How to Get Your Employer to Finance Your MBA
If you’ve been thinking of the benefit an MBA can have on your paycheck and your career, you’ve probably been considering whether or not you can get your employer to pay your tuition to go back to school. Today’s online MBA programs make it easier than ever to earn an advanced degree on your schedule, without even leaving the workforce. But these degrees aren’t cheap, and the prospect of convincing your employer to give you what amounts to a huge raise may be daunting.
Fortunately, most organiszations understand the value of helping employees grow professionally and personally. If you’re a strong employee who’s already contributed value to the company, there’s no reason why your employer wouldn’t be open to your request for tuition assistance. Many companies already have policies in place regarding tuition assistance for employees who want to go back to school. Find out whether there’s a precedent for tuition assistance in your company before you begin researching programs you’re interested in and putting together a plan to persuade your employer that you’re worthy of the financial help.
Check Your Company’s Policy
The first step toward getting financial assistance from your employer to begin working on a University online MBA is to find out what your company’s policy is regarding tuition assistance. This information may be in your employee handbook, or it may even have been discussed during the hiring process. If necessary, you may take your questions about the tuition reimbursement policy to HR.
Talk to Co-Workers
Many companies have a formal policy in place for tuition assistance, but even if yours doesn’t, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to get help paying for school. Talk to co-workers who have MBAs, to find out if they got help from the company paying their educational costs. This will help you better understand whether tuition assistance is possible, and what the process of getting it is like, even in the absence of a formal policy.
It’s also a good idea, at this stage, to start getting support for your plan from others in your workplace. Your direct supervisor, mentor, or even teammates could give you advice on how to get tuition assistance, or help you build a case that educating you is worth the company’s investment.
To convince your employer to pay for your MBA tuition, you’re going to need to sound like you’ve put some thought into specific programs you’re interested in. Research a few online programs that you think would meet your needs and be ready to make a case for why those specific programs interest you. Build your argument around why features of a specific program would help you create more value for the company.
Sell Your Academic Plans to the Company
Paying for your MBA tuition should benefit your company because, in return, they’ll get a more valuable employee — one with the skills and knowledge to bring in important new clients and earn the company more money. Ideally, your ability to earn the company more money after an MBA should represent a significant return on your employer’s investment. Underscore how earning an MBA will benefit the company by improving its bottom line or resolving some of its current problems. Be prepared to commit to staying with your company for a certain length of time after earning your degree, to help them benefit from their investment in you.
Highlight Your Performance
If you’re a mediocre employee at best, it’s unlikely that your company is going to be willing to finance your graduate education. However, if you’re a strong performer, you’re going to need to highlight that performance as part of your proposal pitch. You should approach the request for tuition funds as if you’re asking for any other pay raise. Try to quantify how you’ve benefited the company. Try to be as detailed and tangible as possible regarding how you’ve helped to cut costs or boost sales.
Know How Much You Need
Don’t make your request for financial assistance vague. Know exactly how much money you’re going to need to pay tuition, fees, and other costs, like books. Be aware that your employer may not be able to fund the entire amount needed to pay for your education, especially if it is a smaller company. You may still need to get loans or scholarships to pay for some of your business school costs.
Getting your employer to pay for your MBA may not be easy, but nothing worth having ever is. Earning your MBA will give you the professional boost you need to move into upper management roles. Many companies are willing to help pay for a strong employee’s MBA tuition, because helping a single employee grow means helping the company grow, too.
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