How to Finance Your MBA in 5 Ways

By admitStreet Team

Dreaming of earning an MBA but worried about the hefty price tag? Fear not! Financing your MBA education doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, there are plenty of ways to make your dream a reality without breaking the bank. 

Whether you’re a recent college graduate or a seasoned professional looking to advance your career, there are several avenues to explore when it comes to funding your MBA journey. 

In this article, we’ll explore five practical strategies to finance your MBA, from securing scholarships to tapping into personal savings and investments. So, let’s dive in and discover how you can make your MBA aspirations a reality!

5 Ways to finance your MBA

These are the 5 ways you can finance your MBA:

  1. Scholarships
  2. Loans
  3. Employer Sponsorship
  4. Personal Savings and Investments
  5. Pursue an Internship or a Research Assistant Job

Let’s take a look at each of these 5 ways in detail:


Scholarships stand out as one of the most sought-after resources for MBA candidates aiming to finance their business education. These financial aids, unlike loans, are gifts that do not require repayment, making them an attractive option for those aiming to reduce student debt. However, securing scholarships requires proactive effort and strategic planning. 

Let’s delve into the world of MBA scholarships, exploring different scholarship types, strategies for application, and maximizing your chances of success.

Merit-Based Scholarships

These Merit-Based Scholarships are typically awarded to MBA candidates based on academic achievement, leadership potential, and other merit-based criteria. Often linked to high GMAT scores and exceptional application materials.

Here are a few aspects of the Merit Based MBA Scholarships:

GMAT PerformanceA high GMAT score serves as a hallmark of academic achievement, correlating with success in the MBA program.
Application QualityCrafting a compelling application is paramount, highlighting unique qualities and experiences that set the applicant apart.
Diversity of BackgroundsScholarship committees seek candidates with varied experiences, enriching the classroom environment and fostering insightful discussions.

Identity-Based Scholarships

Diversity and inclusion are integral aspects of MBA programs, and scholarship committees often prioritize candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. 

Programs such as the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Forté Fellows program provide scholarships specifically aimed at supporting women pursuing MBA degrees. Likewise, scholarships targeting minority groups, including African Americans, Latinx, and Hispanics, aim to foster greater diversity within MBA cohorts.

Women in BusinessPrograms like the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Forté Fellows support women pursuing MBAs.
Underrepresented GroupsScholarships target individuals less likely to pursue MBA degrees, contributing to diversity initiatives within business schools.

School Rankings and Scholarships

School PrestigeLower-ranked business schools may offer larger scholarships to attract top-tier candidates and enhance their rankings.
Excellence ExpectationScholarships are used to entice candidates who exhibit academic excellence and professional promise.

Need Based Scholarships

While many MBA scholarships are merit-based, some institutions, such as Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business, offer scholarships based on financial need.  For example: Approximately 50 percent of students receive a need-based scholarship from HBS and the average scholarship is approximately $46,000 per year, or $92,000 total.

Demonstrating financial need through the application process is essential for consideration for these scholarships. Although academic achievement and GMAT scores remain important, they do not influence the allocation of need-based scholarships. These scholarships serve as invaluable resources for students facing financial constraints, ensuring that talented individuals can pursue their MBA aspirations irrespective of their financial background.

External Scholarships

External scholarships present additional opportunities for MBA funding, often through organizations, foundations, and corporate sponsors. These scholarships may require separate applications and essays, focusing on your alignment with the organization’s mission and values. For instance, Stanford GSB’s Knight-Hennessy Scholars program offers full-tuition scholarships to exceptionally qualified MBA students, emphasizing leadership potential and societal impact.

