Written on 19 Feb 2020.
Do you have an exciting MBA programme in mind, but not sure how to pay for it? Luckily there are many funding possibilities both traditional and outside the box. Here are five different ways to help you finance your dream MBA programme.
Funding higher education can be a costly venture no matter how financially prepared you are. Without years of planning and saving, the costs of an MBA can easily clean out any bank account. Top MBA programmes can cost six-figures and when factoring in living expenses and a gap in salary while studying, so you’re looking at investing a small fortune in yourself. That said, the benefits and rewards can make it a very sound investment.
Before you decide to take the plunge financially, be sure to familiarise yourself with different types of MBAs programmes. Most programmes take two years, but there are shorter, accelerated programmes - like EDHEC’s Global MBA - for those looking to take less time out of your career yet get the same extraordinary learning opportunity. Executive MBAs are another option for those further along in their career. These are designed for working professionals to gain an MBA without having to leave their day job. EMBAs commonly involve part-time courses with weekend or weekday held typically once a month.. EDHEC’s EMBA is offered in two cities and is a part-time, 16-month programme. Once you’ve chosen your ideal MBA programme, how do you pay for it?
The obvious solution is obtaining a student loan, but is borrowing money and paying interest, the only way to finance your MBA? In short, no - there are other alternatives that can help lower the financial burden. Once you have a programme in mind, try these tips - or a combination - to help chip away at your costs!
If you see yourself at your company long-term, ask them to invest in you and help with programme costs. Discuss taking a sabbatical to complete a full-time programme and look for intense MBAs with accelerated formats to lessen your time away. For example, EDHEC’s Global MBA is an intense full-time MBA which includes fundamental courses and a specialisation in eight months and a tailored MBA project which could be a job report or research project, meaning you could do this back in your company.
Alternatively, consider a part-time Executive MBA if you have over 8 years of experience. This allows you to continue working and learning at the same time. It is very common for companies to sponsor EMBA candidates. If you can clearly demonstrate why an MBA is both good for you and the company, it becomes a win-win situation. Ask your company if they have any dedicated training plans that aid programmes costs. Also, do some digging to find out if they have sponsored candidates in the past to support your case. If you’re looking for a career change and plan on leaving your job, that brings us to our next tip.
Thankfully we live in an age where higher education is often supported and encouraged by governments and thus, some offer support or aid to those who qualify. Be sure to do research about your country’s education-focused organisations and see what scholarships or grants are available. For example in France, there is an organisation called the FONGECIF and the United States offers FAFSA. If you’re studying abroad there are organisations that help international students like the Fulbright Commission, the United Nations, or Open Society Foundations. The website InternationalStudent.com is a great resource if you’re interested in a programme outside your home country.
Scholarships and grants have the potential to cut a major chunk from your MBA costs. The first place to look for opportunities is within your school. You’d be surprised how many unique scholarships are designed to help you finance your life-changing transformation. Some schools like EDHEC have a fair, clear and transparent scholarship policy so you can easily see what your final costs are, whereas most other schools don’t publicise the amounts so you will have to do some extra digging. Check with your admissions contact to explore options at your prospective school. There are also external scholarship options for domestic or international students. Scholarship websites, like this or this, have truly modernised the application process and some even match you with opportunities based on your profile and goals.
Do some research to discover if the school you are interested in offers any incentives to prospective students in addition to scholarships. For example, EDHEC offers a prompt payment discount or even waives application fees for early applicants. See what deadlines or opportunities your dream school offers to plan for some additional deductions. Another smart strategy is to see how your investment in education impacts your taxes. While you may not see the savings immediately, many can expect a substantial tax break for programmes costs. For example, for French residents, you can defiscalise your costs to reduce the financial burden long-term under certain circumstances.
It may seem odd at first, but crowdfunding is increasing in popularity and many are using it as a way to alleviate the financial stresses of education, especially in the United States. Chances are, others in your life are supporting your decision to go back to school. Thanks to modern crowdsourcing websites like GoFundMe, you can raise money for virtually any cause imaginable. Open a fundraiser online for your education journey where your friends and family can donate. Even if your network can’t sum enough money to pay tuition, any and all donations can significantly help with living expenses or additional programme fees. Every euro, pound or dollar helps and you’d be surprised how generous personal and professional networks can be!
At EDHEC, we know that embarking on an MBA is a major investment and we support you through a transparent scholarship system. There are merit-based, nationality-based, and even the new “Make an Impact” scholarship that aids those with potential in sustainability. Contact us directly at email@example.com to learn more.