An MBA qualification is highly desirable – not least for the potential boost to salary and career opportunities for graduates.
Luckily, when it comes to funding your course, there are options.
1. Ask your employer
If you’re already working, and your course supports flexible or part-time hours, asking an employer for funding is a smart move – but you’ll need to build a strong case for the cash:
- Find out which person or department you should submit a proposal to (and in what format)
- If colleagues have already bagged MBA funding, ask for tips or advice
- Make a strong case on why an MBA makes you more valuable to the company: what returns will they get on investing in you?
Now’s also the time to drill into the details. How will you manage your work and study time? Can you cope with additional study costs (childcare, travel, accommodation)? Employer support doesn’t have to be about the money: mentoring or flexible working can be just as valuable once you start your course.
2. The Postgraduate Loan
The Postgraduate Loan provides government funding for higher qualifications. How much money is up for grabs – and to who – varies, with each country in the UK having slightly differing systems. Generally, you’ll need to be a UK or EU student starting an eligible course, and may be able to claim:
- up to £5,500 for tuition fees in Northern Ireland
- up to £10,000 for tuition and living costs in Scotland
- up to £10,280 for tuition and living costs in England and Wales
Loan repayments kick in the tax year after your course ends, but are income contingent (while your income is below the threshold, you won’t make repayments). The Postgrad Loan charges interest and, if you already have an undergrad Student Loan, you may end up making payments on both at the same time – which could put a dent in your disposable income.
3. Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL)
Unlike the Postgrad Loan, the PCDL is a bank loan, which means slightly less flexibility and favourable terms. They’re only available to British citizens resident in the UK, and award between £300 and £10,000. They also charge interest, with repayments starting a month or two after your course ends. Get more details or advice from the National Careers Service (0800 100 900) in the first instance.
4. Funding for international students
Eligibility, application and competition for scholarships is far tighter than for loans – the trade-off is, scholarships don’t have to be paid back.
Unfortunately, finding something you’re eligible for can be a task in its own right! Start with advisers and websites in your home country, or take a look at the Chevening Scholarship: up to £18,000 towards MBA tuition fees, plus money for travel and living costs. Not available to US students (see Marshall Scholarships instead). Also see: the British Council.
5. Your savings
Whatever other funding you’re able to secure, there’s no substitute for savings! If you’re self-funding your course, you may not have much choice in the matter but, either way, savings can be a handy buffer or essential back-up. Start early, allocate a percentage of your earnings to your savings every month, and find the right savings account to make the most of your cash.
This is a guest blog by Ruth Bushi from Save the Student.