How to get scholarships for Indian students to Study abroad in 2021?

  • What are the qualifications for a Harvard scholarship or any other Ivy League MBA scholarship for Indian students?
  • How much of my international MBA tuition fee will be covered by scholarship?
  • How can I maximize my chance of an Ivy League MBA scholarship?

If these are some of the questions racing through your head then you have come to the right place!

A good undergraduate education from a top B-school in the US or Europe will put you on the fast track to your goals. But, this will certainly not come cheap!

The bright side is that there are plenty of scholarships that you can earn at any of the top B-schools! In fact, MBA scholarships are currently some of the best education-aid you can right now. So, if you are applying at a top-tier MBA school, make sure that you are planning your application right from the start. This will help you get a good scholarship once you have been admitted.

I will discuss more about how to prepare yourself for an MBA scholarship, but let’s start by taking a look at some of the top international MBA programs and the average scholarships they roll out every year -

School Total Scholarships Average Grant % of MBAs on Scholarship
Harvard Business School $31.5 million $32,000 50%
Wharton $16.9 million $30,500 33%
Chicago (Booth) $16.3 million $30,000 60%
Stanford GSB $15.7 million $35,830 52%
Michigan (Ross) $15.4 million $22,360 48%
New York (Stern) $12.8 million $26,400 62%
UCLA (Anderson) $12.1 million $25,860 65%
Northwestern (Kellogg) $11.8 million $22,800 35%
Columbia Business School $10.1 million $20,500 46%
Virginia (Darden) $8.4 million $30,800 43%
MIT (Sloan) $8.1 million $28,220 35%
Duke (Fuqua) $7.1 million $20,950 33%
Rice (Jones) $6.7 million $33,320 94%
Yale School of Management $6.2 million $23,028 31%
UC-Berkeley (Haas) $5.8 million $29,060 50%
Cornell (Johnson) $5.7 million $12,000 33%
Dartmouth (Tuck) $5.4 million $27,550 35%
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) $5.3 million $21,853 57%
Emory (Goizueta) $5.0 million $24,905 57%
Georgetown (McDonough) $3.3 million $30,000 27%

Source: Poets & Quants from B-school reports

While some of these figures may have changed depending on the current situation, you should easily be able to understand the huge scholarship opportunity that lies ahead if you crack a top-tier MBA!

And this is not all; there are more external scholarships that you can apply for! But before we get into more details, let’s -

Understand Your Expenses

There are various levels of expenses that you as an MBA applicant need to look out for. While most students tend to concentrate on the tuition fee, and rightfully so, since it is the largest part of the entire affair; the other expenses should also be considered beforehand.

Here’s a quick look at some of the expenses that you will incur at any of the top B-schools around the world.

School Annual Tuition Annual Room & Board (Estimated)
UPenn (Wharton) $81,378 $22,670
Columbia $77,376 $21,375
MIT (Sloan) $77,168 $26,660
Dartmouth (Tuck) $75,108 $22,742
NYU (Stern) $74,184 $26,780
Harvard Business School $73,440 $29,844
Northwestern (Kellogg) $73,404 $17,100
Stanford GSB $73,062 $32,712

Source: Poets & Quants, School reported data

While the scholarship provided by the school will be primarily to cover the tuition fee, you can apply for various other scholarships to cover the rest of your expenses.

If you plan it right and apply at the right time, you will be able to bag enough scholarships to cover almost the entirety of your MBA expenses!

Scholarships for Indian Students Who Want to Study Abroad

There are two primary forms of scholarships that for students seeking an MBA degree from a B-school outside India. These are:

  • College aids
  • International scholarships

College Aid and Scholarships

This is basically the aid amount provided by the college you are applying at. Most foreign colleges provide need-based and merit-based scholarships. Need-based aid takes into account the socio-economic condition of the applicant’s family, and the ability to meet the financial burden. Merit-based aid assesses each applicant on the strength of their application and overall potential. Thus, factors such as SAT test scores, GPA, sports ability, leadership quality, artistic talent, and other additional qualifications matter a lot.

The usual rule here is that the bigger the college the bigger the aid as well. For example,

  • Princeton provides need-based aid at an average of $53,100 (INR 37.9 lakh) per student.
  • The University of Pennsylvania has an annual repository of $9 million for providing aid to international undergrad applicants.
  • The average grant provided by Harvard is $60,000+ per student.

