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The journey to an MBA can be financially demanding, especially for women, who have been historically underrepresented in business. Forte Foundation, a nonprofit that strives to achieve gender parity at all levels of business, reports that 17 of the top business schools reached at least 45% of female enrollment. In 2012, none of these schools enrolled women at this rate.
While this increase indicates a positive change, the business world still does not have parity in gender representation. Women experience many barriers when completing MBAs, including additional household expectations, discrimination in the classroom or boardroom, and financial constraints.
With scholarships and programs for women pursuing MBAs, women can overcome these barriers and excel as business leaders.
MBA Scholarship Application Preparation
When applying for MBA scholarships, explore as many scholarship types as possible. For instance, consider scholarships from professional organizations, scholarships based on MBA concentration, and MBA scholarships for women.
There are several types of financial assistance available to MBA students. These include:
- Federal and private loans
- Employer assistance
Applicants typically prioritize scholarships and grants, which do not require repayment, over sources like loans. Search for MBA scholarships in many different contexts. Colleges and universities may offer them based on various criteria, including academic merit and minority status.
You may need to submit additional materials for these scholarships beyond your graduate school application. Private organizations or nonprofit groups may also provide scholarships.
These scholarships typically require you to provide college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a resume. You may also have to write additional essays or complete interviews. Some programs request financial need documents, as well.
MBA Scholarships for Women
Universities, corporations, and nonprofits offer MBA scholarships for women because they become strong business leaders. Though not exhaustive, the list below provides a helpful assortment of scholarships. Many of these work to improve diversity in MBA programs. Women considering business school can use this list to start their financial aid research.
- Requirements: The American Association of University Women offers this fellowship to women of color who are U.S. citizens enrolled in full-time MBA programs. The application window opens on Aug. 1 and closes on Dec. 1.
- Award: $20,000
- Requirements: An applicant must be Chicana and/or Latina and have lived in a qualifying California county for at least two years. Each candidate needs a minimum 2.7 GPA at the undergraduate level, plus a letter of recommendation and a resume/CV.
- Award: $1,500
- Requirements: Zonta International offers this scholarship to help women overcome gender barriers in the classroom and the boardroom. Applicants should study or live in a Zonta Club district or region and be received by a local club. Application deadlines vary among clubs. Zonta Club members, employees, and their family members may not apply.
- Award: $5,000
- Requirements: Sponsored by the Women Grocers of America (WGA), the Mary Macey Scholarship Award supports women who show promise for careers in the independent grocer industry. Women may join the WGA if they work for independent manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, or other qualifying members of the National Grocers Association. Each candidate must hold a 2.5 GPA and may apply in Jan. through April each year.
- Award: Varies
- Requirements: Recipients of this scholarship must live in the United States. They must be at least 18 years old and enroll in an academic program within three months of receiving their award. The organization randomly draws scholarships five times per year.
- Award: $10,000
Greek Letter Organization Scholarships
If you were a sorority member in college, you can research scholarships from your organization to pursue graduate studies. Several sororities offer scholarships for alumni members. Professional sororities and sororities for minorities may also have opportunities to help you pay for your MBA.
If you're looking for MBA Scholarships for women, you may also want to explore other types of scholarships outside of opportunities related to your major. Postsecondary institutions, private organizations, and advocacy groups offer scholarships for students based on identity and achievement.
For instance, you could look for scholarships for marginalized communities, such as the LGBTQ+ population or people with disabilities, as well as scholarships based on specific interests, community service, or hobbies.
Frequently Asked Questions About MBA Scholarships for Women
Are there specific MBA scholarships available exclusively for women?
Yes — several organizations and foundations offer MBA scholarships for women. Some programs apply only to BIPOC women or mothers. Others may specify that applicants must live in certain areas or meet GPA requirements.
What are the eligibility criteria for applying for MBA scholarships?
Each MBA scholarship for women on this list has its own application criteria. Some are demographic parameters, while others are only available to women of color. Other scholarships require applicants to have certain college GPAs, strong resumes, or letters of recommendations from leaders who can vouch for their character or academic achievement.
How can I find MBA scholarships that align with my academic and professional goals?
Start by searching for scholarships only eligible for MBA students who match your personal identity. For instance, the American Statistical Association (ASA) offers its ASA Pride Scholarship for members of the LGBTQ+ community or allies enrolled in data science programs.
Are there any restrictions on the types of MBA programs or business schools I can attend if I receive a scholarship?
Like its specific application criteria, each MBA scholarship for women on this list has particular expectations for candidates' business programs and career goals. Some scholarships require that applicants pursue full-time business school programs. Other programs expect that applicants will enroll in graduate programs within a specific time frame after receiving the award.
Can international students also apply for these MBA scholarships?
Some scholarships on this list are available to international women. The Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship is available to women around the world if they live in a Zonta Club district or region. The Chicana Latina Foundation also accepts international students' applications if they have lived in specific California counties for two years or more.
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