Application Requirements

Read this information carefully, as requirements to apply to this fellowship differ from the requirements for the Stanford MBA Program application.

Application Process and Timeline

1. Apply to the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship Program
(by 7 June 2017)

You will be asked to provide:


Educational history

  • Official transcripts are not considered at this stage. Finalists will be required to submit an unofficial copy of your transcripts in the MBA Application and will submit official copies upon admission to the MBA Program.
  • You may also submit the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and/or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), if available. These are optional at the fellowship application stage. If you are selected as a finalist, you’ll be required to take one of these exams as part of your application to the Stanford MBA Program.

Awards and honors (academic, professional, or personal)

Employment history

  • Letters of recommendation are not considered at this stage. Finalists will be required to submit two Letters of Recommendation in the MBA Application.

One-page resume or curriculum vitae (CV)

250-word essay addressing how you plan to make an impact in Africa

Individual financial information

2. Finalists notified
(30 June 2017)

Up to 100 finalists will be selected for the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship.

3. Finalists apply to Stanford MBA Program
(Round 1: 19 Sept 2017, Round 2: 10 Jan 2018)

Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship finalists must apply to the Stanford MBA Program in either round one or round two to be eligible for the fellowship. However, we strongly encourage you to apply in round one. Over the last few years, the number of applications we receive in round two has increased, making it more competitive. Submitting in round one also gives you more time to prepare and plan for the program, including completing the visa application process.

Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship finalists must submit the Stanford MBA Program application, including GMAT or GRE scores, and if applicable, one of the English language tests (IELTS, PTE, or TOEFL). Finalists may request up to one voucher to cover the cost of either the GMAT or GRE test. The MBA application fee will be waived for finalists.

4. Receive an offer of admission
(Round 1: 14 Dec 2017, Round 2: 29 March 2018)

Stanford GSB will select up to eight Stanford Africa MBA Fellows each year from among the finalists.

5. Enroll in two-year Stanford MBA Program
(September 2018)

6. Successfully complete the two-year Stanford MBA Program
(June 2020)

7. Within two years of graduation from the Stanford MBA Program, return to Africa
(June 2022)

Work in Africa - in a business, government, or non-profit organization - for at least two consecutive years.

Fellowship Eligibility and Requirements

Stanford Africa MBA Fellows must first be selected as finalists through the fellowship application process. Stanford will select up to 100 Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship finalists based on:

If you are not selected as a Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship finalist, you remain welcome to apply to the Stanford MBA Program in any application round and you will remain eligible to receive other forms of financial aid.


We evaluate three criteria when considering candidates for both the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship and the MBA Program: intellectual vitality, demonstrated leadership potential, and personal qualities and contributions that will add to the class. To learn more about the requirements and qualities we seek in candidates in the Admission section of our website.

Commitment to Developing Africa

You must be a citizen of an African country. Dual citizens are eligible for the fellowship as long as you hold citizenship of an African nation. Residents of an African country who do not have citizenship belonging to an African country are ineligible at this time.

You must have completed, or be in the final year of completing, your university studies. If you studied at an undergraduate or graduate institution in Africa, we especially encourage you to consider applying for the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship Program. African citizens who studied in countries outside of Africa are also eligible for the fellowship.

Stanford Africa MBA Fellows must return to work in Africa, within two years of Stanford MBA graduation, for a period of at least two years. Stanford MBA students pursue a wide variety of careers after graduation. As a Stanford Africa MBA Fellow, you will devote the management and leadership skills learned at Stanford to developing the African economy. As such, we expect Stanford Africa MBA Fellows to work for African organizations with significant operations and impact in the region. Please read our Frequently Asked Questions below for more information.

Financial Need

Stanford will determine your financial need based on personal financial information you submit in the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship application. After you are selected as a finalist and admitted to the MBA Program, you will complete Stanford’s financial aid application process, which requires information about your assets and income, including copies of your tax returns. For more information visit the Financial Aid section of our website.

All Stanford MBA students, regardless of citizenship, are eligible for financial assistance (including need-based fellowships) based on your demonstrated financial need. For international citizens, Stanford GSB offers loan programs that do not require a US co-signer.

Stanford Africa MBA Fellows receive financial support for the cost of Stanford MBA tuition and associated fees for the two-year course of study. You may be eligible for additional financial assistance if your level of need exceeds the amount of the fellowship (approximately $160,000 USD). Read more about the cost of attendance.