Key Strategies for Securing MBA Scholarships

To maximize your chances of receiving MBA scholarships, focus on the following key strategies:

  • Maximize Your GMAT Score: A high GMAT score is often a prerequisite for merit-based scholarships. Invest time and effort in preparing for the GMAT to demonstrate your academic aptitude and competitiveness.
  • Build a Strong Application: Craft a compelling application that highlights your unique qualities, experiences, and achievements. Emphasize how your background and aspirations align with the values and objectives of the scholarship providers.
  • Explore External Opportunities: Research and apply for external scholarships offered by organizations and foundations aligned with your background, interests, and career goals. Be diligent in meeting application deadlines and fulfilling eligibility requirements.
  • Negotiate Offers: If you receive multiple scholarship offers or financial aid packages from different schools, consider negotiating with your preferred institution. Inform them of competing offers to potentially increase your scholarship or financial assistance package.


Education loans serve as a vital source of funding for MBA students, providing financial support to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and other educational costs. Both US and Indian students pursuing an MBA have access to various loan options tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.

United States Students

In the United States, MBA students can explore several loan programs to finance their education:

  • Federal Student Loans: The US Department of Education offers federal student loans, including Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Grad PLUS Loans, to eligible graduate students. These loans typically offer competitive interest rates and flexible repayment options, making them a popular choice for MBA financing.
  • Private Student Loans: Private lenders, such as banks, credit unions, and online financial institutions, also provide education loans to MBA students. Private loans may offer higher loan limits but often come with variable interest rates and less favorable repayment terms compared to federal loans.
  • MBA-Specific Loans: Some financial institutions offer specialized loan programs designed specifically for MBA students. These loans may offer competitive terms and features tailored to the unique needs of MBA candidates, such as deferred repayment options or loan forgiveness programs.

Indian Students

In India, MBA students can explore various loan options to finance their education, including:

  • Education Loans from Banks: Several banks in India offer education loans specifically for students pursuing higher education, including MBA programs. These loans typically cover tuition fees, living expenses, and other related costs and may offer competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms.
  • Government-Sponsored Loan Schemes: The Indian government has launched various loan schemes to support students’ access to higher education, including the Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Scheme and the Vidyalakshmi Education Loan Scheme. These schemes provide financial assistance to eligible students pursuing MBA programs at recognized institutions.
  • Scholarship-Cum-Education Loan Schemes: Some banks and financial institutions in India offer scholarship-cum-education loan schemes, wherein students can avail themselves of both scholarship grants and education loans to finance their MBA education. These schemes provide additional financial assistance and may offer favorable terms and conditions.
  • Education Loan Providers: In addition to banks, non-banking financial institutions (NBFCs) and other specialized education loan providers in India offer financing options for MBA students. These providers may offer customized loan products with features tailored to the needs of MBA candidates, such as pre-approved loans or doorstep services.

Considering applying for a loan? Check your Education Loan Eligibility here, and Apply for a loan at best-fit lenders within a few minutes

Employer Sponsorship

Employer sponsorship represents a valuable opportunity for MBA candidates to receive financial support from their current employers for pursuing advanced education. This form of assistance not only helps alleviate the financial burden of an MBA program but also fosters professional development and strengthens employer-employee relationships. Here’s a detailed exploration of employer sponsorship as a financing option for your MBA:

Understanding Employer Sponsorship

Employer sponsorship involves an agreement between an employer and an employee wherein the employer provides financial assistance or support for the employee’s MBA education. This support may include tuition reimbursement, scholarships, study leave, or other forms of financial aid. In return, the employee typically commits to remaining with the employer for a specified period after completing the MBA program.

Benefits of Employer Sponsorship

  • Financial Assistance: Employer sponsorship can significantly reduce the out-of-pocket expenses associated with pursuing an MBA, as employers may cover part or all of the tuition fees, textbooks, and other educational costs.
  • Professional Development: An MBA education enhances an employee’s skills, knowledge, and expertise, making them a more valuable asset to their employer. Employer sponsorship demonstrates the employer’s investment in the employee’s professional growth and career advancement.
  • Career Advancement Opportunities: Earning an MBA opens doors to new career opportunities and advancement within the organization. Employers may view sponsoring employees’ MBAs as a strategic investment in grooming future leaders and executives.
  • Retention and Loyalty: Employees who receive employer sponsorship for their MBA education often feel valued and appreciated by their employers. This can foster a sense of loyalty and commitment, reducing turnover and enhancing employee retention rates.

