Business Schools' Admissions Secrets.

        Chioma publishes on the topics of personal branding, leadership development and business school admissions for college students, young professionals, entrepreneurs and executives.