Mission Admission: Leveraging Financial Aid

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

Oh, the difference a day makes. One day, you are wondering whether you will get into any of your target business schools. The next day, you get a call from the admissions committee at your first-choice MBA program, and your life changes forever. Suddenly, with an acceptance letter in hand, you become more self-assured and start to contemplate whether you might receive any scholarships. Then, your second-choice school calls and offers you $10K. You now find yourself facing a tough choice: accept the offer from the second-choice school that comes with a scholarship or the offer from the first-choice program, even though it does not come with any funds.

In the short term, you do not need to make this choice. With your acceptance letters in hand, you can diplomatically leverage the financial aid offer you received from your second-choice school to influence your first-choice school’s decision to also offer you some form of funding. Once you have been accepted, your first choice might not be prepared to let you go and could find a way to offer you some financial assistance. Of course, diplomacy is key. If you make your request in too forceful a manner, you will only alienate the financial aid office, which may then decide to not offer additional resources to encourage you to choose the other school.

So tread carefully, but—with proper tact—you will not lose anything by asking for more.

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