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How to finance your MBA (…it’s going to cost more than your wedding)

27 April 2015

The article at a glance

While opting to study for an MBA is a big financial commitment, it’s important to remember that most graduates typically recover their …

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While opting to study for an MBA is a big financial commitment, it’s important to remember that most graduates typically recover their investment within five years alongside all the many long-term benefits of study.

How to finance your MBA

The main point is to plan your financial capacity early; we recommend exploring financial options at least a year before your intended point of study.

It’s worth noting, however, that the funding does not need to be in place at the time of your application. Only after you are made an offer will you need to evidence that you have funds in place.

Preparation and research is key. Don’t panic if you don’t have personal savings to cover the entire fee. The majority of our students use multiple avenues to fund their MBA so be resourceful and proactive, and start your research early

– Charlotte Russell, MBA Admissions Coordinator.

So what are the options for financing your MBA?

  • Cambridge Judge Business School & University of Cambridge ScholarshipsCandidates with strong academics are encouraged to apply in the early rounds to benefit from merit-based MBA scholarships such as the St John’s College Browne and the St Catharine’s College Benavitch Scholarship.Other options are sector or nationality based scholarships. For sector-based scholarships, such as the BNY Mellon Scholarship, you will need to demonstrate dedication to your industry or field. You may be eligible for a nationality-based scholarships, even if you are not currently resident in the country.

    University-wide scholarships include the Gates Cambridge scholarship, a programme which aims to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.

  • External scholarshipsThere are a host of external scholarships available for study towards an MBA, for example the Chevening Scholarships. These are typically offered based on nationality; you can find a list of some of these on our website, but we encourage you to search for other funding that might be available in your country.
  • Company sponsorship
    If you feel happy your current company offers future scope for development you might want to consider enquiring about sponsorship. This could be either on a full or part funding basis. Depending on your company, you might want to make your initial approach to the human resources department, a trusted mentor or manager, or a colleague who has previously undertaken an MBA via company sponsorship.

    Remember to be realistic – part funding is often the more feasible outcome. Also be aware, if you accept company funding there will typically be conditions attached. Full sponsorship by a company often comes with a three or five year post-MBA contract. You might want to negotiate some flexibility with regards to a desired role or department change.

  • Local funding options
    There may be a number of funding options available in your region. You can find some of these listed on our website but there might be further regional schemes you could be eligible for, so do some exploratory research.

    The University of Cambridge is a recognised educational provider, and as such is recognised by many funding bodies such as United States and Canada federal loans.

  • Loan providersAlongside exploring the aforementioned options you might want to consider repayable loans. We advise you to speak to your bank; your existing credit rating with a bank might help you to leverage loan options. Rates will vary between providers.Prodigy Finance is an alternative loan provider that offers loans to postgraduate students at leading business schools including Cambridge Judge Business School. Prodigy Finance can offer loans to 150 nationalities.

    Most banks base their loan decisions on historical salaries and credit history. While Prodigy Finance considers those factors, we’re also different. We consider a student’s future earning potential (based on the past achievements of similar graduates) to determine their loan affordability after they graduate. The application process is also entirely online, which is a refreshing experience for many student borrowers.

    – Liz Reid, Student Brand Manager, Prodigy Finance.

  • Lifestyle changes
    In the year or more before entry to the MBA programme think about personal savings you can make, where possible, by implementing lifestyle changes. These changes may seem small in the short-term but can generate significant savings over time.
  • Funding back-up plan
    Finally if you can, have a funding back-up plan. Look to your wider network such as family for donations or loans. Also if necessary consider assets you could leverage, such as property. This may be feasible if you plan to work in another country to your home after the MBA. 47 per cent of our most recently graduating MBA class chose to switch country after completing their MBA programme.

Remember the admissions team will be on hand throughout your application to advise on financing your study. So keep in touch with your admissions point-of-contact and we’ll support you as much as possible to make a realistic financial plan.