As you probably already know, Get in, Get Connected, Get Hired – Lessons from an MBA Insider goes on sale at the end of the month. The book reviews some of the most important insights I’ve gleaned from working with prospective and current MBA students over the last 6+ years. Each week between now and the launch, I’ll preview a chapter.

Lesson 6 – Negotiate Like a Pro

So far, we’ve talked about understanding the purpose of the MBA, picking the right format, understanding and using rankings appropriately, and how to make a good impression during the recruiting process. And, last week, we discussed how to create a high-quality application that will help you stand out (in a good way) when reviewed by the admissions committee. Now, assuming you have been admitted to your top program, we discuss how to appropriately negotiate for scholarships and other types of funding.

Chapter 6 begins with a contrast of two conversations I had with admitted students. Both were hoping for additional funding. One choose to demand it in an aggressive and rude manner, while the other choose a more professional approach. Guess who received the extra funding…

After reading Chapter 6, you should have more clarity on the following questions:

  • When should you negotiate for additional funding? For instance, if your qualifications have changed since you applied, then you likely represent a more enticing candidate and have a demonstrable rationale for requesting more.
  • When shouldn’t you negotiate? Calling the admissions director and asking for additional funding because you don’t like debt isn’t likely to yield a positive outcome. Other poor reasons to negotiate are discussed.
  • What is the most effective way to negotiate? In this section we’ll discuss both what to do (set expectations, schedule an appointment, and keep it professional regardless of the outcome) and tactics to avoid at all costs (ultimatums, threats, and comparing offers between schools).

My hope is that the advice in this chapter will help deserving applicants maximize funding opportunities as they pursue a degree. After hundreds of conversations with admitted students about scholarships, I’ve witnessed effective approaches, ineffective approaches and disastrous approaches (in one case we revoked an admission offer to a student who was verbally abusive after not receiving the increase he was hoping for). This chapter will steer you to the former.

Next week, we shift gears – from “Get In” to “Get Connected.” In Chapter 7 we’ll talk about maximizing your experience as a student by doing more than just studying. We’ll also discuss how you can positively differentiate yourself by what you do outside the classroom.

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