Tag Archives: paying for your MBA

Time to Think About Funding Your MBA Plans

With Round 2 applications behind us, it’s time to turn your attention to the next step in your MBA journey. Business school is an expensive investment, and it’s never too early to start figuring out how to pay …

PAYING FOR YOUR MBAWith Round 2 applications behind us, it’s time to turn your attention to the next step in your MBA journey. Business school is an expensive investment, and it’s never too early to start figuring out how to pay for it. An MBA is a long-term investment, and fortunately, schools want to work with students to find a solution to financing school through a combination of loans and scholarships.

Therefore, the first resource to tap is your target program. Once admitted, your school will present you with a package of information about public and private loans and scholarships.

In addition, you may be considered for merit fellowships based on your academic credentials, accomplishments and experience that has already been communicated in your application. Most elite business schools offer merit-based awards at the time of admission that do not require a separate application, and some schools may also offer additional fellowships that you can apply for directly through the program.

Find out whether your target program offers fellowships or scholarships to applicants with extremely high GMAT scores, or who have otherwise excelled in academics, work experience, and service to the community.

For example, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business offers full-ride fellowships through the Jefferson Scholars Foundation that include a living stipend, funds for travel and research, and health insurance.

Some candidates look to their employer, especially those working for a large Fortune 100 company. Often, these employers will help fund your tuition if you commit to remaining with the company after graduation.

Finally, here are a few words of wisdom for individuals planning to attend business school in the near future:

  • Get your finances in order first
  • Think about living slightly below your means before school
  • Save as much as possible
  • Avoid credit card debt
  • Scale back on things you don’t need (including big things like a car if you don’t really need one)

Consider seeking out diversity organizations where applicable. Forté Foundation does an amazing job preparing women for the journey to business school, and The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management orients applicants of color during the application process and awards full-tuition scholarships to top MBA candidates.

Starting early – about three months before applying – is also really helpful if you’re pursuing scholarships, fellowships or grants. Since scholarships are free money, competition can be fierce, and you’ll benefit from having the extra time to create strong scholarship applications and from knowing the key deadlines so that opportunities don’t pass you by.

You may also be interested in:

You’re In…Now How Will You Pay for the MBA
Weigh if an MBA Makes Financial Sense
Show Me the Money: Highest Paid Consulting Firms for New MBAs
Does an MBA Pay Off? Ask Paul Ollinger

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You Got into B-School…Now How Do You Pay for It?

If you’ve been accepted into business school, congratulations and bravo! Soon it will be time to get serious about planning for your next two years. On the financial front, people will tell you that you will find …

If you’ve been accepted into business school, congratulations and bravo! Soon it will be time to get serious about planning for your next two years. On the financial front, people will tell you that you will find the money you need to go, but we know that thinking about all those zeros can get overwhelming and intimidating.

Luckily, there are hundreds of thousands of resources that will point you in the direction of loans, scholarships, and how to apply for all of them. But, before you become too entrenched in the micro-details attached to funding your MBA, take some time to zoom out and consider the big factors.

Most students use multiple sources

You’re unlikely to use only loans to fund your MBA. Candidates also approach family members, dip into savings, charge books to their credit cards, and feel relief when scholarships appear out of nowhere. It’s more a financing package than a single source of funding.

You can never start too soon

You should definitely enjoy an evening (or more) celebrating the success of your acceptance with friends and family. But, don’t wait too long to begin the hunt for your MBA funding.

Some sources are limited or competitive; others require lengthy processing times. There are so many reasons to start as quickly as you can, including the time it takes to crunch and splice your budget with your financing options until you can make it work.

Don’t underestimate your costs

Every program provides estimated attendance totals, but you shouldn’t take those numbers at face value. Clubs and associations charge membership fees, drinks with study groups aren’t free, and there are always at least a few international treks planned.

Don’t underestimate your budget for the sake of securing the lowest possible student loan. Though you may have the option to increase your financing if you must, it’s not always easy and takes time away from your b-school experience. Find the money you need the first time around.

Schools want you to find funding

Universities haven’t put that hefty price tag on their education to keep you away. They want you there—but they also want to offer the best possible education. That makes the university’s financial aid office your new best friend.

You’ll find scholarship opportunities, as well as uncover school loan products, flexible payment terms, and trusted independent sources of financing. It’s your first and last stop as you put together your funding package.

When all’s said and done, you’ll probably realize “they” were right: finding the financing isn’t as difficult as expected, even with all those zeros.

