Funding an MBA

Rachel Swain, Editorial manager
October, 2020

There's no doubt that MBAs are expensive, but don't let course fees put you off. There are a number of ways to cover the cost - you can even combine different funding options

Tuition fees vary considerably depending on your chosen business school's reputation and facilities. They can fall anywhere between £7,500 at University of Wales Trinity St David to £87,900 at London Business School (LBS). Find out more about how much an MBA costs. Of course, there are also living expenses to consider as well.

Some students may be able to use savings or rely on help from family members to self-fund their studies, alternatively there are several other sources of finance.

Part-time study while working

Self-funding and part-time work are among the most popular funding methods, proving it's possible to work while studying for an MBA. However, juggling the demands of work with an intensive study schedule is no easy task. You'll 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 that you won't have to leave it, you'll earn a salary while you study and you'll be able to manage any family commitments you may have. However, the MBA will take longer to complete and it can be difficult to give your full attention to the course.

To see what's on offer, search part-time MBAs and distance learning MBAs.

Learn more about how to balance work and study.

Employer sponsorship

The majority of MBA courses require a minimum of three years' work experience, so it's likely that you'll already be in a relevant job when applying for the course. Take advantage of this by asking your employer whether they can pay some, or all, of your fees.

Explain what benefits your MBA will bring to the company, to give your employer a reason to invest in you - for example, the leadership and management skills you'll develop. Your employer will usually expect you to commit to working for them for a fixed number of years after completing your MBA to ensure they see a return on their financial commitment.

Employer sponsorship usually goes hand-in-hand with part-time study as you'll continue to work in your current role. Discover more about employer sponsorship.

Postgraduate loans

Government-backed loans worth up to £11,222 (for courses starting on or after 1 August 2020) are available to help pay for full or part-time postgraduate study. This will not be enough to cover tuition fees for many MBA courses, but can make a significant contribution, especially if combined with other funding methods. These loans are similar to student loans offered at undergraduate level.

The details of who is eligible and the repayment terms are complex and vary depending on which part of the UK you are from. Find out more about postgraduate loans in England and Wales, postgraduate loans in Northern Ireland and postgraduate loans in Scotland.

Scholarships and bursaries

Many universities have money available to give to students as non-repayable scholarships and bursaries. There's fierce competition for what's available, so you'll need to make sure you make a strong application. Explain why you think you should receive the money and document any special achievements in your career history to improve your chances.

Scholarships and bursaries vary with each business school, but they can be offered for alumni, academic excellence or to promote diversity.

For instance, Warwick Business School (WBS) has £6million of scholarships for MBA and MSc candidates. As part of your MBA application, you have to write 300 words on why you believe you deserve a share of the award. Browse university websites to discover who else offers scholarships, or find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

You could also consider raising money for your MBA by crowdfunding.

Find out more

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