Again and again, we hear about how expensive MBA programs abroad are: the numbers are quoted time and time again, by aspirant and their relatives alike. And we agree that the amounts are hefty, and that they should in no way be taken lightly.
But we also know that, in our experience, it’s been the most worthwhile investment that our students have ever made in their lives. Without exception, people have come back from the top schools and told us that it made sense. The same people often sat with us a few years previously, and we pored over scholarship tables together.
Here are 7 thoughts you should take with you, and use whenever you have questions about financing your MBA abroad.
Think like an MBA, approach it from a cost benefit point of view
The one great advantage that MBA graduates have is the power to take a problem, and view it in isolation as a purely business proposition. You need to do something like that, as you think of financing your MBA abroad. First, think of the cost of the MBA in your school of choice – all details will be available on the relevant school website. Next, think of the possible benefits from a purely financial point of view – look at median starting salaries, increase those by 20% a year, and you will quickly come to the realization that the entire amount of your loan, with interest factored in, will be a fraction of your annual income in your late thirties. That alone should be enough to convince you of the feasibility of the investment – from a purely tangible benefit perspective. When you factor in the million other intangible benefits like the network , the credibility, the experiences and the friends, it’s not even a contest between cost and benefit any more!
Focus on the prize at the end of the tunnel
It’s always true that, if the object in question is important enough, human beings will do anything without reason to make it happen, setting aside small questions like those of money involved. You should do the same as well – think of what you stand to gain, with a big name MBA to your credit. Think of the three big advantages that a foreign MBA will bring to you – the best jobs, the widest networks, and the most memorable experiences. Decide whether that means everything to your career, and whether that can really take you to the next level. Once you decide that, then the question of the course fees is really something that is secondary; it becomes something that everyone has figured out, and that you will too!
Remember that there are always scholarships
The number of scholarships available at every school always runs into the hundreds, and is always different for every school. Many schools forgive a large part of your tuition fee – automatically – if you have worked in India, given the exchange rate disparity. There are a lot of individual based scholarships as well, and there’s always a Financial Aid office that maintains copious literature on all these, that you can get in touch with as soon as your admit is confirmed.
Be assured that the loan terms are extremely generous
The loan terms are definitely not such that you will have to work your fingers to the bone, immediately after you graduate, in a desperate attempt to pay back the money you owe in time. For example, multiple banks associated with Harvard Business School give you a 15 year loan at a reasonable student rate of interest, and that’s pretty much the best loan deal you can get anywhere in the world, without being a country yourself! You will have enough time to take career risks if you want to; the name tag associated with a top MBA is safety net enough in itself.
Be aware of MBA funding opportunities from companies
A lot of companies fund foreign MBAs partially or completely for their employees, in return for some sort of surety that the employee will come back and work there for at least two years. A lot of companies do not do this, but are willing to when they hear of the concept; so it’s definitely something you can pitch. In addition, there is a small but increasing number of companies who give you an offer on campus where they will pay for part of your MBA, in return for you accepting their offer earlier on in the placement cycle, so that they get the advantage of your talent earlier.
Think long term rather than short term
One important thing is to approach your MBA as a strategic play rather than as a tactical decision. It’s not a one year or a two year decision, it’s something that will put you on the fast track for the rest of your life. To make this happen for yourself, it’s critical that you are able to focus on what matters – namely, getting in to your dream MBA program abroad – rather than what does not, namely, the logistics of financing the MBA, which is something everyone who gets in manages to do.
Do not let the cost of your MBA be a factor in your decision on whether to do an MBA or not
All these points serve to explain one thing – that you should definitely think through your MBA decision long and hard. Once you commit yourself, it is a lot of work. But, as you are thinking of the decision, you need to focus only on the key things: whether you have what it takes, and whether it will really change your life in the way it has so many. If the answer to those two is ‘Yes’, then the cost will take care of itself, and there are experts who will help you with the details.
Now that we have discussed large numbers for a while, and why those large numbers don’t really matter, it’s time to bid goodbye to this edition of the Jamboree In Depth Look. We are sure that most of your questions on MBA costs have been answered. However, if you have any more, you are most welcome to get in touch with any of our centres; we will put you in touch with our GMAT and MBA admissions experts, and bring the wisdom of decades of coaching to bear, as we bring you the insights you need.