FAQ: Are There Scholarships for MBA Programs? (Types and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 8, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Advancing your career through an MBA program requires a large financial commitment. Many organizations and educational institutions offer resources and awards to help professionals offset the cost of graduate education. Learning more about the types of scholarships available to MBA students can help you plan your future. In this article, we explain the purpose of MBA programs, share details about scholarship opportunities, offer tips and provide a list of jobs where an MBA can benefit your professional goals.

What is an MBA?

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate degree program focused on business management theory and application. MBA degrees give professionals the training to advance their careers in roles related to business and finance. Professionals often choose to earn an MBA to improve their opportunities for leadership roles after completing a bachelor's degree in a related field.

MBA programs offer structured coursework fit for individuals with experience in the field or in another professional capacity, such as law. Classes feature real-world applications and practice through extensive research and case studies of current business practices and market trends. Many MBA students attend school while working in a business-focused role, completing degree programs with flexible hours, remote learning opportunities and accelerated course schedules.

Read more: MBA Degrees: What They Are and Why You Should Earn Yours

Are there scholarships for MBA programs?

Many MBA programs provide scholarships for students as they pursue graduate studies. Most scholarships require extensive applications to vet candidates based on their needs, future goals, socioeconomic status and other selected qualifications related to the school and scholarship fund. Scholarships also vary in the amount they provide, with some offering a substantial sum that covers most of the tuition costs for enrolling in an MBA, while others provide a small stipend that can help eliminate some of the financial responsibilities of a graduate program.

Relate: FAQ: How Long Does It Take To Earn an MBA?

What are the types of MBA scholarships?

Schools and organizations offer scholarships based on both merit and application processes to entice candidates and offer assistance to qualified professionals who want to continue their education. Merit-based scholarships offer incentives to candidates based on their initial application to a program. Other scholarships require an application for a specific award. Some scholarships fund certain types of students, like women in business or those with a history of lower-income status.

Schools, businesses and other organizations offer a wide range of scholarships for students of all backgrounds. Here are some of the main types of application-based scholarships to pursue:

School-based

Many schools offer funds to help incoming students entering their MBA program. These awards may provide a one-time sum or a yearly amount that lasts the duration of your program. Schools may award scholarships based on test scores, GPA from undergraduate studies and application documents, such as an essay. Some also look for work experience in business-related roles. One benefit of school-based scholarships is that you are only competing against other students at the college instead of candidates from across the country or throughout the world.

National

National scholarship awards, though not connected to a particular school, may involve collaboration between certain organizations and specific academic institutions. Private businesses may also contribute scholarship awards or fellowships to interested candidates. Those awarding the scholarship choose from a nationwide pool of candidates, making these awards a more competitive process. Amounts range widely from $1,000 to awards that cover full college tuition. National scholarships may use the same criteria as school-based scholarships or offer funds based on other nonacademic qualifications.

Military

Military veterans can also find MBA-specific scholarship opportunities granted to those with a history of service in the U.S. military. These awards typically offer a single large sum to veterans pursuing their graduate degree in business. Some awards are offered only through partner schools, so it's a good idea to check their list to make sure you're willing to attend one of their academic institutions before applying for a specific scholarship.

Work-related

Some businesses offer incentives for their employees to continue their education through an MBA program. Tuition assistance and workplace scholarships can help offset the cost of your MBA and show your company you are serious about professional growth opportunities. Companies may also partner with specific academic institutions to secure tuition discounts for employees.

Read more: How To Find a Company That Will Pay for Your MBA

What do you have to do to apply for a scholarship?

Scholarships typically require you to submit forms digitally through the awarding organization's website. Be prepared to set up an account to send in undergraduate transcripts, essays, reference letters and personal documentation. Pay attention to deadlines, as scholarships accept applications for a specified period. Once submissions are closed, you may have to wait until the next window opens to apply for the award.

What are some tips to help you get a scholarship?

