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Jumpstart your journey – financing your MBA studies

10 May 2024

The article at a glance

An MBA is a significant commitment of time and your resources, alongside the fees for any MBA programme, there are also expenses associated with an MBA, from general living expenses to visa costs and travel and accommodation costs. Here we share some tips and insights to support your learning journey and help make financing your studies that little bit easier.

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6 things to consider to make financing your studies easier

So, what funding is available and how can you access it? 

1

Research scholarships and grants

Many organisations, institutions, and even companies offer scholarships and grants specifically for MBA students.  

Explore external scholarship opportunities from government agencies, non-profit organisations, corporations, and foundations that support graduate education. These scholarships may be specific to your country of origin, field of study, or career goals. Conduct thorough research and apply to as many relevant scholarships as possible. 

At Cambridge Judge Business School there are a range of scholarships including merit-based, need-based or designated for students from specific regions or backgrounds. Updated information on all our Cambridge Judge scholarships and grants can be found on our fees and funding pages.  

In addition, there are further funding sources across the wider University of Cambridge, including the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship and the Cambridge Trust Scholarships. Eligibility criteria and application processes are available on the respective websites. The 31 Colleges that together make up the University of Cambridge, also offer some grants and funding support, for example, St Catharine’s Benavitch Scholarship and the Sidney Sussex Joyce Coutu scholarship both offer support for MBA candidates studying at Cambridge. Individual Colleges also award discretionary bursaries for postgraduate studies.  

2

Student loans and financial aid

Investigate loan options and financial aid programmes available to graduate students. This may include government-backed loans, private loans, and other forms of financial assistance. Be sure to understand the terms and conditions associated with any loans you consider and be mindful of interest rates and repayment terms. 

The University of Cambridge is an authorised educational provider and is therefore recognised by most funding bodies. For example, Prodigy Finance is a loan provider that specialises in loans for postgraduate students at leading business schools, including Cambridge Judge. A list of loan providers is available on our fees and funding pages, but there may be others that are specific to your own country or even your sector. Early research and preparation is always recommended as you prepare your MBA application.  

3

Employer sponsorship

If you feel happy at your current company but perhaps want to progress further by taking an MBA, consider if your company would be open to sponsoring you. Many companies have policies on sponsorship, but even if they don’t, it’s worth approaching them. 

Some companies offer tuition reimbursement or sponsorship for employees pursuing higher education, especially if they believe it will benefit the company in the long run. Explore this option with your current employer. 

If you are currently employed, enquire with your employer about sponsorship or financial assistance for your MBA studies. Make a compelling case for how your MBA will contribute to your professional development and how it will add value to the company. 

Full sponsorship from your company often comes with a 3-or 5-year post-MBA contract, so you might want to negotiate some flexibility with regards to a desired role or department change.

4

Crowdfunding and online platforms

Consider launching a crowdfunding campaign or seeking support from family, friends, and professional networks to help cover the costs of your MBA. Share your story, goals, and aspirations to attract support from those who believe in your potential. 

You could gain financial support for your MBA in the form of investment, offering incentives for those that part-fund your studies. However, you need to ensure you have thoroughly laid out your strategy if you want people to invest. 

As you expand your network and reach out to MBA alumni from your chosen school, ask them about their funding support, or grants in their sector/country, they may be able to signpost you to sources that you hadn’t already considered.  

5

Start saving and planning your funds early

Many students fund themselves through private savings and prepare for this by building up personal capital before they start the programme. In the year or more before entry to the MBA programme think about the personal savings you can make and start building up a pot to support the costs of an MBA. Develop a comprehensive financial plan that includes tuition fees, living expenses, and any additional costs associated with studying at Cambridge. Create a budget to manage your finances effectively during your MBA programme and look for ways to reduce expenses where possible. 

6

Early application and preparation

Start researching and applying for funding opportunities well before starting your MBA program. Some scholarships and grants have early application deadlines, so be proactive in gathering necessary documents and submitting your applications on time. Some Cambridge Colleges close their applications for places and any funding as early as March, before our annual application rounds often close.  

By combining multiple funding sources and being proactive in your search, you can maximise your chances of securing financial support for your Cambridge MBA. 

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