9 Ways to Finance Your MBA Program in the United States


Though an MBA degree from the US can certainly help in advancing their career path, many students do find it difficult to manage the initial tuition fees & other costs. The fee alone can reach as high as $140,000 for a full-time program in a good US B-school. The majority of the State universities in the US are also expensive for doing an MBA program whether it is in-state or out-of-state. However, here are the top 9 ways that will help you in managing your finances efficiently while pursuing an international MBA program in the US.

Business School Fellowships

Some MBA schools in the US offer good fellowship awards. These awards are very similar to scholarships, as they are like grant money that doesn’t need to be repaid. For example, Harvard Business School sometimes offers need-based fellowships to nearly 50% of the class which averages around $40,000 a year. In fact, Stanford GSB also offers fellowships to students with specific backgrounds including Charles P. Bonini Partnership for Diversity Fellowship and Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship.

Graduate Scholarships

Most B-schools offer multiple MBA scholarships that don’t involve a work component. These graduate scholarships are based on previous academic achievements, GMAT / GRE scores, and assessment of a student’s likely contribution to the incoming class. Good examples can be – the Kellogg Scholarship (Kellogg School of Management), Tahir Fellowship (UC Berkeley Haas School of Business), George J. Stigler Fellowship (Chicago Booth School of Business) and B.K. Birla MBA Scholarship (London Business School)


Graduate Assistantships

Students can also work as graduate assistants during your MBA program to pay for business school. An assistant typically works alongside faculty members/administrators in various research roles or in educational or administrative roles. These assistantships are primarily offered to full-time MBA students on a meritorious basis. The activities assigned during graduate assistantships have a lot of vital educational value for the student enhancing the student’s overall academic experience. A typical full-time assistantship involves a 20-hour per week work assignment for 16 weeks per semester, mapping to the beginning and ending dates for a semester as published in the university schedule of classes.

Industry Scholarships

MBA students can also look at various external scholarships such as niche awards. For e.g. If you are interested in the field of taxation, you should research about types of scholarships that are available for students looking to pursue a taxation degree. Some of the examples include Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Scholarships, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation Graduate Scholarships, Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals (AICP) Scholarship Program, Dan Reichard Jr. Scholarship,

HubShout Internet Marketing Scholarship, Forté Fellows Program, Morgan Stanley MBA Fellowship Program and many others.


Employer Sponsorship

Many companies offer an MBA sponsorship to deserving employees, though this usually involves a contract or an obligation such as remaining at or returning to the company after completion of your degree. However, there are other forms of employer sponsorships including a tuition reimbursement with a maximum allowable amount per annum. You should consider talking to the HR team to find out if your company has a policy of tuition assistance or sponsorship program based on certain parameters. Majority of the students who pursue an executive MBA course follow this route.


An increasingly new and effective way to fund your MBA degree is through crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending. This method of funding essentially involves a large pool of sponsors (the crowd) providing donations or capital to support a venture, campaign or cause, like your postgraduate degree! There are many forms of crowdfunding including Donation-based crowdfunding, Reward-based crowdfunding and Credit-based crowdfunding. There are lots of crowdfunding platforms to choose from, starting with websites that have been set up specifically to help prospective business school students. Business school alumni provide loans to international students wanting to go to the world’s leading business schools.


Business School Loans

There are a good number of US B-schools offering student loans without a U.S. co-signer. The B-school itself will stand as your guarantor. Currently, the following US schools provide collateral-free loans to Indian students – Harvard Business School, Stanford Global School Of Business, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Duke Fuqua School of Business, Haas School of Business, Yale School of Management (SOM), The Darden School of Business, UCLA Anderson, Kenan-Flagler Business School & MIT Sloan

So that means once you get your admission, typically the college will help facilitate the entire transaction. The collateral that is on offer is really the reputation of your degree!

Last but not the least are the traditional ways to take a loan from a bank.


Private student loans from a US Bank

Private lenders also provide customized loan options at a variable or fixed rate. These loans generally take into account a student’s credit score. These loans sometimes may have lower interest rates than federal loans. However, MBA students should compare offers from multiple private lenders to reach the lowest interest rate. Private student loans for international students are available from two types of lenders i.e. banks and non-bank lending companies. Loans from banks offer international students the convenience of doing their banking and student loans at one place. Also, some banks like Citizens give a 0.25% interest rate discount to students who bank with them. International students should meet all the eligibility requirements required by the bank. A US citizen needs to act as your guarantor.


Private student loans from an Indian Bank

These are generally collateral-based education loans where the bank will take some form of a “guarantee”. The collateral can be any kind of assets such as a house, property or some long-term investments such as Fixed Deposits (FD), Provident Funds (PF), and government bonds. The banks won’t repossess assets unless and until they are sure that there is no other way for them to recover their dues. There are Non-collateral education loans also available where you don’t have to offer to show any property or asset to avail of the loan. Most of the banks in India would offer non-collateral loans however the total amount they provide is generally low considering the cost of an International MBA.


The Top10 MBA Colleges in the US with Annual Tuition Fees, Average GMAT Required and Average Starting Salary


Stanford University

Stanford University

Average GMAT Required – 734
Annual Tuition Fees – $73,062
Average Starting Salary – $168,226


University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

University of Pennsylvania (Wharton

Average GMAT Required – 732
Annual Tuition Fees – $74,500
Average Starting Salary – $172,016


Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Northwestern University

Average GMAT Required – 730
Annual Tuition Fees – $73,404
Average Starting Salary – $163,752


University of Chicago (Booth)

University of Chicago

Average GMAT Required – 730
Annual Tuition Fees – $72,000
Average Starting Salary – $164,607


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Average GMAT Required – 727
Annual Tuition Fees – $77,127
Average Starting Salary – $160,291


Harvard University

Harvard University

Average GMAT Required – 728
Annual Tuition Fees – $73,440
Average Starting Salary – $164,872


University of California–Berkeley (Haas)

University of California

Average GMAT Required – 725
Annual Tuition Fees – $62,750
Average Starting Salary – $159,972


Columbia University

Columbia University

Average GMAT Required – 732
Annual Tuition Fees – $77,376
Average Starting Salary – $165,945


Yale University

Yale University

Average GMAT Required – 721
Annual Tuition Fees – $72,350
Average Starting Salary – $152,860

New York University (Stern)

New York University

Average GMAT Required – 721
Annual Tuition Fees – $74,184
Average Starting Salary – $168,291

A good GMAT score will definitely help in ensuring not only admission into one of the top US University but also a very high probability of scholarship.


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If you have convinced yourself to study in the USA, act now. At Manya – The Princeton Review, as a study abroad consultant we have helped thousands of students like you make it to their dream colleges. So, contact our counselors today to experience a smooth process to your admission into a top US college or university.

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