I am preparing for my first MBA admission interview that will take place in a couple of days. I wonder how should I respond if I ever get asked about my plan if I do not get the scholarship I have been aiming for.

A little background: I can only take an MBA if I get a full scholarship. Without a full scholarship, I simply cannot afford the whole tuition and living costs. Even if I do, I doubt the ROI will be good, given that I'm already 35 years old and MBA salary in my country (Indonesia) is not high enough to justify the total costs (retirement age in my country is 55).

I have applied for a full, government-sponsored scholarship and will know the result in mid December. That one scholarship is the only full scholarship I know that will cover MBA in my chosen university. If I don't get it, no back up plan, my whole MBA plan ends.

If I tell the interviewer that I will not be able to proceed if I don't get the scholarship, will it hurt my candidacy? How will the admission see this problem? Do you have any suggestions on what to say?

  • 2
    Is there a published deadline for accepting an offer of admission? If you'll know the result of your scholarship application before said deadline, then you can decline the offer in good conscience.
    – Moriarty
    Nov 3, 2015 at 16:35
  • 1
    @Moriarty Usually schools give 1 month. I will know the scholarship result within that time frame. But should I let the interviewer / admission know that I cannot pay for the MBA if I don't get the full scholarship? How should I say it?
    – stelle
    Nov 3, 2015 at 16:47
  • 1
    Who is providing the scolarship? Is it also the university?
    – Davidmh
    Nov 3, 2015 at 17:14
  • @Davidmh No, I'm applying to a government-sponsored scholarship (my government).
    – stelle
    Nov 3, 2015 at 17:22
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    @stelle you should include that point, it may make a difference. Also, specifying your country may provide some context, if you are willing (I can infer it from your profile, though).
    – Davidmh
    Nov 3, 2015 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


I recommend being forthright with your interviewer: Answer if asked, but don't volunteer excessive information such as an explanation of why a scholarship is your only option. Aim for factual and try to avoid appearing as if you are seeking pity or extra consideration for your circumstances.

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