An MBA degree is one of the biggest financial investment you might make in your career. However, though expensive, the returns are way bigger, and an MBA can prove to be extremely fruitful for your career.  Therefore, students who plan to go for an international B-school opt for multiple options to fund their MBA degree, the most common one being scholarship-friendly MBA schools.

While students depend upon multiple funding options, such as their personal savings, financial help from parents, or education loans, some also apply for scholarships. The good news is, business schools offer millions of dollars of scholarships each year. This article will discuss the different types of scholarships available to students going for an MBA degree and the top 10 scholarship-friendly MBA schools. Let’s discuss them –

Different Types of MBA Scholarships

In general, scholarships for MBA Schools fall into two categories – merit-based and need-based. However, B-schools and financial organizations provide different scholarships to their students, depending upon multiple criteria. Following are the different types of scholarships/financial aid that is offered to students at business schools –

  • Merit-based scholarships
  • Need-based scholarships
  • Diversity/Gender-based scholarships
  • External scholarships

Merit-based Scholarship

As is clear from the name, Merit-based scholarship is offered to students who come with academic excellence, a remarkable undergraduate GPA, an exceptional GMAT score, leadership experience, or an outstanding professional career. Community service, athletic background, and other social initiatives also play a role in helping students qualify for a merit-based scholarship.

Need-based Scholarship

Need-based scholarships are offered to students based on their need for financial aid. For a student to qualify for a need-based scholarship, his income in the past three years, financial contribution from parents and family, family’s assets, and other funding sources are considered. Students from specific backgrounds and those who are genuinely unable to meet the expenses of an international MBA but have received admission from the school are offered either a partial or full-tuition fellowship.

Diversity or Gender-based Scholarship

Many top business schools over the globe prefer to have a diverse class of students on campus. To ensure that candidates from diverse backgrounds get equal opportunities to seek admission in these schools, Diversity/Gender-based scholarships are offered.

External MBA Scholarships

Apart from the three types of scholarships discussed above, certain organizations that hire MBA graduates also offer scholarships to MBA students. Not only do these scholarships offer financial aid to students, but they also provide access to networks and recruiting resources.

Top 10 International MBA schools that are Scholarship- Friendly

Below is the list of the top 10 MBA programs for scholarships based on the variety of scholarships offered and the support extended to students in finding the needed support:

Harvard Business School, USA

A scholarship-friendly MBA School is Harvard Business School

Out of all the MBA students at Harvard Business School, at least 50% of the students receive financial assistance. Out of the top 25 B-schools, HBS has the largest financial aid package. Harvard Business School provides need-based awards to its students in the form of scholarships and fellowships up to $5000, full tuition, as well as monthly stipends.  The financial aid team also helps arrange loans to cover tuition and living, travel, and other expenses.

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Wharton Business School, USA

Wharton offers a scholarship friendly MBA School for several applicants

At Wharton, all admitted students are considered for financial aid. Having a broad range of fellowships to offer, the Wharton school committee considers students’ personal qualities, achievements, background, and role in creating a social impact and overall community involvement. They have six different fellowships to offer to their students and around 19 different companies and foundations that provide fellowships to students at Wharton.

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Stanford Graduate School of Business, California

Another scholarship-friendly MBA School is Stanford Business School.

Stanford is one of those schools that offer very generous scholarships to help their MBA students fund their business degree. Most of these scholarships are need-based and are only offered to students once they are admitted. These need-based scholarships consider the student’s contribution to the fee depending upon their financial capability, then calculate the difference between the cost of attendance and the student contribution, which is then funded with the help of scholarships and other financial aid such as loans.

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Duke Fuqua School of Business, North Carolina

DUKE FUQUA - one of the top 10 scholarship friendly MBA schools

Like at Wharton, every student admitted at Duke Fuqua School of Business is also considered for a scholarship, primarily based on merit. These scholarships can either be partial or full-tuition for the entire two year MBA program. Since it is a merit-based scholarship, to qualify the student’s academic achievement, leadership qualities, professional accomplishments, and extra-curricular and social initiatives play a key role. The school also offers 100 per cent tuition to exceptional students.

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INSEAD, Europe 


INSEAD has some of the most sought-after scholarships to offer. This scholarship-friendly MBA school offers around 50 different scholarships, both merit and non-merit based, thereby witnessing significant competition from students worldwide. While for need-based scholarships, the students need to demonstrate their need for financial help. To qualify for a merit-based scholarship, schools consider a student’s merit, nationality, professional accomplishments, leadership qualities, gender, etc.

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London Business School, UK

London Business School

LBS has a variety of scholarships to offer, ranging from merit-based to need-based scholarships. The scholarship is available to candidates who can apply successfully in Stage 1, 2, and 3 of the application process. These scholarships are open to all students. Some scholarships are specific for women and students from different nationalities (such as Africans, Americans, Australians, British Canadians, Latin Americans, Chinese). These scholarships can either be full fee awards or one-time.

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Kellogg School of Management, Illinois

Kellogg School of Management

Kellogg offers around 14 scholarships to students based on their academic excellence, leadership qualities, and initiatives in creating a social impact. Apart from that, Kellogg also offers five diversity scholarships. Students who are US residents and in need of financial aid can also apply for a need-based scholarship. In the second year of the program, the school offers three more types of scholarships.

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Warwick School of Business

Warwick Business School (1)

Warwick School of Business does not just recognize students for their academic excellence and professional accomplishments. Instead, the school offers several scholarships to promote geographic and gender diversity as well. However, the Warwick Business School scholarships are highly competitive. Therefore, a strong academic background, high GMAT score, and a strong profile are important to qualify.

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SDA Bocconi 


SDA Bocconi offers several different scholarships to their students after the program begins. Not only the school, there are many companies, consultancy firms, and other financial organizations also offer financial aid to the school in one way or the other. Students from Europe, outside Europe, North and South America, Asia, Italy, Africa, and more can seek full and partial waivers from the school. Women seeking to apply to the SDA Bocconi’s full-time MBA program can also obtain partial scholarships.

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Also Read: How Important is Your GMAT Score in MBA Scholarship? 

Said Business School, UK

SAID Business School

Oxford University’s Said Business School has many scholarships to offer. Applicants passing the eligibility criteria can apply for scholarships offered by the business school. Some of the fellowships available at Said Business School are – the Forte Foundation Fellowships, Alumni Annual Fund Scholarship, and Said Business School Foundation Scholarship. It is obligatory for a student to submit a scholarship essay to qualify for some of these scholarships.

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Wrapping Up

There are several ways to apply for scholarships at scholarship-friendly MBA schools. The majority of schools automatically consider applicants for scholarships once they apply. In contrast, certain other MBA programs require the student to apply separately for scholarships and submit an additional application along with an essay to qualify. The best way to start with your scholarship research is to check out your target school’s website and find firsthand information about what the school has to offer.

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