Is Employer MBA Sponsorship Right for You?

Is Employer MBA Sponsorship Right for You?

MBA sponsorship sounds like the perfect solution to financing issues: Find a great company to work for, pursue an MBA with their support, and give back by using your newfound skills to increase profits in said company. However, company sponsored MBAs come with their own issues. While some employers do offer aid with tuition, these offers are usually covered by strict stipulations and it’s worth considering all the options to cover your costs before pursuing this route:

Are you sure you want to be sponsored?

The first question to ask yourself is if you really want MBA sponsorship. Company sponsorship means locking yourself into a contract for the foreseeable future (often between two to five years post MBA graduation). This means that you won’t be able to make the most of career fairs or recruitment on campus, and unless you agree it beforehand, salary increases will be hard to negotiate.

Your choice of institution could also be limited, especially if you’re planning on pursuing a part-time course and remaining at your company - so consider if you’re willing to settle for a course which would not have been your first choice.

What are they offering you?

If your employer does offer to help, ensure that you understand exactly what they’re offering. It may be an offer to cover your tuition, or it may be an offer to reimburse your costs. If it’s the latter, you will be required to complete the course to receive the money back. Other stipulations will usually include a minimum grade requirement and a contract guaranteeing that you’ll continue working for the company post-graduation. Breaking any of these requirements will result in either the company not reimbursing you or demanding the money back.

Some companies will offer reimbursement based on grades, e.g. a staggered percentage depending on how well you do on the course. That will certainly incentivize you to do as well as possible, but could also add to the pressure of the course itself.

How to approach your employer

Even if your company does have an MBA sponsorship program, employees will still usually be required to present a business case which proves value to the employer. Before approaching your HR department, create a business case which focusses on benefits to your organization. Think about how your MBA will help you in your current role and how it will help increase bottom line profits for your company. If possible, use past cases as examples to demonstrate the value you can bring.

Generally speaking, part-time MBA (executive MBAs and online MBAs as well as full-time equivalents spread over a longer time period) are more likely to receive funding than full-time MBAs, as this means that employees will still be working at the company during their studies and will be able to use their newfound knowledge and skills immediately. Those studying distance programs will also be more likely to receive funding, for the same reason.

Decided employer funding is right for you?

If you’ve settled on pursuing MBA sponsorship, you’ll be wondering which companies offer the best reimbursement packages - check employee benefits for details, or take a look at the top companies for educational remuneration below:

  • Apple: Reimbursement up to US$5,000 annually.
  • Google: Up to US$12,000 a year, if you achieve A and B grades and work for the company full-time.
  • BP: Up to 90% of the eligible expenses taken at an approved institution.
  • Deloitte: Full tuition reimbursement after two years of employment at Deloitte.
  • Bank of America Corp: Up to US$5,250 for job-related programs and courses.
  • Intel: 100% of reimbursable educational costs.
  • Chevron: Up to 75% tuition reimbursement.
  • Ford: Up to US$5,000 annually.
  • Procter & Gamble: 80% of educational costs, up to US$40,000.
Amelia Hopkins
Written by Amelia Hopkins

Amelia Hopkins is a writer for TopMBA, covering the latest news in business and business education. A graduate of the University of Leeds and Yorkshire native, she enjoys reading, travelling and talking incessantly about the countryside.

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