MBA programs at top universities offer a wide range of financial aid opportunities to attract female students. Business scholarships give female candidates with financial need a leg up in securing their business education. This article covers some of the most promising initiatives for women in business.
In 2020, women held 24 percent of corporate board seats in Europe and North America (up from 20 percent in 2019). By 2022, that number rose to 29 percent, representing more than a 20 percent increase over two years and a near 50 percent increase over three years. While the numbers are certainly improving, there are still miles to go to achieve gender parity in business across the globe.
One simple solution lies in higher education. A master's degree in business administration opens doors to high-paying leadership roles in various industries. A business education can prepare students for lucrative careers in areas like engineering, aerospace and defense, and executive leadership. So, why do women represent only 41 percent of MBA candidates when they constitute more than half of the global population?
Many philanthropic organizations are working to address this disparity through women's scholarships, fellowships, and financial aid opportunities. These graduate scholarships range from waived tuition fees to full tuition, allowing female students to take an important step toward becoming future women in business.
This article provides information on women and MBA scholarships. It covers the following topics:
As of 2022, eight percent of CEOs were female. This certainly isn't due to a lack of leadership potential. The Harvard Business Review notes, "Research has shown that firms with more women in senior positions are more profitable, more socially responsible, and provide safer, higher-quality customer experiences."
The dearth of female graduate students in MBA programs hurts more than just women. Diversity correlates directly with increased innovation, which drives market growth. Companies that take advantage of this knowledge are more likely to thrive. Businesses face real consequences when they fail to recruit female candidates for executive leadership roles. With an MBA degree, these women are well-suited to nab top-tier positions and, in turn, spur success for their organizations.
Women's scholarships for business administration are, thankfully, numerous. This section covers some of the most prominent and lucrative opportunities out there for female applicants. Bear in mind that new scholarships are released frequently. Be sure to supplement this list with additional research.
The Forté Foundation fellowship programs offer much more than financial assistance to their Forté Fellows. The organization is well-known for providing ongoing support and networking opportunities in addition to fellowships and school grants. These awards are available for full-time, part-time, and executive MBA students applying to specific schools. To date they've awarded more than $334 million to 13,000 Forté Fellows.
The Forté Fellows selection process includes a rigorous scholarship application. Students must show excellent extracurricular activities, GMAT scores, GPAs, and work experience.
The Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund (JFR) provides scholarships for low-income women 35 years and older looking to build better lives through post-secondary education. Its mission is to inspire a better world by empowering women through education. Today, the organization has awarded more than $4 million directly to 1,300 women seeking business degrees.
National Scholar Grants go to applicants who demonstrate financial need and provide recommendations and personal essays.
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business offers The Herman Family Fellowship for Women Entrepreneurs every year to support female students seeking MBA degrees. Chicago Booth also provides many other merit-based awards with varying application requirements.
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) career grant supports women pursuing MBA degrees. In the 2022-2023 academic year, the association awarded over $6 million in grants to women in business. Primary consideration goes to women of color.
If you're considering studying abroad, London Business School is a great choice. It offers full-tuition grants to multiple female MBA candidates per year. All eligible candidates are automatically considered upon applying to the school.
INSEAD, another international graduate business school, offers a full-tuition ride for women who win their prestigious Judith Connelly Delouvrier Endowed Scholarships. Female applicants must submit essays on why they should receive the award as "meritorious scholars."
The HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management offers merit-based scholarships to female MBAs in its part-time and full-time programs. Applicants must provide proof of high academic performance and excellent GMAT or HHL entry test scores.
MBA scholarship programs are just one avenue by which women can pursue support. Even post-graduation, organizations are keen to elevate and celebrate female leaders and entrepreneurs in business. Here are some additional opportunities to consider.
Nonprofit organization C200 is "... changing the face of business, one woman at a time." Its mission is to inspire, educate, celebrate, and advance current and future women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. It has awarded over $1.68 million to 13,000 women in business through reach-out programs. It also offers a protegé program to help female business owners thrive with the assistance of mentors.
Working for Women "facilitates strategic partnerships between businesses committed to affecting social change and nonprofits focused on supporting the success of women who are economically marginalized." It provides this support via financial and skill-based contributions for women in business.
The U.S. government also provides support for women in business via the U.S. Small Businesses Administration. "The Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) helps women entrepreneurs through programs including business training, counseling, federal contracts, and access to credit and capital." The office also provides financial assistance for female entrepreneurs running U.S.-based businesses.
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