Mission Admission: Leveraging Scholarships

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 on the outside, wondering whether you will ever get into any of your target schools. Then, the next day, you get a call from the MBA admissions committee at your first-choice B-school, and your life changes forever. Suddenly, with an acceptance letter in hand, you become more self-assured and start to contemplate whether you will receive scholarships. Then, your second-choice school calls and offers you $10K. You now find yourself facing a tough choice: accepting 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 acceptance letters in hand, you can diplomatically leverage the financial aid offer you received from your second-choice school to influence the decision at your first. Once you have been accepted, your first choice just might not be prepared to let you go. 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 you will not lose anything by asking for more.

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