One of the biggest concerns for candidates is how they will pay for their MBA, and many students spend as long researching funding, as they do researching business schools.
But while it might seem like a huge initial investment, the Financial Times suggests that MBAs who study at a top school, on average, double their pre-MBA salary within three years*.
So, what funding is available and how can you access it?
- Scholarships and bursaries
If you are applying for the Cambridge MBA and you have a strong academic record, you could be considered for a merit-based MBA bursary or scholarship, such the Dean’s Scholarship. Most are available until May, but some have earlier deadlines, such as the St Catharine’s Benavitch Scholarship. Our scholars come from varied backgrounds and sectors, but all have outstanding academic profiles.For sector-based scholarships, such as the Cambridge MBA Healthcare Scholarship or the Cambridge MBA Technology and Innovation Scholarship, you will need some experience or have a background in that sector.The University of Cambridge also offers a few scholarships which are open to MBA students, such as Gates Cambridge and the Cambridge Trust. These scholarships are particularly competitive and require a strong academic history but many MBA students have been successfully accepted.
- External scholarships
There are many external organisations who will contribute towards study for an MBA, and many of these are listed on our website, for example the British Council and Chevening Scholarships. The amount they offer varies, and they are often based on nationality, such as the Fundação Estudar for Brazilian students, and the SIM-You Poh Seng Scholarship for candidates from Singapore.Our website lists organisations which have funded MBA students in the past, but it’s not a complete list, so we would recommend you do some research and see what scholarships for MBA candidates are available in your country.
- Company 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.Depending on your company, you might want to make your initial approach to a mentor or manager, or a colleague who has previously undertaken an MBA via company sponsorship. You should be prepared to justify how taking an MBA will benefit the organisation and their aims.Full sponsorship from your company often comes with a three or five year post-MBA contract, so you might want to negotiate some flexibility with regards to a desired role or department change.
- Loans and grants
Look for funding options such as grants or loans available in your region. A few of these, such as the UK’s postgraduate student loan scheme and the US’s Federal Direct loans, are listed on our website, but there are likely to be other loans schemes for students available from your country. The University of Cambridge is an authorised educational provider, and is therefore recognised by most funding bodies.Prodigy Finance and Future Finance are both loan providers that specialise in loans for postgraduate students at leading business schools, including Cambridge Judge. Many Cambridge MBA students fund their MBA studies using one of these loan providers.
- 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. Is there anything you can go without while you save for your studies? Many students fund themselves through private savings and prepare for this by building up personal capital before they start the programme.
- Other sources of funding
Think about where other sources of income might be available. Are you thinking about moving after your MBA, so are you able to release capital from your current home? You could also look to your wider network, such as family for donations or loans.An unusual, but increasingly common way to fund your studies, could be to set up a crowdfunding platform. 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.
*“Do the financial benefits of an MBA outweigh the costs?”, by Della Bradshaw, The Financial Times, 29 January 2017