Funding your MBA

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Once you've decided which MBA to take, it's time to think about ways to fund your study

Some people will be lucky enough to use their savings while others will have family assistance. However, many people will use one or a combination of the following sources…

Employer sponsorship

The majority of MBAs require a minimum of three years' work experience, so it's likely that you'll be working when applying for a course. If this is the case then you should ask your employer if they can help with the fees. You'll need to explain what benefits your MBA will bring to the company and give them reasons for them to invest in you.

It is also worth noting that sponsorship usually goes hand in hand with part-time study. For example, Loughborough University explain that the majority of its part-time MBA students have received funding from their employers.

However, consider your plans for the future before pursuing this method of funding. Most companies will expect you to stay with them for a fixed number of years after graduation in return for their investment.

Scholarships and bursaries

This mode of funding is popular with students because you don't usually have to pay any money back after completing your MBA. This popularity also translates to fierce competition, so make sure that you submit the strongest application possible.

You'll need to explain why you should receive the money, documenting any special achievements in your career history.

Scholarships and bursaries will vary with each university but can be for alumni, hardship, excellence in sports or to promote diversity. For example, Loughborough University gives 20% off its MBA fees with its bronze award for alumni, while the University of Edinburgh offers £5,000 to candidates who enhance the diversity of cultures or perspectives on its MBA.

Career development loans

If you don't manage to secure sponsorship then Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) are another option.

Only Barclays and The Co-operative banks offer these loans and you can borrow up to £10,000. The money is usually offered at reduced interest rates and the government pays this while you're studying.

You need to apply three months in advance of your course to allow enough time for the application to be processed. However, discuss your options with your chosen business school before you get in touch with the bank. They might have access to alternative loans and can advise which route is right for you.


Part-time study while working

It is possible to continue working while you do your MBA as shown by the 45.6% of MBA graduates in 2013/14 who studied part time. However it is not an easy task to juggle the demands of work or family life with a heavy study schedule.

You will be expected to be in the classroom around 20 hours a week and will need the full backing of your employer to allow you time off for exams and study periods.

If you have a job that you love, part-time study means you won't have to leave it, you'll earn a salary while you study and you will be able to manage any family commitments you may have.

However, the MBA can take longer to achieve and it can be difficult to not be completely focused on the course.