If you are not selected as a Stanford Africa MBA Fellow finalist, you may still apply to the Stanford MBA Program and be eligible to receive financial aid. Your financial aid package will be based on the need you demonstrate in your financial aid application and typically includes a combination of fellowships and loans.


Why is Stanford GSB doing this? Why Africa?

Stanford GSB is committed to changing lives, changing organizations, and changing the world. Our ultimate aim is to produce positive change in the region while educating Stanford GSB students about Africa’s intellectual capital and economic potential.

The African continent is large and diverse, and has a strong collective impact on the global marketplace. As such, it has a growing voice within our classrooms. In summer 2013, 10% of Stanford MBA students worked in Africa.

Africa is home to many of the world’s fastest growing economies yet the continent accounts for only a small fraction of global trade. Africa’s challenges and opportunities position this frontier market for growth, and Stanford GSB is excited to contribute.

Stanford GSB’s international reputation as a leader in management education is built on the quality and diversity of our students, whose broad range of experience and background fosters a distinctively collaborative community. African students are an important part of the student body at Stanford. You provide direct insight into an emerging global economy that will be increasingly powerful in the marketplace business. We place tremendous importance on educating and preparing the future generation of global leaders, in Africa and around the world, about the implications of Africa’s growth.

What does the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship pay for? What if I still can’t pay the remainder?

At minimum, the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship covers two years of tuition at the Stanford MBA Program, plus all associated fees (approximately $160,000). Stanford GSB also contributes to room, board, and other living expenses if you have additional financial need demonstrated in your financial aid application. See the Financial Need section above for more details.

Do I need to live in Africa to apply?

No. Residence in an African country is not required to be eligible for the Fellowship. You must be a citizen of an African country. Dual citizens are eligible for the Fellowship, as long as you hold citizenship of an African country. Residents of Africa who are not citizens of an African country are ineligible.

How many people do you admit? 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, please remember that we admit individuals, not categories of people.

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.

If I do not return to Africa within two years after my MBA, then would I need to repay my fellowship?

Yes. The Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship Program allows you the flexibility to gain experience and knowledge anywhere in the world after graduation from Stanford GSB. Within two years, however, you must return to Africa. By the time you are four years out of the Stanford MBA Program, you must have worked in Africa for at least two years.

If I do not work for two years in Africa, then would I need to repay my fellowship?

Yes, you would be required to repay the Fellowship funding you received, and also pay a penalty. The Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship is focused on contributing human capital to Africa. If you do not return to Africa within two years of graduating from the Stanford MBA Program, or if you do not remain in Africa for two years upon your return, you would be required to repay the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship.

Is Stanford accepting more students from Africa into the MBA Program because of the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship Program?

We do not have a target or quota for citizens from African countries. We expect the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship will encourage talented Africans to leverage the Stanford MBA experience to return to the continent to make a big impact. In this way, Stanford GSB will move toward our aspiration to change lives, change organizations, change the world.

Through the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship, we may encourage individuals who might otherwise never have thought it possible to apply to and attend the Stanford Graduate School of Business. If that occurs, then it would be likely that more African students would apply to and enroll at Stanford.

Ultimately the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship is about expanding opportunities for leaders in Africa to pursue a management education. We continue to make admission decisions person by person, not group by group. There are no quotas or targets in the admission process. The Stanford MBA class reflects the applicant pool, so the specific number and backgrounds of candidates admitted each year varies depending on that pool. This premise will continue to apply to candidates selected for the Stanford Africa MBA Fellows Program.

What does it mean to contribute to the economic development of Africa? May I start my own business? What if I want to be a social entrepreneur?

There are many ways to contribute to the growth and development of the African continent. Examples include working with households at the grassroots level, developing sustainable energy sources, or influencing large scale capital flows. Stanford GSB empowers people to envision what is possible and make it happen through principled leadership and creative problem solving.

There is no particular organization, industry, or sector that necessarily catalyzes change on the continent most effectively. The structure or type of the organization is secondary to the spirit and philosophy behind the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship. We expect Stanford Africa MBA Fellows to apply your leadership training to endeavors that benefit Africans. Stanford Africa MBA Fellows alumni would be welcome to start your own for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, or social enterprises as long as you aim to make an impact on the African economy.

What does Stanford offer related to Africa?

