Harvard | Mr. Political Consultant
GRE 337, GPA 3.85
Stanford GSB | Mr. Singing Banking Lawyer
GMAT 720, GPA 110-point scale. Got 110/110 with honors
Berkeley Haas | Ms. 10 Years Experience
GMAT To be taken, GPA 3.1
MIT Sloan | Mr. Refinery Engineer
GMAT 700- will retake, GPA 3.87
Yale | Ms. Social Impact AKS
GRE 315, GPA 7.56
Said Business School | Mr. Across The Pond
GMAT 680, GPA 2.8
Yale | Mr. Army Infantry Officer
GMAT 730, GPA 2.83
Wharton | Mr. Army & Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 360 Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
N U Singapore | Ms. Biomanager
GMAT 520, GPA 2.8
MIT Sloan | Mr. Low GPA Over Achiever
GMAT 700, GPA 2.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corp Finance
GMAT 740, GPA 3.75
Harvard | Mr. Improve Healthcare
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Wake Up & Grind
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Darden | Mr. Fintech Nerd
GMAT 740, GPA 7.7/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Minority Champ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Senior Energy Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.5
Harvard | Mr. Merchant Of Debt
GMAT 760, GPA 3.5 / 4.0 in Master 1 / 4.0 in Master 2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Indian Telecom ENG
GRE 340, GPA 3.56
Stanford GSB | Ms. East Africa Specialist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.34
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Nonprofit Social Entrepreneur
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Ms. Start-Up Entrepreneur
GRE 318 current; 324 intended, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Health Care Executive
GMAT 690, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Professional Boy Scout
GMAT 660, GPA 3.83
IU Kelley | Mr. Construction Manager
GRE 680, GPA 3.02
IU Kelley | Mr. Clinical Trial Ops
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.33

Financing Your MBA

An excerpt from the new book Case Studies & Cocktails by Carrie Shuchart and Chris Ryan

An excerpt from the new book “Case Studies & Cocktails” by Carrie Shuchart and Chris Ryan

Just thinking about the cost of an MBA is enough to give you a case of angina. But before you start searching for your insurance card and calling 911, remember that this is an investment in your future, an investment that should teach you the practical application of calculating an ROI (return-on-investment), which is almost certainly positive.

Funding for an MBA can come from a variety of sources. The most realistic ones are financial aid/loans—federal and private; personal savings, grants and fellowships, and work-study positions. The most unrealistic sources of money? Highly-paid part-time work, that really rich uncle, online poker, day trading, and insider trading (we’re kidding, of course).

And while everyone has to figure out how to pay, there is no universal approach. This part of MBA planning is unique to you. Your resources, school, citizenship, and credit history will all play major roles in defining your payment approach.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Check with your school for the latest in advice and resources; opportunities (particularly for international students) will differ from place to place. This is a massive undertaking, it’s complicated, and there are people throughout your school who have much more experience with this stuff. Just because it has to do with money and you’re in an MBA program doesn’t mean that you’re expected to know all of the answers.

Financial aid officers, as well as other students, are great resources. Ultimately, though, finding the right mix of loans will take time and effort on your part. At least there are a lot of free pizza lunches in your future.


The majority of funding for loans comes from the federal government. However, times (and terms) have most likely changed since you last applied for federal student loans. As of the 2010-2011 school year, many loan products will be appearing under new names:

The Stafford Loan is now called the Direct Loan.

The Grad PLUS Loan is now called the Direct Grad PLUS Loan.

These name changes are a result of changes in the law; all future Stafford and PLUS loans will come directly from the U.S. government.

Federal Perkins Loans, which, according to Lend Genius, are common for many undergraduate students, are much less useful for business school students since these loans require demonstrated financial need, are limited to $8,000 a year, and are capped by a $60,000 lifetime limit. If you have Perkins loans at this amount from your college days and/or are unable to show need, you need to look at the other loan products. However, one of us had a little Perkins loan for business school; he always felt good paying it since it was administered directly by the university and came with an old school booklet with tear-out coupons for payments. With a fixed five percent interest rate, Perkins loans are as safe as houses and cheaper than the Direct loans, so if you qualify and you want Uncle Sam’s money, take this type of greenback first.

Many students rely on a compilation of the two Direct loans for the bulk of their financing, since these loans, in theory, can get you all the way to the school’s estimated budget. How much you can borrow is limited by the government and varies from school to school. (Remember that the ‘student budget’ your school provides is computed in accordance with federal requirements that assume a ‘modest’ lifestyle. Your school is not trying to be disingenuous when its room and board figures seem to imply that you will live with an actual roommate.) The chart below lays out a few of the characteristics of the key federal loans:


Direct Loan (Stafford)Direct Grad PLUS Loan
Maximum Amount$20,500 per yearThe school’s student budget minus any other financial aid received (including a Direct Loan)
Interest Rate6.8% (1.0% origination fee), fixed7.9% (4.0% origination fee), fixed
Interest Accrual

(how your overall bill grows while you’re in school)

Subsidized portions accrue no interest during enrollment, grace, and deferment periods

Unsubsidized portions accrue interest over the loan’s lifetime.

Interest accrues over the entire lifetime of the loan, regardless of your student status
EligibilityBased on demonstrated financial need

Available to U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens enrolled with half-time or greater course load

School must participate in program

Available to U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens enrolled with half-time or greater course load

Repayment TermsStandard repayment is 10 or 25 years

Repayment begins six months after graduation or when enrollment drops below half-time

Stanfard repayment is 10 or 25 years

Repayment begins six months after graduation or when enrollment drops below half-time