A quick glance at the tuition fees for MBA courses may put you off, but there are several ways you can cover the costs - and you can combine different funding methods too
Tuition fees vary considerably depending on your chosen business school's reputation and facilities. They can fall anywhere between £6,200 at the University of Wales Trinity St David to £78,500 at the 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 fortunate enough to be able to use savings or help from family members to self-fund their studies, but otherwise there are several alternative sources of finance on offer.
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 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.
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.
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.
Government-backed loans worth up to £10,609 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.
Professional and Career Development Loans
Provided by The Co-operative Bank, Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) are worth between £300 and £10,000 and can be used towards tuition fees, study costs and living expenses. The money is usually offered at reduced interest rates and this interest is paid by the government while you're studying.
You need to apply three months in advance of your course start-date 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 as they may have access to alternative loans and can advise on which is the best route for you.
Note that you must apply by 25 January 2019, as PCDLs will not be available after this. Discover more about PCDLs.
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 £2million 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.