Funding Your MBA
You’ve made it now what about the costs?Before you commit to completing a MBA program you must make sure the cost is worth your time and money. The best way to look at the costs of a MBA is to look at them as an investment. The best way to capitalize on an investment is to invest sooner so you can begin earning your return faster. There are a lot of costs to think about when you plan to get a MBA. For instance the cost of attendance, living expenses, and opportunity cost of lost wages. All of these costs must be outweighed by the overall return received by increase in income over time. People looking for a career change or wanting a higher position in a company should not shy away from an MBA.
So you have committed now what?
Now that you spent all this time researching and finding the perfect business school before you have even been accepted you should start now looking at your funding options. A good method to ensure you use the right funding source is to spend a similar amount of time researching your funding options that you spent looking for you perfect school. If you have already been accepted to a school, you have a limited time window to get your finances in order. There are a lot of funding sources, almost every one of these options have a cost associated with them. There are five separate funding options for your MBA education.
- Scholarships and fellowships
- Company sponsorship
- Retirement savings
- Student loans
- Private loans
Scholarships and fellowship: Scholarships are perhaps the best option for funding your MBA, but everyone applies to these so read the requirements carefully. You may need to fill out a different application for your school or for certain organizations. Always look to scholarships and fellowships outside of your business school. Some organizations offer very highly valued scholarships.
Company Sponsorship: When you are thinking about asking your organization for a sponsorship, or if you were offered a sponsorship, always read the fine print. Knowing what you are getting yourself into is important. Almost all sponsorships require a return to the company after you have completed your MBA. Take this into account when weighing your options.
Retirement savings: Most people would overlook this as a source of funding, but this is a great source for some people. Before you start to pull from your savings for retirement do your research and understand the costs associated. However, if you have saved aggressively and will continue to after graduating then this option could be well worth the costs.
Student loans: Federal loans are very popular for financing a MBA, but there are costs that should be evaluated. Federal student loans are a great option because of the low interest rates that are offered to new and returning loan applicants. Also, look at your school’s financing options. Sometimes they offer loans for great discount rates.
Private loans: Private loans are a last resort for most people, but some banks offer lower rates and repayment plans that might better suit your needs. Always do research when looking for private loans, and find a recommended lender that has a history of loaning to students. Find a loan calculator that will calculate costs over a desired period of time, this will help you organize your financing options.
Many individuals use a combination of different funding methods in order to cover the costs for their MBA programs. Looking into every option available is important, and you may find that you are eligible for more assistance than you expected. Although locating and applying for funding can be a daunting and exhausting task, the amount of effort you put into it could quite literally pay off.