I received an interesting direct message from a fellow Twitterer this morning. This MBA applicant writes:
do MBA programs negotiate at all about $ packages? I’d prefer to go to School A but School B gave me a pretty big merit scholarship.*
*I substituted School A and School B for the real names.
Yes and no. It’s not so much a matter of negotiation as information. If you go to School A and perhaps with a hint of hubris attempt to “negotiate” an aid package, you may just irritate. Irritation doesn’t usually lead to generosity.
However, if you inform School A of your dilemma and with humility ask them to help you solve this problem, namely that you really prefer School A but have been offered a generous scholarship from School B, you are simply a human being asking for help.
You are also demonstrating the people skills and grace that make you an even more attractive candidate. Furthermore you are giving them a chance to match School B, confirm an acceptance, and maintain their yield numbers.
It doesn’t work 100% of the time, but this can be an effective approach to a delightful dilemma.