Introduction to the MBA Qualification
Obtaining financial help with the cost of your MBA course
Once you have calculated the total cost of doing an MBA it makes sense to identify opportunities for potentially reducing and managing that burden. The key to achieving success in this area is to start the process as far in advance of starting your MBA course as possible. As distance learning allows for an individual to keep a regular income, usually an MBA course can be financed with some relatively simple planning combined with an adjustment in lifestyle expenditure.
Common methods to ease the burden include:
A very large percentage of MBA students receive some level of financial assistant from their current employer. This might range from covering all of your tuition fees and expenses at one end of the scale, to meeting the cost of some text-books at the other end.
As a rule of thumb, the more help you get from your employer, the more they will expect in return by way of future years of service, and this is usually agreed by a formal document. Moving employers during or within a specified time limit after your MBA will normally require you to reimburse some or all of the financial aid granted to you. It is worth considering both the negative and positive aspects of this type of agreement. On the one hand you may find yourself tied to an organisation in which you no longer wish to work with no obvious routes to escape. On the other hand any potential penalty may be far outweighed by the benefits of moving to another position, and you could almost treat sponsorship as an intermediate loan, fully expecting that it will need to be repaid.
Grants & Scholarships
This type of financial help is very valuable and competition for it is extremely fierce as there is usually no future obligation for it to be repaid in any way. The level of assistance provided will vary as with sponsorship.
A good place to start your investigation is to ask the institutions themselves if they will support you. They are likely to apply certain criteria to applicants, but it is fair to say that your past academic track record will be of major interest to them. Should they not be able to help directly, they will nearly always know of external organisations and bodies for you to try next.
Much of this type of financial help is awarded to individuals from intrinsic ethnic, cultural, political or social-economic groups. You should consider how you personally may be aligned with any particular defined group, and seek advice from any governing or representing bodies.
Many students take advantage of special "MBA loans" characterised by reduced interest rates and repayment plans that only come into force once studies are complete. They can be obtained from a number of sources including banks, finance companies, the academic institutions themselves, and government bodies.
Some loans cover tuition fees only and specifically not any supplemental living expenses. Check with loan is right for your circumstances.
Many business schools observe strict academic terms. This may mean that the students have quite periods over an extend course during which supplemental paid employment could be taken.
Releasing Personal Equity
Depending on your personal circumstances you might want to consider releasing capital from your pension plan, or alternatively re-mortgaging your property. Decisions to take such actions should always be carefully thought through and all of the long-term pros and cons listed.
In many countries tax relief can be obtained when you are using your own money to directly pay for MBA tuition.
Seek professional advice to determine if you're eligible for tax breaks.