There are many resources available to Stanford MBA students interested in the African region:

Global Experiences Portfolio

MBA students fulfill a Global Experience Requirement (GER) to gain a rich perspective of global management issues, and experience life-changing insights about business in other contries. The GER is a graduation requirement and ensures that every MBA student broadens his or her understanding of the global context of management during the course of the MBA Program. This is a significant international experience that draws upon the MBA education in a structured and intellectually rigorous way.

In the past, Global Experiences have been offered in Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe among other African countries.

Around 10% of the Stanford MBA Class of 2014 worked in Africa during the summer of 2013.

Stanford Africa Business Forum (SABF)

The annual SABF presents an opportunity for business leaders, policy makers, faculty and students with a common interest in Africa to exchange ideas and build relationships that promote the continent’s development. SABF is organized by a multinational and multidisciplinary group of Stanford University students who share a common passion: a firm belief in the potential and promise of the African continent.

Stanford Center for African Studies (CAS)

The Center for African Studies coordinates an interdisciplinary program in African Studies for both undergraduate and graduate students. It provides students with opportunities to engage the international community and strengthen their academic focus. The CAS is affiliated with internationally renowned faculty from diverse academic and professional backgrounds, who conduct cutting edge research that shapes academic and policy discourse related to the region.

Stanford GSB Africa Business Club

Regional clubs promote diversity, generate awareness of a particular region, and provide resources for students interested in working in that region. Throughout the academic year, regional clubs sponsor guest speakers and discussion forums, activities with alumni, foreign language tables, and social events.

The Africa Business Club seeks to raise awareness of African business and cultures; promote discussion of economic, political, and social issues in Africa; encourage the School to increase new student outreach efforts in the region; provide a platform for students interested in careers in Africa to meet with employers; and encourage development of case studies.

Stanford GSB Alumni Network

Our alumni chapters operate globally. Stanford MBA alumni are making a difference across the African continent in all sorts of ways. Here are just a few:

  • Amy Jadesimi, MBA ’04, managing director of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base
  • Charles Nimako, MBA ’92, director of Pepsi-Cola, West Africa
  • Chris Bradford, MBA ’05 and Fred Swaniker, MBA ’04, co-founders of the African Leadership Academy (ALA)
  • Kweku Awotwi, MBA ’90, CFO of Volta River Authority
  • Nik Nesbitt, MBA ’91, founder of KenCall
  • Peter Baird, MBA ’90, head of Private Equity for Africa, Standard Chartered Bank
  • Rachel Payne, MBA ’04, country manager, Google Uganda
  • Sarah Rowell, MBA ’04, CEO of Simba Telecom
  • Sola Oyinlola, MBA ’85, chairman of Schlumberger Africa
  • Tanimola Fafunwa, MBA ’93, CEO of Resourcery
  • Tayo Oviosu, MBA ’05, founder and CEO of Pagatech

And the dean of Stanford GSB, Garth Saloner, PhD ’82, MS ’82, AM ’81, is South African.

Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED)

SEED was established in 2011 with an extraordinary gift from Dorothy and Robert King, MBA ’60. SEED seeks to stimulate, develop, and disseminate research and innovations that enable entrepreneurs, managers, and leaders to alleviate poverty in developing economies around the world, including Africa. SEED’s work is based on the belief that a critical route for economic growth is through the creation of entrepreneurial ventures and by scaling existing enterprises. SEED launched a regional innovation center in Ghana in 2013.

Watch previous webinars for prospective African applicants.

What about the visa process?

Stanford University will assist you in the visa process once you are admitted to the Stanford MBA Program. The first step will be to determine which visa is right for you. Almost all MBA students in the United States study under the F-1 visa; a very small number study under the J-1 visa. You will receive detailed information about visa support upon your admission to the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Is this part of the MasterCard Foundation scholarships at Stanford?

No. In September 2012, Stanford University announced its partnership with MasterCard to provide comprehensive scholarships for undergraduate applicants from Sub-Saharan Africa. The Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship is a separate but aligned effort. Both underscore Stanford University’s commitment to support the most talented candidates from Africa to obtain an education, at both the undergraduate or graduate levels.

Whom can I contact if I have further questions?

Elisa Koppl, Assistant Director of MBA Admissions, manages the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship. If you have questions, please send them to MBA Admissions. We appreciate your interest and will do our best to answer any inquiries. Register to stay in touch with us and to be notified of Stanford GSB events happening near you.

Last Updated 5 Jun 2017