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New Scholarship Resource Open to MBA Applicants

Did you know that U.S. student loan debt exceeded $1.3 trillion in 2015? Business school is an expensive investment, and it’s never too early to start figuring out how you will pay for it. Interestingly enough, more …

Did you know that U.S. student loan debt exceeded $1.3 trillion in 2015? Business school is an expensive investment, and it’s never too early to start figuring out how you will pay for it. Interestingly enough, more than 50% of business school applicants said they would attend a less desirable program if awarded a scholarship, according to SBC’s 2016 annual survey of MBA applicants.

paying for MBA

An MBA must be seen as a long-term investment, and fortunately, schools are committed to working with students to find a solution to financing school through a combination of loans and scholarships.

While MBA programs typically offer fewer scholarships and other types of “free” money than the non-professional forms of graduate education, many online resources can help you to search for a scholarship or fellowship that fits your background and needs.

MBA applicants interested in checking out a variety of potential financial aid options should take a look at ScholarshipOwl, a new platform designed to increase students’ access to scholarships and make the scholarship market more efficient.

The goal of ScholarshipOwl is to provide direct access to the scholarships and create the best opportunities to help students graduate debt-free. The company already has 450,000 users, matching each to 60-70 scholarships on average. In addition, every month the company gives out its own $1,000 scholarship.

One of the ScholarshipOwl’s main advantages is that it matches the student’s profile to the available scholarships, saving time spent sorting through the eligibility requirements. While some scholarships in their system are limited for students accepted into a B.A. program, many are open to enrolled college students and graduate students.

There are many different application processes for financial aid, from demonstrating need to demonstrating merit. Organize the deadlines and submission guidelines to make sure you have a plan to complete the applications, and carefully follow the directions of each scholarship, fellowship or loan you are applying for.

Here are a few tips for individuals planning to attend business school in the near future:

  • Get your finances in order first
  • Think about living slightly below your means before school
  • Save as much as possible
  • Avoid credit card debt
  • Scale back on things you don’t need (including big things like a car if you don’t really need one)

Starting early – about three months before applying – is also really helpful if you’re pursuing scholarships, fellowships or grants. Since scholarships are free money, competition can be fierce, and you’ll benefit from having the extra time to create strong scholarship applications and from knowing the key deadlines so that opportunities don’t pass you by.

You may also be interested in:

Show Me the Money: Top Schools for Scholarships

Pay Less for Your MBA

ROI of the MBA Strong Across Most Tiers

Image credit: Flickr User TaxCredits (CC by 2.0)

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4 Bad Reasons to Skip Applying for B-School

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News. Self-sabotage is any behavior or emotion that keeps individuals from going after something they want. This mental safety mechanism keeps them in their …

MBA rejection

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.

Self-sabotage is any behavior or emotion that keeps individuals from going after something they want. This mental safety mechanism keeps them in their comfort zone and protects against disappointment, but it also prevents people from stretching and growing to reach their highest potential.

If you really believe that going to business school is the key to unlocking a more fulfilling and lucrative professional life, then don’t sabotage that goal by letting yourself get swayed by these four bad reasons for not pursuing an MBA degree.

1. I have too little or too much work experience. While business schools used to have a requirement of previous work experience – often averaging five years – that has changed considerably over the past decade. Limited professional experience is no longer a hindrance in many cases, since schools actively court applicants of different ages, genders and backgrounds.

Earlier entrance to business school would allow women who plan to have a family to establish their careers first. Also, younger applicants can make the case that the MBA degree is crucial to attaining their already crystalized career goals. Most students would be financially better off in the long run as well if they didn’t delay too long in seeking an MBA, particularly when taking into account the opportunity cost of forgone salary – and schools are aware of this.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have more than eight years of work experience, there’s no need to fear that your MBA ship has sailed. It’s not about chronological age – it’s more about maturity, readiness and where you are in your career.

If you’re contemplating business school in your mid-30s, the key is to demonstrate confidence, how you’ve progressed professionally and what you’ve contributed on the job. Both younger and olderapplicants get accepted into top programs, so your age and experience level should never be the sole deciding factor of whether to apply to business school.

2. I was denied admission last year. Some people have a hard time dealing with what they perceive as rejection. If you’ve been feeling down ever since you received rejection letters, remember to keep your chin up.

