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Knight-Hennessy Scholarship: Creating the leaders of tomorrow

The best universities across the globe are far more than simply academic institutions. They look to create an environment to foster the growth and success of the brightest minds of today, to create the leaders of tomorrow.

The Knight Management Center at Stanford is where all the action takes place.

Stanford University took another major leap towards this goal through the introduction of the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship in 2018, to identify students who can ‘out-think, out-work, and out-care’. Founded by Phil Knight (founder & CEO of Nike) and John Hennessy (10th President of Stanford University), the program is open to candidates across all postgraduate programs at Stanford’s seven schools.

What does it cover?

The scholarship is incredibly comprehensive and it includes all tuition and associated fees, a stipend for living and academic expenses, a travel grant for an annual return trip to/from Stanford, and also supplementary funds for academic requirements (such as conference travel).

What makes this scholarship unique is that it involves much more than simply financial assistance.

The program provides scholars with leadership development, mentorship, and experiential learning. Some of the ways in which this is achieved include,

  • Workshops and individual coaching sessions

  • Opportunities to interact with established leaders in informal and formal settings and develop meaningful relations with them.

  • Opportunities to work with mentors from the Distinguished Careers Institute and with members of the Global Advisory Board.

The scholars also have access to Denning House, an incredible new building on campus built for the program. This is the venue for the scholar’s meetings, lectures, recreational activities, and dinners.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars have access to the Denning House, an incredible new building in the heart of the university.

Who is it for?

The scholarship is open to candidates of all countries, from all backgrounds. To emphasize the diversity of the program, the 2020 cohort of Knight-Hennessy scholars includes students who are from 26 countries, 50 undergraduate institutions and are pursuing 39 programs at Stanford. The only unique eligibility criteria is that the candidate’s first/bachelor's degree must not be more than 6 years old. Therefore candidates applying to join Stanford in 2021 must have graduated in 2014 or later.

Breaking down the Application

The three primary criteria that assessed in selecting Knight Hennessy scholars are independence of thought, purposeful leadership, and civic mindset. As it is not a business specific program, there is a far greater emphasis on attributes such as leadership, self-awareness, persistence and so on.

The application for the Knight Hennessy Scholarship is separate from the main MBA application. There is only one application round, which is due in October. The main components of the application process are,

  • Undergraduate transcripts

  • Standardized test scores

  • One page resume

  • Recommendation letters: The Scholarship requires two recommendation letters which are different from the letters of recommendation for your MBA application. The recommenders can be the same individuals, though this is not a necessity.

  • The application also includes four short answer questions (150 words) and one 600 word essay on the topic ‘Connect the dots. How have the influences in your life shaped you?’

  • Video statement: Candidates are also required to record a video statement through the application on the topic ‘Teach something to your cohort of fellow Knight-Hennessy Scholars’. The video can be no longer than two minutes. The content of the video does not have to be academic, and is a great opportunity for candidates to showcase their creativity and passion.

After the application process, 130 candidates are invited to attend an Immersion Weekend at Stanford in March. This includes presentations, group activities, interviews, and social interactions. All expenses for this weekend are borne by Stanford.

The final decisions for the Scholarship are released in April.

Key Points to Remember

  • The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship is open to candidates across the globe, for all of Stanford’s post graduate programs.

  • The scholarship has a separate application which must be completed in parallel with the main MBA application.

  • There are no costs associated with applying for the program.

  • Selected candidates receive financial assistance for all their primary costs of attending Stanford, in addition to access to incredible leaders, career support, and a lifelong community of Knight Hennessy Scholars.

  • Candidates must apply to the MBA program in Round 1.

Studying at Stanford by itself is a life-changing experience for most students, but the introduction of the Knight Hennessy Scholarship has elevated this experience to even greater heights. For students who want to explore Stanford beyond their MBA studies, and thrive in a collaborative and engaging program, applying to this program should be an absolute priority!

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Abhinav is a commerce graduate of H.R. College of Commerce & Economics, Mumbai currently pursing a career in finance at Deloitte. He is an avid sports lover, particularly of badminton, cricket and football, and also enjoys playing the guitar.

He has an admit to the ISB PGP for the Class of 2022 through the YLP program.


Management Masters is a boutique admissions consulting firm for the top MBA and MIM programs in the world. We have helped our candidates get admits from the world's best business schools such as Wharton, Kellogg, Cambridge Judge, HEC Paris, Indian School of Business and others.

If you would like to work with us for your applications, drop us an email at

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