Here are some ideas to consider as you prepare to apply for MBA scholarships:

Apply anyway

Even if you think you won't get it, apply for the scholarship. It's worth the effort to try to gain funds to help you pay for an MBA program. Each application gives you experience in preparing documents and essay answers for the award committee, which can help you gain confidence and increase your chances as a winning candidate.

Present yourself professionally

As you prepare your applications, take the time to reread and revise your work. Submit a polished resume or essay as free from errors as you can make it by asking a mentor, close friend or family member to give you a critique. Dress up for interviews, even if you conduct a meeting remotely to establish your professionalism.

Related: How To Write a Successful MBA Career Goal Essay

Highlight your accomplishments

Don't be shy about sharing your successes on resumes, essays or during interviews. List awards and honors you've received in both professional and academic categories. Be specific about ways you've contributed to the workplace. For example, on your resume, state that you grew the firm's customer-based by 15% in your first year with the company.

Apply for multiple awards

Applying for multiple scholarships at once gives you more opportunities to receive funds for your MBA program. Since schools and organizations offer varying amounts that may cover only a portion of your education, the more funds you receive, the less you'll need to finance after your degree. Although you may need to create specific essays or craft responses to individual scholarship application prompts, many of the documents you prepare can be reused for other awards.

What are some jobs that benefit from an MBA program?

While many professionals can benefit from a master's degree in their field, MBA studies can provide specific skills that advance organizational knowledge and business methods for specific roles. Below is a sampling of positions where MBA studies can specifically benefit the job or roles where companies often favor candidates with an MBA:

1. Financial analyst

National average salary: $67,523 per year

Primary duties: A financial analyst provides investment predictions for individuals and organizations. They study financial markets to determine the likely success of specific investments, such as stocks and bonds. Financial analysts may work within a financial firm, insurance office, government agency or as an independent contractor. Their work is sought after for a range of industries as they help advise businesses about their financial operations and potential profits and risks when investing funds.

Read more: Learn About Being a Financial Analyst

2. Marketing director

National average salary: $78,559 per year

Primary duties: Marketing directors oversee the marketing team for an organization. They also provide the vision for long-term growth and guide the marketing team toward reaching their maximum potential and daily output. A marketing director establishes and maintains relationships with clients, advertising partners and third-party vendors. Marketing directors also analyze data to determine market trends and recognize performance data within their team. Their overall role is to develop an effective marketing strategy that contributes to the growth and revenue of a business.

Read more: Learn About Being a Marketing Director

3. Director of operations

National average salary: $84,991 per year

Primary duties: A director of operations oversees the daily functions of an organization. Companies with manufacturing or research processes typically hire a director of operations to ensure all aspects of production run efficiently. The director of operations analyzes the methods a business uses to create products or offer services, including overseeing supplies, structuring employee responsibilities, planning budgets, inspecting completed products and overseeing delivery procedures.

Read more: Learn About Being a Director of Operations

4. Information technology manager

National average salary: $88,207 per year

Primary duties: An IT manager maintains an organization's computer and network systems. They set policies for technology use and ensure all systems are functioning at optimal levels to maximize productivity in the workplace. IT managers oversee a team responsible for installing, upgrading and repairing computer software and hardware and computer networks. They help determine which systems an organization uses to conduct business and may offer training to teach company users how to interact with new technology.

Read more: Learn About Being an IT Manager

5. Human resources director

National average salary: $90,211 per year

Primary duties: A human resources director oversees relations between an organization and its employees. They determine and implement hiring procedures, often recruiting and interviewing job candidates to select the best fit for roles within the company. HR directors typically act as a liaison between the staff and executive leaders, sharing information with top management and relaying information to other team members. They also oversee payroll and benefits, ensuring that employees receive the correct compensation for their work. HR directors manage employee concerns and make sure the organization follows state and federal employment laws.

Read more: Learn About Being a Human Resources Director

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