First, elite MBA programs are extremely selective. At the top schools, out of every 100 applications, only around seven to 12 are accepted.

In other words, it’s very much a numbers game when you’re applying to such competitive programs. Only so many spots are available for an overwhelming number of extremely talented candidates.

Applying to an MBA program is seriously hard work. Give yourself some time to recharge from the last go-around, but then get ready to take a critical look at where you can enhance your candidacy before applying again. Make sure every aspect of your application is as polished as humanly possible.

Whether it’s retaking the GMAT to boost your score, taking a calculus course to prove your quantitative skills or looking at what you can do to strengthen your profile professionally or within your extracurriculars, everyone has room for improvement. We’ve seen many triumphant cases of reapplicants receiving offers of admission from their dream school, so one unsuccessful season should never deter you from trying again.

3. I haven’t done anything amazing to get into a top school. It’s hard not to feel intimidated when you read the admitted student profiles at many of the elite MBA programs, which might include Olympians, successful entrepreneurs, decorated military officers and candidates with outstanding public service experience. However, don’t get psyched out of applying just because you can’t list anything similarly noteworthy on your application.

To stand out in the eyes of the admissions committee, you just need to provide hard proof that you made a difference. But it’s not about the scale of your achievements – rather, it’s the fact that you left indelible footprints. Show that you’re solutions-oriented and provide evidence of situations where you have applied your analysis, formulated an action plan and, most importantly, executed the plan.

Community service is very important to the admissions committee because it provides insights into your deeper interests and the causes you care about. It also shows that you are the type of person who devotes energy to making a community stronger.

Again, it’s not about demonstrating the most compelling act of service. Just show what you care about and how that activity or involvement enriches your life while helping others.

4. Business school is expensive. I won’t try to tell you that an MBA degree from a top business school isn’t pricey. Not only are you spending money on tuition and all of the other associated costs, but in many cases you will forego salary during the length of the program.

While figuring out how to pay for it all can be challenging and intimidating, look at an MBA as a long-term financial investment. Fortunately, schools are deeply committed to working with students to find a solution to financing school through a combination of loans and scholarships.

I strongly believe that where there’s a will there’s a way and that the MBA degree pays off in many ways, both quantifiable and priceless. So shake off those self-sabotaging thoughts and get started on creating your own path to the professional goals you seek.

 Image credit:: Flickr user Yuwen Memon (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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You’re In…Now How Will You Pay for the MBA?

As MBA applicants look to funding their MBA education, finding and applying for fellowships is an important next step.

paying for MBA

While MBA programs typically offer fewer scholarships and other types of “free” money than the non-professional forms of graduate education, many online resources can help you to search for a scholarship or fellowship that fits your background and needs.

First, check with your target program. Once admitted, your school will present you with a package of information about public and private loans and scholarships. In fact, many schools have comprehensive websites on the topic.

In addition, you may qualify for merit fellowships based on your academic credentials, accomplishments and experience that you have already touched upon in your application. Some business schools also offer additional fellowships that you can apply for directly through the program.

Applying for the Money
The application processes differ for financial aid, from demonstrating need to demonstrating merit. Organize the deadlines and submission guidelines to make sure you have a plan to complete the applications, and carefully follow the directions of each scholarship, fellowship or loan you plan to apply for.

If you need to submit an essay, answer the question as thoroughly and succinctly as you would any other MBA essay.

The value of fellowships/scholarships should be fairly straightforward, though you may emphasize either need or merit in your response, depending upon the direction you plan to take in the argument for your own application.

You’ll need to prove serious financial hardship if going the needs-based route. If you did have difficulties with finances throughout your life and could not attend business school without such assistance, you may have a good argument. If not, you should pursue the merit-based direction.

When providing evidence for need-based aid, give a straightforward explanation of your economic situation and why you would have difficulty paying for your MBA education. Avoid any complaining or blame, and instead focus on what you have accomplished in your life with little resources and how you plan to continue that trajectory as you benefit from greater resources.

With a merit-based argument, you should outline your accomplishments, both academic and professional. Sell yourself as you would in a job interview, and provide solid evidence for your accomplishments as you did in your application essays.

The impact of financial assistance may allow you to pursue activities such as travel and leadership opportunities. In addition, your receipt of aid may benefit the people around you. If you have been involved in your community or with charity, you can certainly describe the impact you have made on the lives of others thus far and how that impact will be even greater with a business education.

Image by: TaxCredits.net (CC BY 2.0)

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