TAKE AN ENTREPRENEUR’S APPROACH TO PAY FOR GRAD SCHOOL
MBAs and Master’s degrees can be quite an expensive investment for students worldwide. Even though it might seem difficult to fund an MBA on your own there are multiple options available for students worldwide. From full scholarships to student loans, you have a range of options available to you if you know where to look.
In this article, we will list out a few of these ways in which you could finance your MBA.
- Scholarships (merit and need-based)
There are hundreds of scholarships available across MBA programs. Some of these are full scholarships and some are partial. These scholarships are not just merit-based, some may be need-based too. Many schools like Harvard and Yale offer huge scholarships to attract the best candidates.
There are also numerous country-specific scholarships. A good example would be the Chevening Scholarship to study in the UK. Other scholarships are based on specific requirements like demographics or cultural identity.
The CUHK Business School in Hong Kong is one school known to be very generous with its scholarships. Along with the scholarships, CUHK offers another unique scholarship called the ‘One Belt One Road Scholarship’. This is specifically designed for MBA candidates who have worked or studied in any of the countries under the Chinese infrastructure development plan—and a 50%-tuition scholarship for professionals from Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Cranfield School of Management based in the UK offers a full-tuition scholarship each year for outstanding applicants from both Australia and New Zealand. The school also offers a unique scholarship, of up to $51,000, to provide British farmers, or someone closely associated with farming, the opportunity to study an MBA at Cranfield, as well as a fintech fellowship worth over $10,000.
Another one of Cranfield’s scholarships, the Sino-British Leadership Scholarship ( up to $13,000) is awarded annually to one outstanding British or Chinese student, above 33 years of age, aiming to do business between the two countries.
- Scholarships for All
Aiming to make the MBAs more inclusive some business schools, such as the WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University offer scholarships to all candidates.
According to Pam Delany, director of graduate admission and recruitment at WP Carey, “At ASU, we measure our success based on inclusivity rather than exclusivity. The greatest learning and innovation occurs when multiple perspectives are present. Our ‘Scholarships for All’ mindset allows us to build a diverse, and highly talented, class of MBA students.”
- Loan forgiveness programs:
Some business schools have loan forgiveness programs that allow students who work for non-profits and the public sector after their MBAs to write off loan payments.
Yale School of Management’s loan forgiveness program began in 1986 and was the first of its kind at a business school. This program aims to help graduates follow their passions for policy, social justice, and community activism by pursuing career opportunities in the public and non-profit sectors without the burden of student loan payments.
According to Rebekah Melville, director of financial aid and MBA admissions committee member at Yale, “The loan forgiveness program is critical to attracting top students. Since inception, the Loan Forgiveness Program has awarded over $9 million to more than 400 graduates.”
- Student loans
In many parts of the world, international student loans are not common or may have a few with banks which may offer extremely high rates of interest. Various options abound for such regions if you know where to look. For international students, Prodigy Finance is one great option having partnered with 328 schools to offer loans to accepted candidates.
Prodigy Finance was the initiative of MBAs who saw their international classmates struggling to get study loans. It is very student-friendly as you only need to start paying back loans six months after the course. More importantly, there is no collateral or cosigner necessary. Over 150 countries are eligible for this and so far Prodigy Finance has paid out more than $505 million to over 10,300 students. There are very few conditions attached to these loans. In fact, the borrowers are free to live and work where they choose post-study, as there are no requirements to return to their home country or stay in the country of study.
- Savings, crowdfunding, and family support
A widely overlooked method of funding, personal savings can be a great source of funding for education. While some turn to family and friends for the fundings, others turn to the general public through crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe or Crowdfunder. For shorter programs, your earnings from fellowships or internships can also help cover some of the expenses.
- Company sponsorship
Many companies set aside funds for the purpose of offering tuition reimbursement as part of their customary benefit structure. Consulting companies and financial services companies are more likely to offer sponsorship to employees. If you work for a company that hasn’t sponsored MBAs in the past, present them with the option and justify the investment, both for the sake of the company and for students like you and the ones who are to come later.
Choosing to do an MBA is a huge step forward and requires a lot of thought in terms of the course, location, funding and the return on investment. Make sure you take in all the data and analyze your options well.
Hubert (Hubert@mbacentereurope.eu) is the Founder of MBA Center, an elite test prep and admission consulting organization collaborating with the best test prep centers in Europe and India. Over the last 24 years, Hubert has developed the World MBA Tour and co-founded ACCESS MBA. Hubert’s passion is teaching, though. Holder of a perfect 800, Hubert has trained thousands of GMAT students, written and developed over 50 TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS, SAT, and GMAT prep books, software and e-learning platforms.
Hubert has the most impressive track record in the industry with 3,000+ MIM, MIF, MBA, EMBA, and Ph.D. students accepted in the best universities in the world: