It’s not always practical to make the leap from full-time work to full-time study, which is why many experienced professionals enroll in part-time MBA programs.
Maintaining the balance between your education and other obligations pays off. Approximately two-thirds of part-time MBA graduates have received more promotions than peers who did not obtain an MBA—and the benefits do not end there.
Part of what makes a part-time MBA so appealing is that you can continue to work and earn money while pursuing your studies. Even so, the financial commitment required to do a part-time MBA should still factor into your planning.
When considering your education, you can think about your part-time MBA as a business endeavor for which you need investment. How much will it cost? Where will the funding come from? What is your expected ROI?
Here’s three ways to fund your part-time MBA:
1. Scholarships, tax deductions, and more
Steve Jobs once said ‘if you really look closely, most overnight success took a long time.’ This is as true for career progression as it is for building a business empire.
Keep this in mind when you begin to seek funding for your studies. There are many components to consider when preparing for a part-time MBA program—from course offerings to schedules to cost—and you should look carefully at each aspect of your choice.
Research will reveal what all of your options are so you can make an informed decision. One way to reduce the financial burden of your studies is to look for schools that offer funding packages, scholarships, or fellowships.
For example, students who pay taxes in Austria and attend WU Executive Academy are eligible to receive 50% off of program fees through tax deductions, while UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School has several scholarships available.
This will also be the right time to make preparations for the Executive Assessment evaluation part of your plan. As you get a clearer picture of your financial situation and your options, you can nail down a firm timeline for when you should take the test, apply for scholarships, and more.
2. Pitch your employer
If you are hoping to receive funding from your employer, research will provide you with the information you need to make your case. By suggesting additional funding options, you will show them they won’t have to pay for the entirety of your tuition.
You can also present your chosen school and program in a way to emphasize its benefits from your employer’s point of view, such as how the schedule will ensure that your studies don’t interfere with your work, and how the curriculum will help you gain knowledge and skills that can apply to your present role.
Treat this conversation like a business pitch. By helping to fund your studies, your employer is investing in you, and it’s important to outline the return they can expect.
Many business schools provide useful information to present to employers at this stage. For example, Copenhagen Business School offers prospective students with evidence-based research on its graduates. It is also important to know what your company’s policy is on funding MBAs because that will affect the strategy you take, the amount of funding you ask for, and how you will negotiate a deal.
3. Savings & ROI
As you research your options, apply for scholarships, and prepare your pitch, it is also wise to create a savings plan and devise back-up solutions. Consider payment schedules offered by schools, calculate the upfront costs for your studies, and create a budget.
Your calculations should also project your return on investment. What executive positions are you aiming for? What salary increases can you expect after you complete your graduate degree? Based on data provided by hundreds of business schools in 2018, the average increase in salary for an MBA graduate is 77%.
GMAC research also shows that two out of three employers agree that business school graduates are well prepared to be successful at their company. As a result, even students looking to switch companies can feel confident in investing in their studies.