Fancy attending a prestigious MBA program without paying a cent? It sounds too good to be true, but many elite business schools are awarding students full-ride scholarships — covering tuition and perhaps even living and travel costs too.
Full rides are largely a US phenomenon. They have become more common thanks in part to the high opportunity cost of taking two years out of work to get an MBA (as is common in America). Millennials, saddled with more debt than previous generations, have grown more reluctant to leave the booming US labor market.
Unsurprisingly, there is evidence that full rides can boost MBA uptake.
Arizona State University’s WP Carey School of Business scrapped tuition fees in favor of full scholarships in 2015, funded through a $50m donation from real estate mogul William Carey. A year later applications to the full-time MBA had tripled to 1,165.
Crucially, the quality of the cohort did not appear to be compromised. Carey said it had succeeded in its goal of attracting nontraditional candidates, whose diverse experiences enrich the learning experience of all students. (The school did not return multiple requests for comments about whether or not these scholarships are still on offer.)
There are plenty of other top schools and organizations offering full rides, and we’ve listed the most generous of them below.
Back in 2017, the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business said all admitted MBA candidates without other funding would be offered a full-ride scholarship. There is no additional application; applicants are automatically considered for the full ride. The admissions team takes a holistic view of candidates when deciding who gets the money.View School Profile
At Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, some 80 percent of full-time MBA students receive a scholarship. The average amount is 60 percent of tuition, but a minority of candidates receive full fee coverage. The awards are based on merit, for example whether someone shows outstanding professional or academic achievement.View School Profile
At Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, about 60 percent of MBA students receive some scholarship dollars, with the average amount being $25,000. However, a cadre of Dean’s Scholars — those with the most outstanding achievements and potential — are offered full tuition, as well as funding for study-related travel and research.View School Profile
The prestigious Stanford Graduate School of Business in California provides full scholarships for students with specific backgrounds. These include the Charles P. Bonini Partnership for Diversity Fellowship, for non-traditional candidates. Stanford also pays up to $160,000 to three USA MBA Fellowship winners, on condition they work in the Midwest for two years after graduating.View School Profile
The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business awards full scholarships to a select group of MBA applicants. The decision is made based on academic performance, work experience, GMAT or GRE score, recommendation letters, communication skills and leadership potential. The school also values those who have a proven history of positive social or environmental impact.View School Profile
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business offers a full-tuition merit-based scholarship to its most outstanding MBA candidates. The Keller Scholarship, as it is known, is awarded based partly on an applicant’s leadership credentials. It can help, Fuqua says, to demonstrate impact inside and outside the classroom based on experiences in your local community and career.View School Profile
The Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College offers full tuition scholarships to diverse candidates, for example members of the National Association of Black Accountants, Association of Latino Professionals for America, or the National Association of Asian American Professionals. The awards cover full tuition fees, books and other supplies.View School Profile
CEIBS in Shanghai offers plentiful financial aid to both Chinese and overseas students. Last year about 30 percent of the MBA cohort got scholarships, with some receiving the full fee. CEIBS is Asia’s highest-ranking MBA provider and tops even some elite US and European schools in the league tables.View School Profile
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