Find expert advice in the summary of the Q&A live session conducted by PrepAdviser in April 2015. Iliana Bobova, Head of Admissions Consulting at PrepAdviser, answers questions from potential applicants from different parts of the world. Candidates are at different stages of their preparation for MBA or Master’s admission.

Q: Do I have to obtain a scholarship before applying or will the scholarship refund the fees already paid?

A: Application for a scholarship is part of the overall application process. Sometimes the scholarships application deadline may be even earlier. I am not aware of scholarship options which can refund fees which you have already paid.

Q: I would like to know if there are possibilities to win a graduate assistantship for the MBA program! I can't afford to pay for the program so I am taking into consideration the graduate assistantship. What criteria do I have to meet in order to receive a graduate assistantship? Thank you in advance for your answer!

A: Graduate assistantships are more common in US universities. The requirements may vary from being a sports professional in order to coach the college team, to teaching undergraduate students some courses you are proficient in – such as English, Maths, etc. In these cases, you need to show expertise in the field. The GMAT is not the only criterion for a graduate assistantship. The requirements are also based on the skills which you will need in order to do the work expected from you. Also, if you are awarded an assistantship, you will you will be required to maintain a high GPA.

Q: I am looking for MBA programmes that don't necessarily require the GMAT. Do you know if there are any scholarships that don't require a GMAT score?

A: Sure. There are scholarships which do not require a GMAT score. They are based on other requirements – such as gender, citizenship, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, area of specialisation, etc.

Q: I was wondering if you are aware of any scholarships focused on students from emerging markets - specifically Africa.

A: Yes, there certainly are business schools which are interested in attracting students from Africa to their MBA classes.

Q: Am I eligible for a scholarship, haven't yet taken my GMAT?

A: There are scholarships which do not require GMAT. However, my advice to you would be to get the maximum score possible in the GMAT and then select the schools to apply to based on your score and the scholarship requirements.

Q: Are there any scholarships specifically for India applicants?

A: Competition among Indian applicants is very high. To increase your chances you need: 1. an appropriate school selection and a perfect match between your post-MBA goals and what the programme can provide; 2. a very high GMAT score; 3. a really interesting profile and potential for unique contribution to the MBA class.

Q: Apart from scoring 700+ GMAT, what other criteria should I meet for a full scholarship for a part-time MBA at a top 50 business school?

A: I think that the chances of winning a full scholarship for a part-time programme are very limited. Part-time programmes allow you to keep working and to support yourself during the studies. That is why scholarships for part-time programmes are limited and full scholarships are rare.

Q: I would like to know what steps you should incorporate into your profile to enhance the chances of getting a better scholarship.

A: You should first check the scholarship requirements and then illustrate in your application package that you meet them.

Q: I also wanted to clarify whether your chances of getting into a college through a scholarship application is lesser than a normal one?

A: Normally business schools first decide whether to admit you to the programme and then decide whether to give you a scholarship. So, you may be admitted, but not get a scholarship. In this case, you should have a back-up plan about how to finance your studies or you will not be able to enrol in the programme.

Q: My understanding is that awarding someone a scholarship is a mixture of several criteria - experience, GMAT result and potential. Is this correct?

A: To improve your chances of winning a scholarship you should select the school and programme carefully so that: 1. you are a strong applicant overall for the programme; 2. you meet the full requirements of the scholarship (they may vary - nationality, potential, gender, test scores, etc.). I would like to highlight that each school has its own specific requirements for the different types of scholarships.

If you were unable to join this live chat on how to win the best MBA scholarships, you can still post your questions in the Forum and Blog. Take the opportunity to join our next chat sessions covering a variety of topics on MBA and Master’s admissions which are usually held on Thursdays, 1-2 pm CET.