Four Tips for Affording an Executive MBA Degree

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The Executive MBA is an ideal alternative for a fully employed person to go back to school without compromising her employment. Responsible for helping more senior level executives advance their careers, attaining an EMBA has become a shortcut toward competitively standing out among peers. While the EMBA holds promise for a significant salary bump, funding your education is your first priority.

1. Meet With Your Employer

Many employers view the EMBA as a solid investment in the future of their company. The enhanced skill set gained by the EMBA employee can help solve corporate challenges. EMBA graduate Chris Parker compares the money his company invested into his education to what it pays outside consultants and found strong results.

Speaking with the Washington Post, Parker said, “This is the sort of money that might be spent on getting consultants in for [two weeks], but the short-term benefits from something like that are far outweighed by the long-term benefits that a manager with an EMBA can deliver to a company in terms of enhanced management knowledge and experience from practical assignments.”

2. Research Scholarships

Scholarships were great for undergraduate education and can also be good for an EMBA. Not all schools offer scholarships for EMBAs, however, so you may need to cast a wide net. A quick search on Fastweb will yield all sorts of scholarship options, from those specific to women, minorities, and LGBT, to veterans and international students.

In addition to these trait-specific scholarship programs, consider essay contests and one-off scholarships. Such was the route of Malcolm Finn, a senior manager at Deloitte & Touche LLP based in London. In an article from the Wall Street Journal, Finn shared that he funded his entire EMBA cost by winning an essay contest.

3. Consider Peer-to-Peer Funding

Prodigy Finance emerged in 2007 as an alternative for international students to fund their educational pursuits at leading business schools. The “Kickstarter” of educational funding, Prodigy Finance helps students by pooling money from multiple investors and offering student loans at competitive rates. The site has provided more than $50 million in loans since its launch.

Confirm your acceptance into one of the many schools Prodigy Finance works with, then fill out a short online application, and within 48 hours, you could begin to finance your education. No guarantees, co-signers, or collateral needed. Repayment generally begins six months after graduation.

4. Don’t Forget Loan Forgiveness Programs

If you do have to take out a traditional loan to cover your EMBA cost, know that your career plans after receiving your degree may qualify you for loan forgiveness. If you use your EMBA to help a nonprofit or to work in the public sector, some schools will offer loan forgiveness of $5,000 per year up to three years post-graduation to $10,000 per year for up to five years. Some schools offer forgiveness in various amounts for up to ten years, provided you reapply yearly.

Whatever route you choose in funding your EMBA, know that you’re making a wise investment in your future.