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Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship

Reliance Industries generously created the Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program to support Indian nationals living in India who need financial assistance in obtaining an MBA at Stanford.

Stanford GSB has a strong emphasis on global management education. Stanford GSB is proud to have enrolled many Indian students over the years; they are a vital part of our student body and provide our community with direct and personal insight into an emerging global economy that also is the world’s largest democracy. We hope this fellowship encourages talented and motivated Indian men and women who may not otherwise apply to the business school because of financial concerns.

The Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program provides future Indian leaders with the educational foundation to effect positive change in India. Fellows return to India to lead organizations that are at the forefront of growth and development in the rapidly emerging Indian economy.

Each year, Stanford may award up to five fellowships:

  • Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows will receive financial support for the cost of tuition and associated fees for each year of the two-year Stanford MBA Program (approximately $145,000 total).
  • Within two years of completing their Stanford MBA studies, Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows are required to return to India for a period of at least two years to work for an Indian organization.
  • Upon their return to India, Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows are integral members of Stanford University, Stanford GSB, and Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows communities.

Process and Evaluation Criteria

  1. Apply for Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program
  2. Apply to Stanford MBA Program
  3. Attend Stanford MBA Program
  4. Return to work in India for at least two years

Stage 1: Complete the Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program Application

Up to 50 Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows finalists will be selected based on:

  • Merit
  • Commitment to developing India
  • Financial need

Stage 2: Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program Finalists Complete the Standard Application Process for the Stanford MBA Program

As part of the MBA admission process, Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program finalists must meet all Stanford GSB application requirements, including submission of GMAT or GRE and IELTS, PTE, or TOEFL if applicable.

Stanford may select up to five Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows each year from among the finalists based on our primary admission criteria:

  • Intellectual vitality
  • Demonstrated leadership potential
  • Personal qualities and contributions

Important Dates

01 April 2014 - 13 June 2014 Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program application available online
13 June 2014
(12:00pm Pacific Time)
Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program application submission deadline
11 July 2014 Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program finalists notified
11 July 2014 - October 2014 Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program finalists prepare and submit Stanford MBA application
October 2014 Stanford MBA Program application due
December 2014 Stanford releases admission decisions, including those for Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows
September 2015 Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows matriculate in Stanford MBA Program

Application Materials

The application includes:

  • Educational history and scores: 10 board exams, 12 board exams, Joint Entrance Exam (JEE), and/or Common Admission Test (CAT). You may also submit the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and/or Graduate Record Examination (GRE), if available. These are optional at the fellowship application stage. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll be required to take one of these exams as part of your application to the MBA Program. If you went to an undergraduate college or university where the language of instruction was not English, you may also be required to take an English-language exam.
  • Awards and honors (academic or social)
  • Employment history
  • One-page resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • 250-word essay
  • Individual financial information

Frequently Asked Questions

How many people do you admit to the MBA Program? How many from my country? How many from my industry?

Stanford builds a class of approximately 400 MBAs for each enrolling class. The specific candidates admitted to Stanford GSB each year vary depending on the applicant pool. There are neither quotas nor targets. All admitted applicants are outstanding individuals who will contribute to a stimulating, diverse educational experience. The Stanford MBA community comprises students from a wide range of backgrounds. While we consider — among other aspects — an applicant’s gender; ethnicity; nationality; and personal, professional, and academic experiences, remember that we admit individuals, not categories of people.

What is the aim of the Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai MBA Fellowship Program?

Reliance Industries, Ltd. created the Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship at Stanford GSB to support promising Indian students with financial need in obtaining an MBA at Stanford. This fellowship program, made possible by a generous gift from Reliance Industries, Ltd., allows Stanford to extend its reach within India to the best and brightest MBA candidates, regardless of their financial situation. Reliance and Stanford are dedicated to developing the next generation of leaders in India who are committed to the country’s human and socio-economic progress. Incorporating a greater number of Indian students into the Stanford GSB community enhances our efforts to develop insightful, principled, and innovative future leaders who will have the opportunity to change the world.

Is Stanford accepting more Indian students in the MBA Program as a result?

We make admission decisions person by person, not group by group. There are no quotas or targets in the admission process. Each Stanford MBA class typically reflects the applicant pool, so the specific number and the backgrounds of candidates admitted each year vary depending on the applicant pool at the time. The one constant is that we always offer admission to students who will contribute to a stimulating, diverse educational experience. While we consider gender; ethnicity; nationality; and personal, professional, and academic experiences, among other aspects, we ultimately admit individuals and not categories of people. Through the Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship, we are encouraging individuals who might never have thought it possible to apply and attend Stanford GSB. If that occurs, then it would be likely that more Indian students would apply and enroll at Stanford.

Why are you doing this in India?

We recognize the importance of India’s voice in the global marketplace and within our classrooms. Stanford’s international reputation as a leader in management education is built on the quality and diversity of our students, whose broad range of experiences and backgrounds fosters a distinctively collaborative community. Indian students are an important part of the student body at the school, as they provide direct and personal insight into an emerging global economy that has a powerful impact on business and management. We place tremendous importance on educating and preparing the future generation of Indian leaders, in both the public and private arenas, to produce positive change and growth within the country — and educating the student body about India’s potential.

What is the value of a Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship?

Each Reliance Dhirubhai Fellow will receive financial support for tuition and fees associated with the Stanford MBA. This is approximately $145,000 total per student. The cost of attendance is described in the MBA Financial Aid section. All Stanford MBA students, regardless of citizenship, are eligible for financial assistance based on demonstrated financial need. If your need is greater than the support provided by the fellowship, you may be eligible for additional assistance through a combination of other fellowship and educational loans.

