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Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship 2021

Update on 2021 Application: The Stanford Reliance Fellowship may not be applicable for the 2021 application cycle, and has been dropped from the Stanford portal for the year. Watch this space for further updates on the next application cycle for the fellowship.

Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship is a godsend for Indian candidates aspiring for an MBA from Stanford GSB but lacking the means to do so. Karthiki was one such Indian student who worked with Admit Square Consulting for her Stanford MBA application. She wasn’t just among the top 50 students to be selected for the Reliance Fellowship but was also one of the rare Indian candidates who Stanford GSB interviewed even with a sub-700 GMAT score. Her application experience tells us that applying to the Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship can have several advantages even if your application doesn’t look outstanding.

Let us first understand what this Fellowship is all about. Here is the outline of this article:

stanford reliance dhirubhai fellowship for Indian MBA applicants

How the Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship came into being?

Almost 40 years back, Mukesh Ambani, then enrolled at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, had to drop out of the program to return to India and assist his father, Dhirubhai Ambani, to build Reliance. While Reliance soon became one of the largest businesses in India, Reliance Industries recently instituted the Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship to support the education of 3 Indians, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

What is Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship?

stanford reliance dhirubhai fellowship for Indian MBA applicants

The Reliance Fellowship requires one to apply through the defined application process and thereafter, 50 applicants are selected as finalists, who qualify for the scholarship based on their admit decision from Stanford at a later stage. The selected 50 are required to apply for the Stanford MBA and then Stanford finally selects up to 3 admits who are offered this fellowship.

The 3 selected candidates receive financial support for approximately 80% of the tuition and other fees for each year of the two-year Stanford MBA Program – total scholarship amounting to approximately INR 70 Lakh (USD 95,000).

Here is an article which describes the X-factor Stanford admissions committee looks for in its applicants.

Process and Evaluation Criteria

The Reliance Fellowship application is completely independent of the Stanford MBA application. One should apply for the Reliance Fellowship now (Deadline May 22, 2020), and thereafter, apply for the Stanford MBA through the standard process once the application for 2021 intake opens. Deferred Enrollment candidates should apply to the Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program a year prior to their enrollment at Stanford GSB.

stanford reliance dhirubhai fellowship for Indian MBA applicants

The Reliance Fellowship application does NOT require one to submit the GMAT score. One can, therefore, apply for the Fellowship even if they are still preparing for the GMAT. Following are the Application Materials to be prepared for the Fellowship Application:

  • Education history and scores
  • Awards and honors (academic or social)
  • Employment History (Recommendations not required at this stage)
  • One-page resume
  • 250-word essay
  • Individual financial information

Timeline: Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship 2020

The applications for the fellowship opens up on April 20, 2020, and will close on May 22, 2020, at 5 pm (PST). Apply for the fellowship here. Deferred Enrollment candidates should apply to the Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program a year prior to their enrollment at Stanford GSB.

Timeline of  Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship 2020
April 20, 2020 – May 22, 2020 Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship application available online
May 22, 2020
(5:00 pm Pacific Time)
Submission deadline
June 18, 2020 Fellowship finalists notified
Round 1 and 2: To Be Announced Fellowship finalists prepare and submit their Stanford MBA application
Round 1 and 2: To Be Announced Stanford GSB releases admission decisions, including those for Reliance Dhirubhai Fellows


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Application tips for Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship

stanford reliance dhirubhai fellowship tips

The essay is one of the most, if not, the most important component of the Stanford Reliance fellowship. Therefore, writing a strong essay in 250 words is the biggest challenge to getting this fellowship.

How to write a strong essay in 250 words?

The Stanford Reliance Fellowship application is very different from a typical MBA Application in that it requires you to establish your commitment to contributing to the country, which, for obvious reasons, should be well-aligned with your career plans.

You cannot be applying with random promises of contributing to the country, on your Fellowship Application.

Your story, therefore, must draw the right balance between your long-term plans of contributing to the country and your short-term plans of building your own career. A limit of 250 words further makes it essential to know exactly what you want to communicate.

Here is a sample Reliance Fellowship essay demonstrating how to pack a punch in just 250 words:

“The experience of working with one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical management consulting firm for the past 3.5 years has helped me gain valuable expertise in the payer-provider-insurer system. I have been associated with top insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies and managed care foundations for making better healthcare facilities available and providing co-pay assistance.

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India estimated that our government spends only 1.2% of the GDP on healthcare and overall 62% of health care expenses in India are out-of-pocket. To improve health insurance coverage, India needs to find financially sustainable ways to increase access to a wider spectrum of the population and to develop innovative insurance products.

Existing health insurance schemes typically focus on hospitalization benefits with limited sum assured. Other unresolved areas include poor standardization of treatment costs, lack of data for designing products and inadequate access to rural people.

My plan is to establish a Micro-Insurance corporation with the following critical objectives:

  1. Partner with pharmaceutical and insurance companies in executing insurance benefit awareness programs geared to assist patients while garnering profits for organizations
  2. Develop data-driven solutions to advise insurance providers on their product innovation, marketing and distribution, and pricing strategy, etc.
  3. Design a platform to maintain longitudinal patient records with the purpose of better integration of healthcare facilities for claim adjudication

A Stanford MBA program specializing in Healthcare & Financial Management will help me devise financial restructuring and operational improvement strategies aimed at shaping India’s future in the healthcare sector.”

Apply to Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship 2020

“Scoring high on the GMAT definitely helps but we would strongly encourage candidates to apply for the Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship even if they do not find their profile strong enough for the Stanford MBA”, says Prashant from AdmitSquare Consulting.

He also says that primarily because being selected among the top 50 not just boosts one’s chance of getting a Stanford interview invite, but also presents an exciting talking point while applying to other schools.

3 of AdmitSquare applicants made it to the top 50 in 2019. To build a winning 2020 Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship application, explore the AdmitSquare Stanford Fellowship Application Builder.

Feel free to mail your profile to prashant@admitsquare.com for a detailed assessment of your candidature for the Reliance Fellowship or for top business schools.

About the author

Prashant Tibrewal is the founder of Admit Square Consulting and has mentored 1000+ MBA aspirants to get into top global universities like Harvard, Stanford, INSEAD, Oxford, HEC, ISB, etc. With a team of Consultants from top business schools such as Yale, Wharton, Duke and Oxford, Admit Square offers 100% Money-back Assurance on its services. You may send your details to prashant@admitsquare.com for a free profile evaluation.

*Stanford and Reliance logos are properties of respective institutions.

FAQ – Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship

What is Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship?

Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship’s goal is to support students who are from and living in India who need financial assistance in obtaining an MBA at Stanford GSB.

How much financial assistance do I get in this fellowship?

3 Indians will get around INR 70 lakh in this fellowship.

What do I need to apply to Stanford Reliance fellowship?

You need the following to apply:
1. Education history and scores
2. Awards and honors (academic or social)
3. Employment History (Recommendations not required at this stage)
4. One-page resume
5. 250-word essay
6. Individual financial information

When can I apply for this fellowship?

The applications for the fellowship opens up on April 20, 2020, and will close on May 22, 2020, at 5 pm (PST)

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