Some universities also offer community-focused scholarships, such as the American University Emerging Global Leader Scholarship (AU EGL), offered by the American University (Washington DC) to undergraduate students who are active in social and civic activities. While it is offered in any field of undergraduate study, it is aimed at students who seek to work with under-served communities in their home country. The scholarship can be renewed every year of the course, as long as the student maintains his/her grades. Such a scholarship is perfect for an Indian student wondering how to get into Ivy League B-schools!

What you need to remember is that each university has different aid and scholarship requirements and offerings. Once you have finalized the colleges you want to apply to, you can find details about their specific financial aid.

However, the websites may not have all the answers! You must reach out to the college administration and get all the possible information directly from them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can also get in touch with alumni and current students and get their inputs. They have already gone through this process, and can really help you out!

Here’s a conversation I had with one of my applicants regarding the scholarships he bagged at some of the top B-schools in USA:

International Scholarships from Other Institutions

The college-sponsored grants and aid opportunities are not your only financial option. There are a number of outside institutions (both within India and other respective countries) that sponsor students who wish to study abroad. Once again, these scholarships are based on either merit or need, or both.

Here are some of the currently available scholarships that any student with desires to study MBA abroad can apply for:

  • Tata Scholarships for Cornell University: The Tata Education and Development Trust has endowed Cornell University with $25 million (INR 178,48,87,500) to financially aid meritorious underprivileged Indian students. There are a total of 20 scholarships offered.
  • TOEFL Scholarship: This offers 15 merit-based scholarships ($7000 each—about INR 4.7 lakh) for academic expenses of undergraduate students at any of the universities listed in the TOEFL destinations directory.
  • Chevening scholarships: This is a scholarship available for Indian students who wish to apply for MBA at any UK based University, and it unconditionally covers almost all possible expenses of the student. Many students apply for it each year.
  • Rhodes scholarship: Every year 6 Indian students are given this prestigious scholarship for studying MBA at Oxford. The maximum scholarship amount is INR 57,50,304/- and it also includes a monthly stipend. This is easily one of the best Ivy League scholarships for Indian students.
  • Felix scholarship: This is a both merit and need based scholarship available to Indian students seeking MBA opportunities in the UK. Around 20 scholarships are awarded every year, and it covers both tuition and other expenses.
  • Fulbright-Nehru scholarship: This is yet again an annual scholarship to help Indian students seeking opportunities in American colleges. It is provided by the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF).

Please note that this is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many such Ivy League scholarships available using which Indian students can study abroad.

One should try applying for country specific scholarships if they are sure about their future plans. Many students, who are unable to grab the college based aids for whatsoever reason, make use of these international scholarships to fulfill their dreams.

However, we suggest that you check your aid eligibility for aids provided on your chosen college website, and reach out to the administration for more information. Make sure to plan beforehand and apply well within the deadlines!

How to prepare yourself for a top-tier MBA scholarship?

If you are thinking that you will start preparing for the scholarship after you have gotten your admit, you are completely off-track!

As someone who aims to crack top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard and Darden, you need to start preparing for a scholarship right from step 1!

Here are 4 things that you can start doing today to have a better chance at gaining a well-funded higher education –

  1. Start networking
  2. From ex-students to instructors and admissions committee members, try to get in touch with anyone possible. But don’t simply knock them on the internet. Have your short-term and long-term goals figured out, and then have a very specific set of questions ready that will help you understand the scholarship process better. The world is still reeling from the pandemic situation, so you will be able to easily get in touch with the people and they will be happy to share the information with you as long as you have your end figured out.

  3. Attend B-school webinars
  4. You need to create a list of MBA programs that you will be applying for. Once done, find out when these B-schools are holding their various webinars and attend as many as possible. Many of these webinars will allow you to build your network as well as provide important information regarding the scholarship process.

  5. GMAT
  6. Your GMAT score will definitely matter when you are applying for scholarships. So, it’s great if you attempt the exam multiple times and raise your score as high as possible. Even a difference of 30 - 40 points can raise your scholarship amount by a huge deal. So, give the utmost importance to your GMAT score.

    At this point if you are wondering whether you can get a scholarship with a low GMAT score, well you definitely can but the process will be albeit difficult. In this short video I explain it in detail, so make sure to check it out –

  7. Figure out your strengths
  8. The MBA application and interview process will have you answering various questions about yourself, and some of them can be challenging. It’s best to prepare for these questions beforehand and have your profile ready for presentation. Don’t think of this as an easy process, as this is one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd! Here are some of the best answers to the Stanford MBA application question to give you a better understanding.

    And there you have it; the brief guide to your international MBA scholarship! We speak about many of these aspects in further depth in the PythaGurus blog and YouTube channel, so make sure to follow us and stay updated!

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