You know what they say: nothing in life is for free.

And while having your tuition and other fees covered to study at one of the most prestigious business schools in the U.S. – ranked #2 in the newly-released Times Higher Education Subject Rankings 2016/17 for business and economics – may sound pretty sweet, would you say ‘yes’ if you knew there were strings attached?

The new Stanford USA MBA Fellowship, offered by Stanford’s Graduate School for Business, is looking for three students who are willing to work in the American Midwest for two years upon completing their studies.

The fellowship will amount to US$160,000 over two years of study, and is modeled after the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship, which has similar conditions.

According to the official website, suitable candidates must “demonstrate strong ties to, and a commitment to the economic development of”, at least one of the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The aim of the program is to drive economic development in “underserved regions” in the U.S., with an eye on a few specific areas, such as government, social sector, grassroots activity, entrepreneurship, and efforts to attract capital or develop new energy sources.

The person in charge of the fellowship, Simone Hill, who is also an assistant director for MBA admissions at Stanford, told Bloomberg that the program is for “people who are interested in bringing everything that they learned back to their region to develop it”.

“When we look at our country, and we think about different places where there’s still a lot of room for growth and development, the Midwest was a big part of that,” she said.

Sure, the American Heartland may not appear to be as hip or trendy as Silicon Valley, but apparently living in the “Silicon Prairie” isn’t so bad, either – with perks ranging from lower cost of living to competitive salaries.

Still sound good to you? Unfortunately, the fellowship is only open to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who currently live in, or previously lived in for three consecutive years, any of the listed states. Those who graduated from a high school in any of the eligible states also stand a chance.

But the fellowship won’t always focus on the Midwest – the university plans on expanding the fellowship to include other U.S. regions, and those in the Southeast states may get their opportunity in the next round, according to Bloomberg. The fellowship is also expected to include up to eight students in the near future.

Image via Unsplash

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