How To Find a Company To Pay for Your MBA (And How It Works)

Updated February 3, 2023

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) allows students to gain accounting, financial management and business marketing skills they can apply in the workplace. Human resources managers recognize MBAs can equip employees with valuable business management and administrative skills. For this reason, many companies provide MBA sponsorship programs that enable employees to acquire these skills, which can help you find financial assistance for your education.

In this article, we explain employer MBA sponsorship, how these programs work, why companies pay for MBAs and how to find an employer that offers MBA sponsorship.

What is an MBA sponsorship?

An MBA sponsorship is a fully or partially funded program employers provide that allows employees to acquire MBA degrees while working for the company. This sponsorship is usually part of a company's broader career development policy that benefits both the company and the employee. Through MBA sponsorship, businesses help employees develop vital skills that can benefit organizational processes.

When you get an MBA sponsorship, you increase your chances of advancing in your career through promotion. This can result in higher pay and access to more professional opportunities. Many companies that sponsor employees for MBA courses also offer increased salaries and more advanced positions for those who complete their degrees.

Related: How To Get an MBA: A Step-by-Step Guide

How do employer MBA sponsorships work?

Funding employee education can support a company's long-term objectives. Employers providing MBA scholarships understand that the expertise and knowledge of their workforce contribute to the well-being of their companies. Here are the three prime examples of how MBA sponsorships work:

Fellowship sponsorship programs

Some organizations offer full or partial MBA sponsorships as part of their employee reward program for their top-performing employees. This means employers pay for all their employees' educational costs when pursuing an MBA degree. Companies base the acceptance for fellowships programs on merit, so employees who demonstrate impressive performance earn them. Through such programs, companies can retain the best talent while providing learning opportunities for their employees.

Related: Guide to Scholarships: How They Work and Ways To Earn Them

Partial sponsorships

Some organizations provide partial scholarship programs for employees who meet certain conditions. For example, your employer can agree to pay tuition fees if you obtain good grades in your courses. Also, some employers provide partial funding to employees who agree to work for the company for a specified period after graduation. In many cases, to get this sort of sponsorship, you must also commit to working for the employer providing MBA sponsorship during your program or afterward.

MBA student loan reimbursement

Employers may offer MBA sponsorships by repaying educational loans for employees once they complete a degree and return to the organization to work. That type of sponsorship is standard for employees who want to develop professionally. It allows them to focus on honing skills they can use to work for their current company and collaboratively achieve long-term goals.

Related: What Is Job Tuition Reimbursement and How Does It Work?

Why do companies pay for MBA sponsorships?

Through MBA sponsorship programs, employees get the chance to hone their skills in business administration. An MBA degree is important for an individual who might want to achieve promotion into a management position. This presents a fundamental benefit to employees, but why employers are willing to pay for MBA sponsorships is less evident, especially in situations of potential turnover. The benefits that employers receive from providing MBA sponsorships to their employees include:

  • Increased productivity

  • Better talent retention and employee loyalty

  • Improved employee morale

  • Well-planned promotions and succession planning

  • Attraction of promising talent

  • Streamlined organizational knowledge transfer and management

Related: Employee Benefits: Examples of the Most Common Employee Perks

Crucial skills employees gain in MBA scholarship programs

In an MBA program, you can gain skills that benefit your career growth and the company's productivity. Here are the key skills that benefit companies when employees undergo MBA programs:

Problem-solving skills

When employees receive sponsorships for their MBA courses, they gain skills that can help a company develop creative solutions to evolving issues. This presents a clear and immediate benefit to companies. MBAs equip employees with the skills that enable them to solve problems they wouldn't have solved without the skills they acquired during their MBA training. Therefore, many employers may conceptualize MBA sponsorships as an investment in their company's future viability and success.

Related: 14 Effective Problem-Solving Strategies

Leadership skills

During MBA-sponsored classes, students learn new techniques in management fields that emphasize global leadership and critical thinking. As an MBA student, you're equipped with essential leadership skills to lead teams easily. You can increase your team's performance and productivity by applying these leadership skills as an MBA sponsorship graduate.

