01 Sep 2017
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What Fellowships Make Possible

See the many benefits derived from this robust program
Re: Nitin Nohria; Felix Oberholzer-Gee

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The foundation of Harvard Business School’s MBA Program is need-blind admissions: a commitment to ensuring that every student, regardless of their background or financial means, is able to attend the School through a generous combination of outright aid and access to loans. This is only one aspect of HBS’s robust fellowship program; over time, the School has also developed summer exploration fellowships for those who want to try out new careers between their first and second years, as well as loan assistance programs that encourage recent graduates to pursue their passions — no matter what the salary, sector, or location.

The impact of the fellowship program is hard to overstate. In addition to the significant benefits to the recipients themselves, there are countless indirect beneficiaries, including other HBS students, the faculty, Harvard, the community, and, ultimately, society at large. Fellowships at HBS are established and supported almost entirely by alumni and friends — donors who have created named funds as well as those who contribute annually to the HBS Fund for Leadership and Innovation. These gifts have a direct and deep impact on the School’s ability to deliver a transformational educational experience.

“Fellowships bring together individuals from different circumstances who each have their own dreams of how they might make the world a better place,” notes Felix Oberholzer-Gee, the Andreas Andresen Professor of Business Administration and senior associate dean and chair of the MBA Program. The School’s success in educating future leaders requires that its students represent a variety of backgrounds. “Imagine a case discussion where everyone agrees,” says Oberholzer-Gee. “That would be a very short discussion.”

Clearly, the diversity of the student body is crucial to the HBS educational model, which relies heavily on peer-to-peer learning. In case discussions, in the field, and throughout the residential campus, students learn a tremendous amount from each other. As women and men with different experiences — varied by geography, industry, and education — engage with one another they get a better sense of themselves and a deeper understanding of the complexities of our global society.

With a commitment to attracting the most talented students to Soldiers Field, HBS periodically pilots new programs aimed at making the School accessible to and inclusive of all students. The new Forward Fellowship, for example, is designed to attract more students from modest socioeconomic backgrounds and to help them get the most out of their HBS experience by offering supple mental fellowship awards.

“There is nothing more powerful than a great education to change the arc of not just one person’s life but their family’s,” says Dean Nitin Nohria, himself a beneficiary of a fellowship for his graduate education. By every measure, those who support the HBS fellowship program are broadening access to the extraordinary experience that the School provides. The ripple effect of their generosity is evident far beyond the HBS campus.

photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

“Fellowships bring together individuals from different circumstances who each have their own dreams of how they might make the world a better place.”

Felix Oberholzer-Gee, the Andreas Andresen Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean and Chair of the MBA Program

 

MBA Fellowships: At-A-Glance

Keeping HBS Accessible and Enriching Learning for Everyone

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