Introducing EDHEC Business School’s new approach to scholarships: Increasing diversity & inclusion

With a new approach toward its scholarships and financial aid opportunities, EDHEC Business School is leading the charge on the importance of diversity in higher education. MASTERGRADSCHOOLS spoke to Michelle Sisto, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at EDHEC, about the school’s new approach to scholarships and why EDHEC values diversity and inclusion.

In short

The importance of diversity in higher education: EDHEC’s perspective

In recent years, diversity and inclusion have proven to be key success factors within teams and organizations around the world. Research from McKinsey found that companies with more than 30% women executives were more likely to outperform companies with fewer women executives. In another study, Deloitte found that high-performing teams are both cognitively and demographically diverse, with diversity of thinking enhancing innovation by about 20%.

“In the age we’re living in right now, we’ve seen that diversity and inclusion is a global issue,” Michelle says. “We believe that diversity and inclusion is essential to bring a diversity of perspectives to solving some of the major societal challenges that we’re facing.” (06:25)

For EDHEC Business School, diversity in higher education is paramount.

“What we hope to do is to encourage our students to grow into leaders with a global perspective in order to solve collaboratively some of the big problems that we’re facing now,” Michelle explains. (08:06)

With over 45,000 alumni spread over 125 countries and international academic partners in countries like Poland, Uruguay, and Singapore, EDHEC has a diverse, global network – but it wants to do more.

Introducing EDHEC Business School’s new approach to scholarships: Increasing diversity & inclusion

EDHEC offers various scholarships and financial aid based on merit and financial need. Going forward, EDHEC is looking to expand its scholarship opportunities for students. “EDHEC really believes in bringing diverse and excellent profiles to our school. So, our approach in terms of scholarships is evermore going in the direction of diversity and inclusion,” Michelle tells us. (03:08)

One example is EDHEC’s Women in Finance & Data Science Scholarship, aimed at empowering women to pursue a career in those fields (where women are typically underrepresented). Launched in late 2021, this scholarship covers 35% of tuition fees for female students enrolled in a degree program in Data Science, Analytics, Computer Science, Statistics, or Finance.

Another example is EDHEC’s Make an Impact scholarship. This scholarship covers 25% of tuition fees “for students who have shown in the past that they’re willing to engage in their local communities, in environmental projects, [or] in other types of projects that are good for society and their communities,” Michelle explains. “By coming to EDHEC, the education that they’re going to receive here [is] going to propel them forward to the next step where they’ll make further impact.” (03:46)

Through these scholarships, EDHEC is shining a light on the importance of diversity in higher education – and it doesn’t stop there.

“Currently, EDHEC issues about €5 million in scholarships every year across our graduate studies. About a quarter of all of our students receive some type of financial aid,” Michelle says. “Part of our plan moving forward is to expand that to a higher percentage of students and for some of our students to go all the way up to 75% of tuition fee [coverage] for those who are the most unique – notably students coming from particular backgrounds or potentially zones of conflict.” (05:37)

3 scholarship application tips from Michelle

For students who are interested in applying for a scholarship at EDHEC Business School, Michelle has a few tips.

First, “Don’t hesitate to make a request,” Michelle says. “As they often say, if you don’t ask, you certainly don’t receive.” (09:07)

Second, “For the scholarships that require essays, take the time to build an essay that responds to the question and make it personal,” Michelle urges. “What we want to do when we’re evaluating these essays is get to know the person behind that essay. What’s their real desire to make an impact? Convince us that you’re somebody who would bring your expertise, your enthusiasm, your drive, and your values to our community here at EDHEC.” (09:27)

Lastly, “Be absolutely authentic in what you say and what you write.” (10:05)

The future of diversity & inclusion at EDHEC

During difficult times, EDHEC Business School comes together to support its students. This was perhaps best showcased during the pandemic. 

“Unfortunately, we had a number of students whose family situations changed – either the family business had a problem or, sadly, there were some severe illnesses or even death in the family,” Michelle tells us. “We wanted to make sure that those difficult events didn’t have an impact on our students’ ability to continue their education. Our alumni really stood up to the call. We raised close to half a million euros for direct traditional aid to our students.” (11:18)

Clearly, there is a strong sense of community at EDHEC. With its mission to increase financial aid opportunities, EDHEC will undoubtedly continue to lead the charge in the importance of diversity in higher education – developing and empowering exceptional, diverse students along the way.

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