With all the talk about the intimidating cost of an MBA degree, you may assume that you have to pay for every cent of it. And while you may be willing to do this, you should familiarize yourself with opportunities for reducing the cost of the degree. In fact, admissions officers at top schools recommend that, if possible, you begin researching fellowships several years before you plan to apply to b-school. This may seem premature, but to have a chance at securing one of these coveted awards, you need to hit every note correctly in your application.
Haven’t had time to look into scholarships on your own? This series on business school scholarships will help familiarize you with the opportunities out there.
First up: the Forte Foundation Fellowship, one of the most prestigious and widely known MBA fellowships.
The foundation offers fellowships to women who are pursuing a full-time, part-time, or executive MBA education. Here is a sample of just some of the participating schools: HBS, Duke Fuqua, Columbia, Kellogg, LBS, Wharton, Tuck, Yale, Chicago Booth, and UNC Kenan-Flagler. To apply, you must submit an MBA application to the school. Admissions officers at that school will then determine who receives the Forte Fellowships available for students at that school.
What are the benefits?
In addition to the full or partial tuition fellowship, fellows will be exposed to valuable career opportunities at companies in the Forte network (sponsors include Bain & Company, Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs & Co, and UBS). Fellows also become lifelong members of the Forte network and gain exposure to Forte peers outside their own immediate business school circles.
A sample of just some of the benefits:
- Participation in the Annual MBA Women’s Conference and the Financial Services FAST Track Conference.
- Inclusion in the Forté resume book, distributed each fall to Forté member companies.
- Inclusion in the Forté fellow listserves, through which fellows can connect with first- and second-year Forté Fellows at member schools.
- Mentoring by Forté school representative
- Forte lunches and other special meeting opportunities with school deans
- Opportunities to mentor undergraduate women interested in business
What’s the selection process like?
Unlike other fellowship programs (like the one offered by the Consortium, which we’ll cover in another post), you need not apply specifically to the Forte Foundation to be considered. On most school applications, you will be able to check off a box that indicates you would like to be considered for the fellowship.
The website details the process:
- Student applies to Forté sponsor school.
- Student receives offer of acceptance into Forté sponsor school’s MBA Program.
- Student receives consideration for all scholarship opportunities available through that institution.
- Student is selected for Forté Fellowship based on competitive process at institution.
- Sponsor school notifies Forté Foundation of its selections.
Be sure to check out the Forte site for other great resources! Gain access to the career center, profiles of successful women in business, resources for prospective MBAs, and articles on achieving a successful work/life balance. Check out “Power is Redefined” from PINK magazine to get a sense of what’s available.
Any other tips?
All aspects of your profile (work experience, GPA and GMAT score, recommendations) are important. Do not count yourself out of consideration, however, if your GMAT score is not particularly high or if your GPA is decent but not impressive by your standards. If you win a fellowship, it will likely be because one aspect of your application is especially interesting, compelling or impressive. You need not be a superstar on every single level to have a shot.