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Will Your Company Pay for Your MBA?

Will Your Company Pay for Your MBA?

Posted April 01, 2016 by Lee Davidson - Coordinator, Copywriter/Editor - AACSB International

Many MBA programs offer flexible formats that allow students to continue their careers while studying. One particular type of program that offers this flexibility is the part-time MBA, also called a fully employed MBA, or FEMBA. Students enrolled in part-time MBA or FEMBA programs have a low course-load requirement per term, which enables them to balance a career and school. Part-time MBAs were largely designed with the career-oriented student in mind, often with the assumption that the student has already gained some real-world work experience and also with consideration for the student’s particular scheduling needs. Some companies will even help pay for an employee's education if that education applies to their job, which also benefits the company.

What Should I Know About Employer-Sponsored Education?

Companies that pay for MBAs do so for a number of reasons. Primarily, though, they want their employees to gain new and relevant skills to apply to their jobs, and they also want to retain good talent. To this latter point, it’s important to know what you’re signing up for when you agree to accept employer contributions toward your education. Many companies, as part of their education sponsorship, have some form of contract with the employee that requires them to stick around for a certain amount of time after the degree is earned—usually from two to five years—or repay the tuition if they leave before that time period. This makes sense; the company invested in their employee by instilling him or her with knowledge and credentials, and they want to make good on that investment by realizing the added value the MBA-educated employee brings to the company. So it’s important to consider whether your job is a good long-term fit before pursuing education sponsorship.

Also worth noting is the numerous forms of MBA financing available from companies. Lots of employers offer a maximum dollar amount per year toward tuition, including books and other associated costs. That number commonly averages around 5,000 USD for graduate studies—which may impact where you choose to apply for your MBA. Other companies contribute a percentage of tuition costs, usually from around 75 to 100 percent—but sometimes up to a maximum dollar amount. Still other employers may offer a lifetime tuition amount or a maximum contribution toward the full degree. Often the tuition benefit comes in the form of a reimbursement and is contingent on successful degree completion or even on course grades. For example, a company may issue a reimbursement amount relative to a grade scale: 100 percent reimbursement for a course grade of A, 90 percent for a B, and so on. Now that’s some incentive to get the most out of your MBA!

Which Companies Pay for MBA Degrees?

Some notable companies that pay for MBAs are very big ones: Apple, Disney, Google, Starbucks, UPS, and the like. But just in case you aren’t likely to be hired by one of these large, global companies anytime soon, you can research other companies that pay for MBAs by exploring their publicly listed values and benefits if available on their website, or you can even make a case for your current employer to help pay for your MBA, if they don’t already offer an tuition assistance. Job sectors that are more likely than others to support employee education are higher education, financial services, government, and generally forward-thinking companies. Something you may want to steer clear of: certain employers may have agreements with for-profit institutions, which often means those business programs are not accredited by AACSB. In the long run, a degree from an unaccredited institution likely will not have long-term value outside of your employment with that company, so looking into other financing options for your MBA, or looking into other companies, may better serve your future career goals.

Deciding to pursue an MBA is a big decision, but with the help of flexible programs and employer tuition assistance, it doesn’t have to be a daunting one. Finding the right combination of MBA format and overall job fit can help you on your way to MBA fulfillment and a bright career future.