Management skills

Through a sponsored MBA program, employees can gain various management skills and apply knowledge within their company roles. Such skills may include making sound judgments and communicating effectively with clients and colleagues. MBA students typically can study up-to-date business processes, management trends and other new developments in the field.

This can serve as a significant benefit to companies using obsolete management processes. In most cases, MBA courses help prepare students to handle many challenging management problems in a dynamic global economy. Upon their return to a company, MBA-educated employees may apply these lessons to advance the strategies currently used by organizational managers.

Related: MBA vs. Executive MBA: Which One Is Right for You?

Skills in international relations

Employees can gain insight into international business management through international initiatives in MBA programs. They may acquire valuable knowledge to help them navigate global business and marketing. Through international business training programs, including business management workshops, employees can gain exposure to valuable advice they can offer to their companies. Employees with an advanced understanding of the global market can help companies enjoy the returns of investing in MBA education initiatives.

Skills in fostering stronger business connections

In their employer-sponsored MBA studies, students gain the competency to foster strong business relationships. This competency can long outlive their programs and allow employees to forge long-lasting connections with like-minded industry experts. This can help employees bring significant investment deals and resources back to the companies that serve as their MBA sponsors.

Related: 20 Best MBA Degree Jobs That Pay Well

Do you need help with your resume?

How to find an employer with MBA sponsorships

If you want to pursue an MBA course, you can find positions within many companies with existing MBA sponsorship programs. Consider these steps when attempting to secure an MBA sponsorship offer with an employer:

1. Secure a job with a company that has an MBA sponsorship program

A well-written resume can help you find a company that offers MBA sponsorship. Mention in your resume or cover letter you intend to foster your career growth through an MBA degree. Companies providing such programs are likely to consider you as the preferred candidate.

Related: How To Prepare Your Beginner Resume: Tips and Examples

2. Learn the policies for companies with existing MBA programs

To maximize your success in getting an MBA scholarship, it's important to understand the conditions and minimum requirements you must meet to qualify. Convincing your employer to include you in their MBA programs means meeting your employer's requirements and beating the competition. Review company files or talk to human resources (HR) to understand more about the company's existing MBA program to ensure you meet the qualifications.

3. Specify your reasons for pursuing the program

Being familiar with the MBA course you want to attend is important when looking for an employer with MBA sponsorships. Show your employer how an MBA degree can benefit you and the company. For example, you may need to write a letter showcasing what you intend to do for the company once you acquire the sponsorship. To accomplish this, you must know why your company provides MBA sponsorships. Some do it for corporate responsibility and others do it to retain the best talent, while others do it as part of employee career growth programs.

Related: How To Write a Cover Letter

4. Outline the benefits to employers

In most cases, employers sponsor employees for MBAs as part of long-term organizational goals, such as succession planning and management. Therefore, in your application for sponsorship, address the benefits you can give the company if they provide you with an opportunity to study. For example, you can show that studying business management as you work can help you improve workplace productivity.

5. Talk about the roles you can perform successfully after completion

Most employers want to know the jobs you can handle after you complete an MBA program with tuition assistance. This can help employers better understand your career trajectory and how an MBA might help you work through the ranks of a company. You might consider mentioning some roles you know you can fulfill after graduating from an MBA program.

Related: Fields and Factors That Increase Salary If You Earn an MBA

6. Craft a proposal and present it to human resources

Before you ask your employer to pay for your MBA education, it's important to understand the sponsorship policy they have in place. Consider reaching out to your company's human resources department to learn more about MBA funding policies. Once you understand how your employer's MBA sponsorships work, draft a thorough proposal detailing your interest in an MBA scholarship with the company. Some of the important things to include in your proposal are:

  • Your achievements at the organization

  • The total cost you expect from the sponsors to fund your MBA education

  • Whether you require time off for lessons, projects or seminars

  • The importance of the program

  • The time you commit to working for the company after completing the program

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