If you’re applying for Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs, it’s probably not a surprise that getting an MBA is a major financial commitment. Not only are you going to forgo two years of potential earnings, but you’ll also have to pay for tuition, supplies, and accommodations.
This could mean giving up thousands of dollars in earnings, paying a hefty sum for tuition and other school expenses. It’s a big investment, but also one that can pay off in a big way—many graduates double their pre-MBA salary after graduation (or more).
So how can you make your MBA more affordable? Here are some tips from MPOWER Financing, a team of former international students working to remove barriers to higher education in the U.S.
The surest way to soften the financial blow of an MBA is to start saving while you’re still working. MBA students often leave well-paid jobs to go back to school, but that doesn’t mean all prospective MBA students have a large savings cushion available to pay for business school.
As soon as you decide to get an MBA, start cutting your expenses and putting away money for school. There’s an added benefit to this strategy—it will ease the transition from well-paid professional back to a student lifestyle, which can be a shock for some MBA students.
Investigating scholarship funding is another thing you should do well before you even apply for MBA programs. Some scholarship deadlines are even earlier than admissions application deadlines, so the earlier you start looking for scholarships the more likely you are to be successful.
Many business schools have a section on their website that lists outside scholarships, but you should do your own research as well to find possible scholarship options.
Look for scholarships that are a particularly good fit—many scholarships are targeted specifically to women, to people with specific work experience, or to people from certain places, for example.
If you’re an international student, make sure to look for both international student loans and scholarships that are specifically targeted to people from your home country. Some examples of financing that are country-specific:
Even if you take advantage of personal savings and scholarships, you’ll likely need to take out some international student loans to finance your MBA. When you’re looking into loan options, it’s important to understand the terms each student loan company offers.
Here’s are some factors to consider when comparing education loans for international students:
It’s worth noting that the student loan company with the best terms in your first year of business school might not have the best terms for your second year. Plan on repeating the loan application process in your second year of business school. If you find a loan that is a better deal, it could save you a lot of money in the long run.
How to Finance Your MBA: Final Thoughts
Finding a way to pay for your MBA is essential to getting the education you need to advance your career. Most students end up using a combination of savings, loans, and scholarships to finance their MBA.
Making the most of scholarship opportunities and ensuring that you understand the loan terms sets you up for success, not just during your MBA, but in your life as a businessperson.
Financing your MBA is your first major business decision—and you need to put just as much effort into understanding the options and choosing the best fit as you would if you were making financing decisions for a company.
When it comes to how to finance your MBA, a few options to consider are:
A lot of schools and other organizations provide need-based and merit-based scholarships for an MBA.
The cost of an MBA degree can depend on the school, state, duration, and program. According to the Education Data Initiative, the average tuition fee for an MBA is US$61,800.
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