How to finance your MBA

If you’re considering pursuing an MBA, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about how you should finance it. Yes, these programmes can be pricey, but right off the bat, it’s important to realise that an MBA is not an expense: it’s an investment. Generally the amount paid to  finance an MBA pales in comparison to what  is earned in the years after graduation. In fact, because an MBA enables you to bag a better position and earn a higher salary, you can expect to make up the cost of your MBA within just five years.

How you finance your MBA will, of course, depend on many factors, such as your current financial situation, whether you plan to study abroad or closer to home, and whether you’re signing up for part-time or full-time study. You may choose to use multiple sources of funding, or perhaps you can cover your costs through just one funding option. Whatever your particular situation, here’s an overview of the various ways you can finance your MBA.

  • Finance your MBA through scholarships, bursaries, or grants.

Just as promising students compete for a place at the best business schools in the world, so business schools compete for the privilege of teaching the most promising students in the world. One way to attract top talent is through school-funded scholarships, bursaries, and grants. Check out your chosen school’s website for advice and information on available funding options. Some business schools will also advertise scholarships offered by their corporate and strategic partners. In general, scholarships are awarded based on student performance and leadership potential, while bursaries or grants are reserved for those in financial need or of a specific demographic, for example. Remember to check whether a scholarship carries any extra commitments or performance requirements. For example, some scholarships may require you to give presentations at a conference or keep your grades above a specified threshold.

Don’t limit your research to your chosen business school’s website. Investigate any and all grants, scholarships, and bursaries offered by independent organisations. It’s really worth putting as much time aside as possible for researching which scholarships or grants you might be eligible for. Funding applications requires hard work, so give yourself ample time to put together a convincing application by the required dates. In fact, it’s a good idea to start researching your funding options from the moment you start researching business schools.

  • Finance your MBA by taking out a student loan.

Many MBA candidates are required to take out some kind of loan to either partially or fully finance their MBAs. Some banks, governmental institutions, and independent organisations offer student loans specifically tailored to MBA candidates, so look out for these when doing your research. Always take interest rates and repayment periods into account when assessing student loan options.

  • Finance your MBA through employer sponsorship.

Some employers could partially or fully fund your MBA studies, provided you agree to stay on at the company for a predetermined time period once you’ve graduated. While this can seem like a relatively risk-free and attractive financing option, it’s essential to ensure that an employment agreement of this nature doesn’t contradict your future career goals. If the reason you’re pursuing an MBA is to change careers, for example, a sponsorship deal with your current employer might not be the best option for you.

  • Finance your MBA by means of self-financing.

Some MBA candidates are able to self-finance their MBA programmes. This usually means using savings or an inheritance, working part-time while studying, or relying on a partner, spouse, or family member to fund your studies.

The ESSEC Global MBA is a 12-month intensive MBA programme designed to accelerate your career and give you cutting-edge business acumen in an international arena. Check out our financing page to find out more about the various funding options and scholarships available for the ESSEC Global MBA.

Need guidance choosing the best MBA programme for your specific needs and goals? Download our free guide, How to find the perfect MBA.

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