You have worked in your chosen field for some time, and something has whet your appetite for some higher education. You’ve decided the time has come to head back to school and get your Master of Business Administration, but the cost of an MBA has put a damper on your academic zeal. Is there a way to have your cake and eat it too? Yes, there absolutely is. Fortunately, many employers offer assistance to cover the cost of an MBA. Your next step is to determine how to get a company to pay for your MBA.
First, you will need to discover whether your company has a sponsorship program. If they do, it is wise to familiarize yourself with the policies and requirements. If your company doesn’t have a specified, official process for tuition reimbursement, do not despair! It is still likely that your employer will offer some form of support.
This guide explains how to ask your company to pay for a portion of your MBA regardless of the existence of an outlined sponsorship program.
Do Companies Pay for MBA Degrees?
Why would a company offer to pay for an MBA? There are many companies that offer employer assistance for completing an MBA program. Aside from benefiting the employee, company-sponsored MBA programs benefit the company as a whole.
Students earning their MBA acquire valuable skills that are relevant to their roles and will enhance their job performance. Covering tuition costs will also increase employee retention and company loyalty.
So, how can you get your job to help pay for graduate school? There are two primary ways that companies pay for master’s degrees. One method is via fellowship programs. The other system is through tuition reimbursement.
A fellowship program is another option to consider when determining how to get a company to pay for your master’s. Fellowships are similar to scholarships; however, they are often merit-based. Funds usually come from a private foundation that the company created. A fellowship will typically be offered to high-performing employees who excel in their field.
A tuition reimbursement program is a more common MBA sponsorship method that employers offer. Depending on the employer’s policies, tuition reimbursement programs may cover the cost of an MBA fully or partially. There are often specific requirements that must be met in order for an employee to be reimbursed. Typically, an employee must remain at or above a specific academic level in their courses. Employers also usually require that employees stay with the company for a specified amount of time, a year or two, upon completing their MBA.
How to Find Out If Your Company Offers MBA Sponsorship Programs
How can you find out if you can get study support from employer-sponsored MBA programs? Your first resource will be the company’s employee handbook. If you still have questions regarding programs your employer offers, your next step will be to speak with Human Resources. Coworkers who have an MBA are also an excellent resource when it comes to corporate-sponsored MBA degrees, especially if your company doesn’t have a formal process.
How to Ask Your Boss to Pay for a Course
How do you ask for tuition reimbursement? When asking your manager or company to assist with the cost of an MBA, it is a good idea to anticipate any questions or concerns they may have. It’s also important to ensure that you specify other potential necessities you may require while pursuing an MBA, such as a flexible work schedule or financial reimbursement for textbooks or software.
Know What You’re Asking For
When deliberating over how to get your MBA paid for by your employer, it’s important to take into account other needs you may have as a student and employee. Will you require a more flexible work schedule to accommodate classes or seminars? Additionally, will you need assistance with other MBA-related costs? These other costs may include:
- Registration fees
- Technology fees
Understand Your Company’s MBA Sponsorship Policies
Before asking your employer to sponsor your MBA, you should have a thorough understanding of the sponsorship policies your employer may already have in place. The employee handbook or your HR department are both useful resources when researching the requirements and processes pertaining to an industry-sponsored MBA.
Sample Proposal for Employer to Pay for Education
What comes next? You now understand your company’s policies regarding covering MBA costs. You also are aware of your other needs to be accommodated. The next step is to create a strong proposal for your employer to pay for your education. You should treat the proposal like a business pitch. It should be professional and concise. Prior to composing the proposal, it would be prudent for you to glance at sample proposals.
These are the elements that comprise a successful proposal:
- Your accomplishments at the company
- The total cost you expect your company to pay or reimburse
- If you will need time off for classes, seminars, and projects
- An explanation of how the MBA program is relevant to your work and to the company
- A specific length of time you commit to staying at the company after you complete your MBA
Tips for Getting Support
In order to get support from your employer, you will need to prove your dedication to the company and detail the benefits your MBA would provide the company. You should be prepared to enumerate your accomplishments at the company and discuss how they impacted the company positively. Additionally, you should express how an MBA will be an asset to the company.
Be Ready To Highlight Your Performance
You should be prepared to demonstrate your worth to the company. At this juncture it is sensible to highlight the major accomplishments you achieved during your time with the company.
- Have you closed a business deal that brought significant revenue?
- Do you support a major customer of the company?
- Did you discover an area where costs could be reduced significantly? How much money has this saved the company?
- Discuss a project you led, any obstacles you encountered, and the project outcome.
Prepare to Pitch the Program Benefits
Asking for sponsorship necessitates the use of your powers of persuasion to argue for tuition reimbursement. When asking your employer for MBA sponsorship, it’s imperative to stress how the company will benefit. You should take into consideration the value an MBA can add to the company and the employee loyalty it inspires.
During an MBA program, employees hone existing skills and acquire new abilities. This often results in a fresh business perspective and enhanced decision-making skills. Aside from benefitting the employee, an MBA ultimately is an asset to the business that can impact processes and profits favorably.
Employer sponsorship can also increase company loyalty and employee retention. Employees often commit to remain at the company for at least two years after completing an MBA program.
Focus on the ROI
When asking for support from an employer sponsorship master’s program, you’ll need to focus on the return on investment, or ROI, for your employer. Your employer will want to see how you will use your new skills and knowledge to promote the welfare of the company. During your pitch or any discussions that may follow, be sure to specify the areas where your degree will be an asset, such as:
- Improving your leadership, ethical, and organizational skills
- Mentoring junior-level employees
- Strengthening business skills like data analysis, decision-making, finance, and conflict resolution
- Networking opportunities that may result from access to new clients or partnerships
How to Get Started
When learning how to get a company to pay for your MBA, it will take research and clear communication to get your employer to cover your MBA costs.
Do Your Research
Learn about your company’s policies on tuition reimbursement and fellowships. It’s also a good idea to find out whether the funding is coming from the company itself or the department budget.
Network With Your Coworkers (Especially the Ones With MBAs)
Before starting the process, it’s wise to connect with coworkers who have an MBA. They can support you throughout the process and answer any questions you may have about employer sponsorship or the MBA program itself. A few good questions to ask are:
- What was your experience with the reimbursement process?
- What other costs may the company cover?
- How has your degree benefited the company?
Talk to Your Manager
Speak with your manager about the employer-sponsored MBA program at your company. Your manager may be a great resource for finding out about programs offered by the company. After the initial meeting with your manager, you will likely have follow-up meetings to discuss your proposal and any additional questions or concerns.
Be Ready for a Backup Plan
There is a chance that your proposal may not be approved. Your company may not have a sponsorship program and may not have the funds available to cover the cost of your MBA. If your request for financial support from sponsored MBA programs isn’t approved, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get any assistance.
You may ask for or be offered support in non-monetary ways. Some employers may offer flexible work hours to accommodate classes and other MBA program requirements. Other employers provide additional time off or compensation for the time you spend in class.
It’s no secret that the tuition for an MBA is not cheap, often exceeding $50,000. If you’re unable to get financial support from your employer, consider alternative funding options.
If you have more questions about MBA program requirements, request information from Augsburg University today.