More Indian students are getting scholarships at top B-schools

NEW DELHI: More Indians are now getting scholarships at the world’s top business schools, and in higher amounts, data from leading international MBA admission consulting firm Admissions Gateway shows.

The total amount of scholarships received by students of Admissions Gateway increased more than 40% in two years to $8.5 million in 2019-20 against $6 million in 2017-18, according to data the Gurgaon-based company shared exclusively with ET.

The number of students serviced by the company had increased only around 10% during this period, indicating that a higher share of students are getting grants and that the average amount has also increased.

One of the major reasons for the sharp spike is that top b-schools have started giving out more scholarships to attract students after they saw a decline in the number of applications in 2018-19, said Rajdeep Chimni, chief executive of Admissions Gateway. This year, the number of applications have gone up, he said.

reached out to leading b-schools including Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Michigan Ross, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and NYU Stern.

Many of them – including Wharton, Fuqua and Michigan Ross – confirmed that they have indeed increased the number and amounts of merit-based scholarships in recent years because getting a “diverse cohort” was a major goal for them.

Wharton and Kellogg are in the top 5 business schools globally along with Harvard, Stanford and Booth, and both these schools are where the biggest increase was witnessed in the two-year period.

“Generally, the increased number of admitted international students over the past few years have amplified our current awarding structure, and newer diversity and inclusion initiatives have played a role in that increase,” Maxine Adekoya, director of student finances for Wharton MBA admissions and financial aid, told ET in an email response.

The average scholarship amount, too, has soared. “Two years ago most grants were in the $30,000-70,000 range, with an intermittent $100,000 being given out,” Chimni said. “Now most grants are $40,000-165,000 with more grants over $70,000, and more full $150,000 grants.”

Adarsh Khandelwal, cofounder of admissions consultancy Collegify, said universities in the US are keen to get students from smaller cities, especially girls, for STEM subjects even as most MBAs in top schools have now become STEM MBAs. “Students from Tier II and Tier III cities these days have a compelling story to tell,” he said. “A girl in STEM from a small city is a story a Harvard wants.”

This also means more undergraduate students are now getting scholarships, Khandelwal said.

Shari Hubert, associate dean for admissions at Fuqua School of Business, in an email response said, “We have increased our scholarship budget at Fuqua to ensure that we are competing with other top business schools in convincing the best talent… to join our community. …certainly, students from India are an important part of the global diversity that we seek.”

Soojin Kwon, managing director of full-time MBA admissions and programs at Michigan Ross said the university “has steadily increased the number of scholarships awarded to incoming students in recent years”.

A spokesperson for Stern School of Business, New York University, said all full-time two-year MBA applicants (domestic and international) of the institute are considered for merit-based scholarships. Of this, typically 20-25% get it.

According to Chimni of Admissions Gateway, more students in India now opting for consulting is also one of the reasons they’re getting more scholarships as this helps them polish their resume and tell a compelling story.

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