There are, however, many sources of funding that are worth exploring. Some students combine their own financial means (savings, family assistance, etc.) with outside sources of funding. Others have to rely entirely on a combination of grants, loans, and employment.
Grants & Scholarships
A good way to begin searching for financial support is by investigating what grants and scholarships are available from governments and private foundations. Grants and scholarships are awards that do not have to be repaid. Merit-based scholarships for MBA programs are prestigious and substantial awards given to applicants who can demonstrate an exceptional academic and professional record, and show potential for future success. Some scholarships, such as those offered by the US-based Fulbright Commission, are highly competitive.
There are also many other grants that are offered to a limited range of students - to students of a certain religion, ethnicity, nationality, or academic interest, for example. To see which scholarships you might be eligible for, please consult one of the many publications that provide extensive lists of scholarships and educational grants.
You can use FIND MBA's MBA Scholarship directory to find scholarships.
Business School Resources
Business schools also frequently offer merit-based scholarships and grants to some of their top applicants. It is always a good idea to establish contact with the financial aid offices of business schools (if available). These offices can be valuable resources in the hunt for sources of financing, and they may be able to tell you about some of the more obscure grant and scholarship opportunities out there. Sometimes even a quick browse around a business school website can raise awareness about funding possibilities.
Prospective MBA students already working in the business world may also be able to persuade their employer to finance part or all of their MBA program. Bigger companies will sometimes have assistance programs for their employees who seek to broaden their knowledge and skills. In return for sponsorship, the company might require the employee to commit to staying for a set number of years after they have finished the MBA. Before agreeing to such an arrangement, it is good to think about whether a binding employment contract fits with your long-term career objectives and personal ambitions.
Even after securing some assistance through scholarships, grants, and employer sponsorship, many MBA students will still find it necessary to take out a loan to finance their studies and living expenses. There are several banks, private institutions, and online lenders that offer student loans. It is important to recognize that the terms, conditions, and rates that apply to these loans will vary. Some loans, such as Stafford Loans in the United States or Career Development Loans in the United Kingdom, can be subsidized by the government if one can demonstrate financial need or eligibility for government assistance.
We have provided a list of links to English-language websites that might be of use to prospective MBA students. Please understand that this list is for reference purposes only. FIND MBA does not officially endorse any these institutions or creditors, nor can we vouch for the accuracy or quality of the information and/or services they provide.
Grants & Scholarships:
- Fulbright Commission
- British Council
- British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- DAAD - German Academic Exchange Service
- Nuffic (Netherlands)
- Erasmus Mundus
- educationUSA - United States State Department Guide for International Students
- Institute of International Education (IIE)
- Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program
- Australian Department of Education Science & Training
- American Association of University Women International Fellowships
Photo: 401(K) 2012 / Creative Commons (cropped and rotated)