Once you have decided on doing an MBA and have shortlisted the business schools you wish to apply to, you are faced with the next crucial decision to make – what are your options to finance your MBA?
Often applicants have a clear direction of why they wish to pursue an MBA program – and may have secured their funding – or at least worked out how they were going to go about funding their course. Some may receive support from employers who are willing to fund their MBA course (partly or in full), while others may already have set financing options in place. There are others who may only wish to apply for grants/scholarship options that are usually offered by universities running successful MBA courses.
Broadly speaking there are four categories of funding: scholarships and bursaries, loans – including an innovative financing option available to prospective students known as Prodigy Finance, employer sponsorship, and fellowships. It’s important to also be aware that all funding options will vary depending on the type of course you go in for, campus-based, full-time, part-time or distance learning program.
Let us look at the various options that you could consider to fund your MBA:
Scholarships and bursaries
Business schools usually offer a wide range of scholarship options. Go through their brochures and websites carefully and note down eligibility requirements and deadline dates.
If you are looking for scholarships as your sole funding option, then you need to start researching well in advance on the various routes that are available to you. Schools such as the London Business School offer an exciting MBA program and provide wide-ranging funding options to choose from – this may include general scholarships, scholarships by sector or by nationality. Business schools websites will also provides a list of external scholarships categorised by regions.
There are many loan options to postgrad students in the UK. As per the UK Government’s website, students applying for postgraduate loan for masters degrees for a full-time or part-time masters course (after 1 August 2016) can borrow up to £10,000 to pay fees and help with living costs. You are eligible if you: are under 60, ordinarily live in England, don’t already have a masters degree or higher qualification. Based on your status, you could also be eligible to apply for Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) that are bank loans to pay for courses and training that help with your career or help get you into work. You may be able to borrow between £300 and £10,000. Loans are usually offered at a reduced interest rate and the government pays interest while you’re studying. For more details on eligibility, see the link here.
There are also some fantastic private loan options such as Prodigy Finance, which was developed as the answer international MBA candidates need when attempting to finance their degrees. It is an innovative in that it uses a predictive model to gauge a student’s earning potential after graduation, these loans consider more than the current and past earnings of applicants. To date Prodigy Finance has funded students from 116 countries and are able to lend to students from 150 countries.
For international students, loan options may be available in your home countries. Ensure that you check them beforehand, understand local requirements including eligibility criteria before choosing to do an MBA abroad.
Most MBA programs stipulate a minimum number of years of work experience. Distant learning courses are aimed at working professionals who can study as they continue working and therefore in a position to fund their course over a period of time. In some instances, your employer could offer sponsorship on the program as a long-term investment in you, the employee. If not, it may be worth asking your employer if they are willing to help in paying the fees. Some companies may expect you to continue working with them for a minimum number of years in return for sponsoring you for the course, while others may assign you to projects specific to areas that you plan to specialise in through your MBA.
MBA fellowship opportunities are usually provided by well-established universities for exceptional students owing to generous grants from individuals, alumni, corporate and foundation donors and the school itself. To be considered for a fellowship grant, an individual is assessed on academic excellence, geographic and personal background, professional experience and future goals demonstrating outstanding potential.
Some of you may be surprised that MBA applicants can self-fund their course, but there are several among your peers that are confident enough to be able to pay their full MBA fees. This is especially in case of part-time/distance learning MBA programs, where students are able to fund through their savings and salaries. For more on this see our piece on self-funding for MBA students.
Please note that the information here does not constitute financial advice. Prodigy Finance is one of many potential funding options for international postgraduate students. Other student funding options are available and Postgrad.com advises you to research all your options thoroughly before making such a commitment. Postgrad.com accepts no responsibility for your choice of loan and does not endorse or support Prodigy Finance. Prodigy Finance Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and entered on the Financial Services Register under firm registration number 612713.