On a day like today, I’m doing my happy dance. My MBA clients have been contacting me with good news from the schools to which they applied. Several of them have multiple offers with scholarships attached, which immediately present the question: Can they negotiate their scholarship offers?
Since most of you have yet to take your MBA negotiations class, I’ll give you a little advice…everything is negotiable. You have an offer of admission and unless you did something egregious that the schools discover in their background research, the school will not take that offer away from you. In fact, the schools want you to come to their programs so much that they’ve offered you scholarships, tuition discounts, or graduate assistantships to entice you away from other schools. You are in the power position, but you have limited time to act.
If you have multiple scholarship offers, you have even more power. So play the schools off each other. You will need to provide proof of funding and develop a clear statement of what it would take to have you deposit and attend that school. If school A matches school B’s offer, go back to school B and ask for more. Many schools have some wiggle room with scholarship offers. And the worst-case scenario is that school A will say “no” to your request and then there is no harm and no foul.
Caution: While you may be in the power position, remain likeable, respectful and courteous. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by coming off as arrogant. And if you have deposited at a school, you have diminished your position of power.
If you need additional consultation on this matter, we are available to help you construct the communication that in the words of one of my former clients made his “investment in Accepted.com a very positive ROI.”
By Natalie Grinblatt Epstein, an accomplished Accepted.com consultant/editor (since 2008) and entrepreneur. Natalie is a former MBA Admissions Dean and Director at Ross, Johnson, and Carey.