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Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship: Opportunity Of A Lifetime For Indian Students

The MBA program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business needs little introduction. Consistently ranked amongst the top 3 programs in the world, Stanford’s innovative curriculum, global outlook, and location at the heart of California’s Silicon Valley ensure its place as a dream school for most candidates. With average base salaries in the region on $150,000, the program acts as a stepping stone to a great career.

Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship can provide amazing resources to candidates applying for the school!

One of the inevitable challenges that comes with attending such a prestigious program is the exceptionally high costs of attendance. Tuition, books, accommodation, and other expenses at Stanford can total up to nearly $250,000, which can be a huge burden for incoming students, especially from economies like India where the exchange rate difference increases the financial pressure.

In light of these challenges, the Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship was founded to encourage talented candidates from India to apply to Stanford who may have not otherwise because of financial concerns.

What does it cover?

The Fellowship provides the selected students with financial assistance for approximately 80% of the tuition fees and associated costs for both years of their MBA program.

Who is it for?

The primary criteria for applying for the Fellowship is to be of Indian nationality and to currently be studying or working in India. Each year, up to 50 Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship finalists are selected, out of which up to 3 successful MBA candidates are awarded the Fellowship.

The Fellowship is designed to assist students who are committed to developing India across a variety of sectors. A key component of the Fellowship is that selected candidates are required to return to India within 2 years of graduation, and must work for an Indian company for a minimum of 2 years within 4 years of their graduation from the MBA program.

Breaking down the Application

The application for the Fellowship takes place before the main MBA application, normally in April-May, with the finalists announced in June. The components of the Fellowship application are,

  • Academic scores: This includes scores from 10th & 12th Board Exams, and if relevant, scores from the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) and the Common Admission Test (CAT).

  • Employment history: Candidates must provide details of all their full time employment roles. This section includes description of their work, their most significant contributions and the size of teams they have led (if applicable).

  • One page resume

  • Financial details: The Fellowship is intended for students with demonstrated financial need. Candidates have to provide details of their current income, savings, and other investments. At this stage, these figures are simply declared, with complete documentation required only at the time of receiving an MBA admit.

  • Awards & Honors

  • A 250 word essay on the topic, ‘How do you aspire to shape India’s future?’. The essay is a crucial component of the application as it allows candidates to express their ideas and ambitions about how they want to bring about a positive change in India.

  • GMAT/GRE scores are optional at the time of applying for the Fellowship.

Key Points to Remember

Unlike certain other fellowship and financial aid programs, the application process and material for the Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship are separate from the main MBA application i.e. one does not qualify for the Fellowship by only completing their MBA application.

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

  • Despite the name, applicants for the Fellowship are not expected to be employed with Reliance while applying, nor are they required to work with Reliance upon returning to India after their MBA.

  • Finalists must apply to the MBA program in round 1 or 2, with a strong preference for round 1.

  • Selected candidates must live and work in India for at least two years within four years of completing their MBA from Stanford. Failure to meet these conditions would require Fellows to repay the entirety of the fellowship funding they received.

  • Even though the Fellowship and MBA applications are separate, they are evaluated by the same teams. So while the content across the applications will differ, it is important to maintain a consistency in vision and ambitions across the two applications.

  • Finalists selected for the Fellowship receive a waiver for the $250 Stanford MBA application fee.

The dream of doing a top global MBA for many Indian students is inherently linked with pursuing a career in foreign countries. However, for those who wish to experience all the benefits of one of the best MBAs in the world, and also make a difference in India, the Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship is a pathway to make that dream a reality.

Hear about the fellowship directly from an Indian candidate who received the scholarship and made it into the Stanford’s MBA Class of 2021!

Missed the deadlines for the fellowship? You can still apply for the Knight Hennessy Scholarship in Round 1. Learn more about the scholarship here.

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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.

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