Guide to Financing your MBA

Most people would agree that an MBA Degree can boost their career and for this reason, many aspire to have one. One common stumbling block in this pursuit are the costs of MBA studies – which could reach up to $150,000 up for a 2-year full time MBA program plus other expenses.  It’s clear that the greatest deciding factor of most MBA candidates to pursue an MBA degree is if they can afford it. This article will try to explore the different financing options for MBA studies.

MBA Scholarships and Fellowships
This is the most preferred financing option by most MBA students since there will be no financial obligations to return after your studies.  If you have the qualifications B-schools seek, you’ll have a chance to get an MBA scholarship. Most B schools have merit-based scholarships to attract the best students. They also will have donor-funded scholarships that are targeted to students with specific qualifications. These are intended to shape their MBA class profile. Although there are a significant number of MBA scholarships available, the supply will not cover the demand by MBA students who need financial help. They are therefore quite competitive. Prepare yourself by knowing the strategies of how to get an MBA scholarship.  If you are targeting top business schools, see our Reference Guide to MBA Scholarships offered by Top Business Schools.

MBA Loans
When you consider MBA as a long-term investment,  you could consider the merits of getting a loan for your MBA studies. Most B-schools facilitate and implement loan programs for their students.  There are also banks and private lending institutions that provide loans for MBA studies. A resident cosigner is often required for International students to acquire an MBA loan, though there are exceptions. Landing that  well-paying job, or getting a substantial increase in pay at your current one will make that loan disappear in no time.

Corporate Sponsorship
Don’t discount your employer when thinking about possible sponsors for your scholarship.  Consider asking support from your employer and show how an MBA degree can help you help achieve the company’s goals.  Your employer may be able to fund some or all of the costs of your MBA studies if they see it as valuable for their company.  In return, you may be committed to staying with your company for a few years in exchange for their sponsorship. Obtaining a corporate sponsorship, especially if you are able to continue working full time while you undergo your MBA degree could be one of the least disruptive to your lifestyle and finances.

Online MBA Program
If the other funding options seem to be not applicable to you for one reason or another, consider an online MBA program as alternative. Online MBA programs (a.k.a. Distance Learning) are not as valued as highly as a traditional full-time MBA program by prospective employers, and are priced accordingly (nearly 1/3 the cost).  Additional advantages that most online MBA programs also allow is that you can still keep your job while studying for your MBA. Enrollment in an accredited online MBA programs, or better yet, paying a little more for online MBA programs offered by top Business Schools may your best  option.