Scholarship Guide | From Columbia to Harvard, Pursue MBA from Top Colleges without CAT – News18

Studying abroad can be financially challenging for many meritorious students who often opt out due to the expensive course fee, visa charges, accommodation and food expenses. Therefore, scholarships help many to pursue their dreams.

News18 ‘Scholarship Guide’ brings the best and most prestigious grants for Indian students to study abroad, with most of them covering flight tickets, accommodation and course fee; and some also providing stipend.

From Harvard to Columbia, the top business schools are looking for meritorious candidates. And you don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket to study there. Several scholarship options are available for students, including those from India, to study at highly ranked colleges across the globe, that too, without cracking the highly competitive CAT (common admissions test).

“Securing a spot and scholarship at a globally recognised MBA school is an attainable goal with a well-crafted strategy. It’s crucial to tailor your application meticulously to match the specific requirements of each MBA programme, which can vary considerably. While a commendable CAT score is valuable, most global institutions typically require GMAT or GRE scores for admissions. Merit-based scholarships, such as those offered by institutions like INSEAD and Harvard University, are awarded based on academic performance, test results, and career achievements, necessitating high GPA and GMAT scores,” Sayantani Biswas, Co-Founder of UniScholars — a study abroad consultancy platform.

News18 brings the top-ranked institutes as per the FT and QS Rankings and shares the top scholarship options available for students.

Columbia Business School

Ranked as the best MBA school globally by the Financial Times Ranking, Columbia Business School offers partial-tuition scholarships to deserving students. Usually, the scholarship amount ranges from USD 10,000 to USD 30,000. Columbia in its official website states that the average award given to a student is roughly USD 20,000.

Who can apply: Those who are applying to Columbia by fulfilling all other criteria can apply for the scholarships.

Selection Procedure: Students’ financial documents including tax files and family finances will be considered. The university also sees the academic merit of the students.

Where to apply:

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford’s business school is ranked first by the QS MBA rankings and fourth by FT rankings. Stanford has many financial options for students including the BOLD fellows fund.

Building Opportunities for Leadership Diversity (BOLD) Fellows Fund aims to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to pursue an MBA at Stanford.

Who can apply: People who are from low-income families can apply for the scholarship. The applicant also needs to prove that they will provide funds or support their family after the MBA.

Selection Procedure: Applicants need to fulfil other admission requirements. They also need to provide proof of funds including tax statements and salary slips.

Where to apply:

Harvard Business school

Harvard Business School is ranked second by QS MBA ranking and is in the top 5 MBA institutes of the world, according to the FT MBA ranking. According to Harvard, “Approximately, 50% of students receive a need-based scholarship from HBS and the average scholarship is approximately $46,000 per year, or $92,000 total.”

There are many options for international students to pursue an MBA at Harvard including Banyan Tree. The Boustany Foundation scholarship offers 75% of the tuition fees, travel, and accommodation expenses of the students.

Who can apply: Students from any nationality can apply. Students need to submit their GMAT score and acceptance letter to the university.

Selection Procedure: Students’ background including academic performance and marks in the entrance exam and curriculum vitae will be considered. Shortlisted candidates will be called for an interview after which beneficiaries will be selected.

Successful scholars are expected to complete a two-month unpaid internship with the foundation.

Where to apply:


The France-based institute is placed second by the FT Rankings while it got ninth spot in the QS MBA ranking. The institute offers need and merit-based scholarships, and spot scholarships, which are awarded immediately without an applications based on exceptional admission profiles.

The INSEAD Christoph Rubeli MBA’92D Endowed MBA Scholarship offers grants worth €20,000-€25,000.

Who can apply: Students from any nationality can apply. They need to be academically meritorious.

Selection Procedure: Candidates need to showcase outstanding academic achievements, leadership experience, and growth potential.

Where to apply:

IESE Business School, University of Navarra

The Spain-based business school is ranked as the 10th best institute by QS Global MBA Rankings and third in the world by FT Rankings.

The institute offers several scholarships including the IESE Alumni Association Scholarship, which offers a 50% fee waiver, the IESE Leaders in Non-Profit & Public Sector Scholarship for those who wish to pursue a career in a not-for-profit industry, the IESE Diversity Scholarship for under-represented groups, and many others.

We are discussing the IESE MBA scholarship programme. As part of the scholarship, students will get a maximum amount of €5,000 per year.

Who can apply: Candidates applying for a two-year MBA degree at the institute can apply. Priority will be given to candidates with financial needs. Applicants also should have two years of work experience.

Selection Procedure: Candidates will have to submit a CV, academic transcript, GMAT score, essay justifying their candidacy for the award, and two letters of recommendation.

Where to apply:

“When selecting an MBA college abroad, the weightage given to rankings varies and should be considered as one of several crucial factors in the decision-making process. While rankings can provide a helpful benchmark, it’s essential to recognise that they often emphasize certain criteria that may not align perfectly with an individual’s priorities or career goals. One should consider a holistic approach, which includes evaluating factors such as the programme’s curriculum, faculty expertise, industry connections, and opportunities for practical experience. Engaging with alumni networks and assessing how well the programme aligns with your career aspirations are also crucial steps. While rankings can offer valuable insights, a comprehensive evaluation ensures that the chosen MBA programme is the right fit for one’s unique needs and ambitions,” said Biswas.