If you’re planning on starting your MBA in the fall – regardless of whether you know where you will be attending yet or not – you may want to start doing some legwork to find sources of funding. (We talk about this topic and many others in greater depth in our Accepted Student’s Pre-MBA Guide.)
As you know, the MBA is seriously expensive, and most students end up taking out sizable loans. There are sources of funding in the form of fellowships and awards available to select admits through the admissions and financial process, and there are also many other outside-of-school opportunities to get help with your grad school education.
In our experience, it requires some internet sleuthing and stamina to track down such off-campus awards, and that might be worth your time, especially if you find yourself with few projects to keep you busy once you have your interviews behind you. Many schools post the various fellowship awards available to their students on their financial aid pages, and in most cases, you’ll automatically be considered for those that you qualify for. In other cases, such as with Darden, there’s an additional essay to write to put your hat in the ring for consideration, and many of you already wrote that essay when you submitted the application.
Did you know that a lot of other off-campus scholarships are awarded through essay competitions?
Some scholarship applications are incredibly onerous and may not actually be worth the time and effort to apply to. Some of them require submission of additional reference letters AND an essay, and the scholarship award is only $500 or $1,000. For off-the-beaten-track scholarship awards that get very few applicants, then sure, that might be worth it — but hitting up your recommenders to write another set of letters may not be something you have much stomach for now.
The MBA has tremendous ROI, even if you end up paying full freight, but obviously it would be nice if you got some financial help to soften the blow. It can be especially tough to go from a full-time salary and a nice lifestyle to the life of a student overnight.
Preparing for that now — and even putting in some work towards the effort, like hey, writing some essays for scholarship apps!! That could be time well spent.
And oh yeah: Regardless of whether you write essays to apply for some scholarship awards, there may be other opportunities within the MBA program where an essay is a required part of the process. Many programs and initiatives that are offered by the schools are by-application, meaning you need to be selected in order to participate. Some of these ask you to write an essay for why you want to take advantage of the thing. Yes, more essays more be in your future!! But you’ll be in such a good position, going into those projects, knowing you learned how to write them way back when when you worked your tail off in those apps that you completed this year.
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