Employer MBA sponsorships: Here’s what you should know

An MBA can help you stand out from the competition.

By U2B Staff 

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MBAs haven’t lost their lustre or value. New research by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the Business Graduates Association (BGA) reveals that almost two-thirds of MBA graduates landed their ideal jobs within six months of completing an MBA from an AMBA accredited business school. If you’re looking to arm yourself with this coveted degree, don’t let money become a stumbling block — consider inquiring about an MBA sponsorship with your organisation.

Previously, accounting giant Ernst & Young (EY) made headlines when they announced that they would be offering a fully accredited virtual corporate MBA at no charge for all 284,000 EY staff located in over 150 countries.

While not every company has the resources to offer their employees free MBAs, some may offer to partially fund their employees’ MBAs, or offer MBA sponsorships that can help make your dream a reality. But there are some considerations to mull about before you take this step.


Some companies still offer MBA sponsorships

Just last year, a Bloomberg Businessweek survey of 10,473 MBA graduates from the class of 2018 at 126 schools around the world found that of 1,484 students who returned to work to their previous employer after graduating, 35% said that they received at least 75% tuition coverage. 

Within that group, 57% were paid by consulting companies, financial services companies, or the government, which mostly means the military, they said.

Some companies like Deloitte have a Graduate School Assistance Program (GSAP), which is open to high performing consulting professionals to attend some of the top graduate schools. GSAP participants receive full tuition reimbursement after two years of employment at Deloitte following graduate school, its website states. 

They can return to Deloitte as Senior Consultants upon completion of their graduate degree. Deloitte also negotiates discounts for graduate school entrance exam preparation classes.


Be prepared to lock yourself into a contract or bond

Companies that agree to pay for their employee’s education usually have an employment bond with their staff where you agree to work for the company for a certain number of years; breaking the bond would usually mean repaying the cost of your education.

For instance, in the US, Jered Collins was a recipient of a free MBA from the US army. According to Bloomberg, the army paid for Collins’s US$100,000, two-year stint at the Mason School of Business at William and Mary. 

In exchange, he agreed to six additional years of service; choosing to leave the military before that term entails repaying the cost.

While you might feel tempted to take up an employment bond with your current employer, it’s worth considering how the company might change over the course of five or more years; change of leadership and company policies can make a once welcoming environment unpleasant, so think thoroughly before you sign the dotted line. 

At the end of the day, employer MBA sponsorships may not be as common during an economic downturn, but if you can demonstrate your value as an employee and how your MBA will benefit the company, your MBA can benefit both yourself and your company — and most importantly, a mountain of student loan debt.