Before you explore full-ride scholarships, let me explain the concept of Scholarships to you: And we conduct a lot of seminars on scholarships with our GMAT COACHING students, and I will encourage you to attend one of those.
A scholarship is a very STRONG Negotiation tool that the business schools use to bait the right MBA APPLICANTS into accepting the admits. These scholarships help the business schools meet their Yields (Number of people accepting the offer/Total number of offers made). Higher the yield- better are the statistics that are plowed into creating the MBA RANKINGS.
Most schools also consider an applicant for any available scholarship as soon as they apply. For example, Rotman considers and decides on every applicant’s scholarship and sends an answer regarding the same with the acceptance letter.
Let me share a SITUATION with you- Your Dilemma: You tell me! What would you do? Would you take a 95-lac loan and go to MIT Sloan School of Management, Tuck School of Business, Columbia Business School (1.16 crores), or would you rather join Kelley School of Business with a 50% scholarship.
Do you have a rich father who will fund your MBA Degree? Or are you married, have a home loan, and are keen on an education that comes with maximum scholarship (Even though at the cost of the Brand of business school you will join). What is your appetite for risk?
One of my MBA admission consulting candidates recently shared that “Marriage kills the risk appetite”, and then he smiled. I was also told that “I will understand this someday” and then he smiled….
Coming back to the Original Dilemma:
WHO WILL FACE THIS DILEMMA: You could be an Indian Male with 5+ years of work experience and a 720+ score or an Indian Female applicant with 3+ years of work experience with again a 720+ Score?
If you are an Indian Female applicant with a GMAT =/> 730 or an Indian male applicant with a GMAT >/=740, you will have bigger $$$$ Dilemmas. For example, another MBA admission consulting candidate of ours, Vikram, shared his decision to join Boston College with a 65 lakh Scholarship as opposed to joining Kelley School of Business with a 45-lac scholarship. He was primarily driven by scholarships and was not keen on taking a loan at all. Even though he had to give up a rank 20’ish school, and join a school below 30, he had his own risk appetite.
MORE CASES OF THESE DILEMMAS: VERY WIDE PATTERNS OF HOW THE INDIAN MIND WORKS AND HOW THE STUDENTS MADE THESE DECISIONS
One of the recently admitted MBA ADMISSION CONSULTING CANDIDATES (Thomas) had a GMAT 700 and was given 100% tuition + Stipend from a US Rank 26’ish Business School (Michigan State University). His pockets were probably deeper than many others and he decided to go to Rotman School of Management by spending 80 lacs. He did have other reasons for joining Rotman. Getting a job with a bulge bracket investment bank was more important for him (Even though in Toronto) than working for a role in operations in the United States. Industry/Function was more important for him than the country.
One of our applicants with a GMAT 730 got admitted to Columbia in the early bird round. Both he and I were happy with the results. I was happy as I knew that I will not have to work on his 5 other applications after this. He was happy as Columbia was GOD for him (It is that for many people for MANY REASONS). He applied in the early bird round, and Columbia asked him to pull out his apps from all the other schools (Early Bird Clause: Google it if you do not know what I am talking about). He decided to do an early bird round of Columbia despite knowing that he will have to give up any $$ that other schools might offer.
Someone I Spoke with Recently (Conversation with him inspired me to write this email): He has a GMAT 730 and a diverse profile (Manufacturing + Automotive) and I liked his story. I would rather he applied to top SCHOOLS and took a shot at MIT, Tuck, Darden, Duke, and other Top Business Schools (NOT ROSS Because of Financial Aid). However, I realized that he was keener on schools that will offer him more $$$$ Money. He was absolutely right in his reasons and I did not insist harder.
My Recommendations: You carry different risk appetites, and weigh the schools either by ranks or by $$. IT JUST DOES NOT MATTER. You should be satisfied with the choices you make.