If paying for your MBA is giving you sleepless nights, why not just get yours for free?
The rising cost of higher education is no secret and never more evident than in graduate business schools. With tuition, books, fees and incidentals topping $150K at some of the elite schools (not to mention the opportunity cost of leaving the work force for two years), it’s no surprise that MBA students spend considerable time figuring out creative ways to pay it all off.
In the old days, not only was school cheaper, but companies also regularly paid for employees to get their MBAs.
In fact, in addition to company-sponsored students in the USA, most if not all international students were being paid to go back for a business degree. Suffice it to say, no matter whether you were a US student or coming here from abroad, receiving a corporate sponsored MBA was the expected model for every fast-tracking, corporate ladder-climbing young manager out there. Pay for business school? Most successful yuppie types never even considered it.
Then the financial crisis hit.
Suddenly, the sticker shock of having corporate sponsorships removed, coupled with the over-inflated rise of tuition was palpable. This one-two punch dealt a crushing blow to the schools too, who saw applications plummet.
As the economy recovered, schools emerged scarred but smarter. They began cutting costs and growing their endowments, supplanting corporate sponsorships with privately-raised scholarships and fellowships.
Cut to the present, where the economy is back, endowments are flush and companies are beginning to pay for school again.
If you are lucky enough to work for a blue-chip company which values the MBA as a tool to develop their management workforce, you are likely hearing about opportunities for them to cover your tuition in its entirety. Sure, it might require you to return to work there post MBA, but when you can get a $150,000 education for free, it’s probably worth it. Even if you don’t work for a company who typically pays for graduate school, you might try talking to your management team about the possibility. The worst thing they can tell you is “no,” of course, but you might be surprised what you can negotiate in a low-unemployment environment like this where keeping employees happy is top of mind for every company executive.