Are Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows obligated to work for Reliance? Am I at an advantage if I would like to work for Reliance?

There is no obligation for Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows to work for Reliance Industries Ltd. at any point in the process or in the future. Reliance Industries Ltd. would, however, be very amenable to speaking with Fellows who express an interest in career opportunities with Reliance.

What happens if, after my MBA, it takes me longer than two years to return to India? Would I need to repay my fellowship?

Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows are required to return to India to work within two years of graduation from the Stanford MBA Program. If you do not, you will be required to repay the fellowship funding you have received.

What happens if I do not remain in India for at least two years after receiving my MBA? Would I need to repay my fellowship?

Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows will be required to repay all fellowship funding to Reliance Industries Ltd. if they do not remain in India for at least two years.

What kind of company do I have to work for upon completion of my MBA studies?

Given their broad range of interests, Stanford MBA students pursue many different types of career opportunities as alumni. For example, you can work for a major corporation, lead a nonprofit, serve in government, head an educational institution, develop a life sciences company, run a factory, or succeed in organizations of every size and description. However, Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows are required to work for an Indian-based organization upon their return. Examples of Indian organizations with significant presence or headquarters in country include Reliance Industries Ltd., Teach for India, the Government of India, Tata Consultancies, Piramal Pharmaceuticals, UNESCO India, India Institute of Technology (IIT), Hindustan Times, SafeExpress, etc. Ultimately Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows will apply the management and leadership skills learned at Stanford to developing the Indian economy.

If I'm selected as a finalist, how will I be notified? And what are the next steps?

Your decision will be posted in your online application. If you’re chosen as a finalist, your notification letter will outline your next steps.

Do I need to be a citizen of India to apply?

Yes, you must be an Indian citizen and you must be living in India, either studying or working there, to apply for the Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship. Furthermore, all Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows must return to India within two years of graduation to work there for a period of at least two years.

What are you looking for in Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows?

In selecting up to 50 Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship finalists, we will consider academic and professional merit, commitment to developing India, and financial need, based on a review of each individual’s personal resources.

What are you looking for in Stanford MBA applicants?

The Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship finalists will be evaluated according to the same criteria as all other applicants to the Stanford MBA Program. All Stanford MBA applicants are evaluated on intellectual vitality, demonstrated leadership potential, and personal qualities and contributions.

What if I'm not selected as a Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship finalist? May I still apply to the Stanford MBA Program through the regular application process?

Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship finalists must apply in Round 1 to be eligible for the fellowship. From the applications submitted, we aim to select up to 50 finalists who will be able to apply to the Stanford MBA Program at no charge. From those 50 finalists, Stanford ultimately will select up to five Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows and up to five alternates. Finalists who aren’t selected for the fellowship may still be admitted to the Stanford MBA Program and given the opportunity to apply for other types of financial aid. Those who aren’t selected as finalists are still welcome to apply to the MBA Program in any round.

What are the educational requirements for admission for students educated outside of the United States?

See the Admission section.

May current university students apply to the Stanford MBA Program? Is work experience required?

Work experience is not required. You know best when the time is appropriate to pursue an MBA education. We accept outstanding students — and that includes students who enroll directly from an undergraduate or graduate program without full-time work experience. Candidates enrolling directly from university usually have an extensive record of extracurricular leadership, as well as superb academic credentials. These students are mature and self-confident and can also effectively articulate the reasons why they wish to attend business school now.

May I apply if I already have an MBA?

If you already have an MBA or a similar degree in management studies, you’re eligible to apply to the Stanford MBA Program. We would not encourage you to do so, however, without a compelling reason. You may wish to review our course offerings to see how much of the program would be repetitious. Then, if you decide to apply, make a compelling case in both your Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship application and your Stanford MBA Program application to explain why you want to pursue another MBA education.

What about the visa process?

Stanford University will assist you in the visa process once you’re admitted to the Stanford MBA Program. The first step will be to determine which visa is right for you. Most students study under the F-1 visa. Detailed information will be sent to you upon your admission to Stanford Graduate School of Business.

What are the costs associated with applying for the Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program this year (2014)?

The pre-application process is free of charge for prospective Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows. If you’re selected as a finalist, your application fee to the Stanford MBA Program also will be waived. You will, however, need to pay fees associated with the required aptitude exams (GRE or GMAT), language proficiency exams (IELTS, PTE, or TOEFL) if needed, and financial assistance verifications.

What are the costs of attending?

The Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship will cover financial costs related to tuition and associated fees for the Stanford MBA Program.

How do you determine an applicant's financial need?

Financial need is determined as the cost of attendance for one year minus your student contribution based on a review of your personal resources (annual household income; cash savings; investments, including retirement accounts; and home equity).

How will applicants demonstrate financial need (e.g., what documentation will you require?)

Students will ultimately be required to complete the financial aid applications and submit copies of their tax returns and other documentation. Information about the process is available in the MBA Financial Aid section. Intentionally reporting incorrect information may result in the withdrawal of the award and/or withdrawal of our offer of admission to Stanford Graduate School of Business.

What if I qualify for partial financial aid (e.g., I come from a middle-class family that can afford some, but not all, of the costs of attendance)? Is the Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship an all-or-nothing program?

The fellowship is a full fellowship to cover tuition and associated fees for two years, approximately $145,000. If you’re not selected as a Reliance Dhirubhai Fellow, but are admitted to the Stanford MBA Program, we would encourage you to complete the standard financial aid process, since the school has a number of other need-based financial resources to assist students.

Last Updated 1 Apr 2014