Pursuing an MBA from an elite American business school is an exciting prospect for ambitious international students. However, the high costs of tuition and living expenses present a significant barrier. Luckily, numerous scholarship opportunities exist to help offset these financial burdens. While competition for awards is fierce, outstanding students and future leaders have succeeded in obtaining full or partial scholarship funding through diligent research and strong applications.
This comprehensive blog post explores the most prestigious MBA scholarship programs available for citizens of other countries pursuing a master’s in business administration at a university in the United States. With strategic planning and hard work, international applicants can gain admission and cost-effective enrollment through these generous funding avenues.
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Run by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright program aims to increase mutual understanding between Americans and citizens of other nations. As perhaps the most renowned international scholarship, it provides full financial support to cover tuition, fees, books, room and board, travel costs, and basic living expenses for one year of graduate study.
Applications are accepted from over 160 participating countries. Candidates must demonstrate exemplary academic achievement and leadership potential as public-spirited ambassadors of their home nations. Selection factors include intellectual and professional goals, institutional endorsements, and references who can speak to an applicant’s character. Submitting well before deadlines of early fall allows planning if not selected initially.
Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Chevening provides full financial sponsorship for a one-year Master’s program at any accredited university worldwide. It represents one of the most highly sought-after international scholarships and the largest UK government awards.
Applicants must be citizens or “settled” residents of an eligible Commonwealth country with a minimum 2.1 UK Bachelor’s degree equivalent. Evaluation weighs scholastic merit alongside professional expertise, commitment to service, and potential for impact on return home. Applications open annually from late August through early November for the following academic year.
Target Corporation contributes to communities worldwide through this annual scholarship program. Candidates are citizens from countries where Target retail stores currently operate, pursuing an MBA to advance their professional careers in areas relevant to Target’s philanthropic mission.
Areas of interest include community development, education, sustainability, and urban innovation. Awards supply full tuition coverage up to $30,000 at one of over 20 partner schools ranked in the top 20 of US News & World Report’s MBA program rankings. Strong essays highlight how an MBA will enable future social change leadership.
Asian Development Bank Scholarship
For citizens of the 68 developing member countries in Asia and the Pacific served by the Asian Development Bank, this scholarship provides funding to empower future agents of economic and social progress. Support is available for full-time Master’s and PhD studies in development-related sectors including public policy, economics, finance, and business administration.
Recipients receive full tuition, a book and computer allowance, accommodation, and travel costs. Importantly, they must commit to three years of employment in their home countries’ development sector post-graduation. Top academics and demonstrated passion for improving the lives of others through public service separate competitive candidates.
School-Specific Diversity Scholarships
Beyond university-wide generic considerations, some top MBA programs offer named scholarship opportunities exclusively funding international students. Examples include the Kellogg International Scholarship at Northwestern University covering 25-100% of tuition costs for up to two years. At Columbia Business School, the Arianna Huffington Scholarship defrays costs for students advancing women’s empowerment globally.
Diversity scholarships recognize that business leaders must reflect the diversity of customers and employees their organizations serve worldwide. Strong applicants evidence how their unique experiences and perspectives gained outside America will enrich classroom discussions and career ambitions and serve global constituents.
Additional Tips for Success
- Research deadlines exhaustively and plan applications well in advance given processing periods. Late entries rarely prove competitive.
- Emphasize how educational and professional goals align with award criteria through persuasive personal statements.
- Ask professors and employers familiar with the application process to provide letters of reference highlighting qualifications.
- Quantify previous work, extracurricular, and volunteer achievements with relevant impact statistics wherever possible.
- Prepare for video and in-person interview rounds showcasing interpersonal qualities like empathy, critical thinking, and charisma.
- Maintain a backup funding plan by also applying for need-based loans, graduate assistantships, or private scholarships.
With dedicated scholarship hunts, outstanding candidates secure substantial or full financial sponsorship each year. The access gained to top-tier business networks and alumni makes these awards enormously valuable. For international students with big dreams, America’s leading graduate business programs can become an affordable reality.
Are there any other scholarships specifically for international students pursuing an MBA in the USA?
Yes, here are a few other notable MBA scholarship programs specifically for international students studying in the US:
- Siemens Fellowship – Sponsored by Siemens Corporation, it offers full tuition plus a stipend to support living expenses for citizens of specified countries enrolled at select Midwestern business schools.
- US-ASEAN Scholarship – Administered by East-West Center, it provides funding for citizens of Southeast Asian nations to earn degrees at accredited institutions in fields like business, public administration, and agriculture.
- PGATE Scholarship – Supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York, it offers partial to full scholarships to citizens of participating African and Middle Eastern nations enrolled in one-year STEM or business master’s programs.
- DELTA Scholarship – Funded by Japan Airlines, this award assists professionals from developing Asian countries pursuing a one-year MBA at designated US universities focused on aviation/transportation industries.
- Laspau Scholarship – Administered by various Hispanic-Serving Institutions, it offers partial funding for citizens of Latin American & Caribbean nations seeking master’s or research degrees in business, public health, and education fields.
- ERASMUS+ & Erasmus Mundus Scholarships – Sponsored by the European Union, these programs support European students earning degrees outside their home countries, including MBAs at schools worldwide including the US.
An important piece of advice is to research opportunities beyond just well-known global scholarships, as smaller regional or industry-focused awards may have less competition. Thorough database searches can uncover valuable funding sources.