Top B-Schools Fight for Best Students
Although applications are down at most business schools, competition for top MBA candidates is heating up, according to a Dec. 12 article on CNNMoney (money.cnn.com, 2011). Alison Davis-Blake, dean of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, even referred to the competition as "an arms race."
The article indicated that at four of the top 20 business schools in the U.S., including Harvard and Yale, the average scholarship awarded to students has increased by 100 percent or more since the 2004-05 academic year. Competition among business schools to stay at the top of MBA rankings is partly responsible for the dramatic rise in scholarship awards, the article said.
"The race has gotten so hot, so fast, that schools are using operating money to pay for a lot of these scholarships," Davis-Blake said. "No one had ever, ever done that in MBA land. Almost everybody is doing it now."
B-schools are also fighting against a slowed economy, and increased competition from schools in Europe and Asia. At schools like Harvard, the motivation is simple: to attract the very best students, and allow them to leave b-school with less debt than other MBA grads.
In fact, Harvard is one of few b-schools that will disclose scholarship information. The article states that the school awarded financial aid to about half of its 901 MBA candidates. A spokesman for the school estimated that with scholarships and fellowships combined, the amount of financial aid awarded per year is around $28 million.