Considerations for Employer Sponsorship

  • Career Alignment: Ensure that pursuing an MBA aligns with your long-term career goals and aspirations within the organization. Seek sponsorship for programs that enhance your skills and expertise relevant to your current role or desired career path.
  • Contractual Obligations: Be aware of any contractual obligations or commitments you may be required to fulfill in exchange for employer sponsorship, such as a minimum employment tenure post-MBA or repayment clauses in case of early departure.
  • Opportunity Cost: Consider the opportunity cost of forgoing potential career opportunities or salary increases during the period of MBA study, especially if your employer sponsorship entails full-time study or reduced working hours.
  • Alternative Funding Sources: Explore other financing options in addition to employer sponsorship, such as scholarships, loans, or personal savings, to supplement the financial assistance provided by your employer.

Personal Savings and Investments

Personal savings and investments represent a foundational method for financing your MBA education. By diligently saving and strategically investing your funds, you can accumulate the resources necessary to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and other costs associated with pursuing an MBA. Here’s a detailed exploration of how personal savings and investments can serve as a valuable financing option for your MBA:

Building Your MBA Fund

  • Establishing a Savings Plan: Start by setting clear financial goals and creating a savings plan tailored to your MBA aspirations. Determine how much you need to save and establish a timeline for reaching your target amount. Consistently contribute to your savings account to steadily build your MBA fund.
  • Budgeting and Expense Management: Review your current spending habits and identify areas where you can cut back or save money. Implementing a strict budget and prioritizing essential expenses can free up additional funds to allocate towards your MBA savings goal.
  • Automating Savings Contributions: Take advantage of automated savings tools, such as direct deposits or automatic transfers, to streamline your savings process. Set up recurring transfers from your checking account to your designated MBA savings account to ensure consistent contributions.
  • Exploring High-Yield Savings Accounts: Consider opening a high-yield savings account to earn higher interest rates on your savings compared to traditional savings accounts. Research and compare different banking options to find the best rates and terms for your needs.
  • Strategic Investments: Explore investment opportunities to grow your MBA fund over time. Consider investing in diversified portfolios, stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, depending on your risk tolerance and investment goals. Consult with a financial advisor to develop a personalized investment strategy aligned with your MBA financing objectives.

Pursue an Internship or a Research Assistant Job

Taking on an internship, a teaching or research assistantship while pursuing an MBA can offer valuable financial assistance and professional development opportunities. Here’s how these roles can help finance your MBA:


  • Ranging from pre-MBA internships to summer (and spring/ winter) internships, taking on an intern position is the best way to march towards a full-time role while making money.
  • Preparation for internships should ideally start as soon as you have an admit, particularly for the shorter (European: 10-16 month) programs. Even for 2-year US MBA programs, it helps to build a network in advance. This can potentially also lead to referrals, and increase your chances of converting to a full-time role.

Teaching Assistantship (TA)

  • Many MBA programs offer teaching assistant positions to qualified students. As a TA, you may assist professors with course-related tasks, such as grading assignments, leading discussion sections, or preparing course materials.
  • In exchange for your services, you may receive a stipend, tuition remission, or both, which can help offset the cost of tuition and living expenses.
  • Additionally, serving as a TA can enhance your communication, leadership, and organizational skills, providing valuable experience for your future career in business or academia.

Research Assistantship (RA)

  • Research assistant positions are another common form of financial support for MBA students, particularly those interested in pursuing careers in academia, consulting, or research.
  • As an RA, you may work closely with faculty members on research projects, data analysis, literature reviews, and other scholarly activities.
  • RA positions may provide a stipend, tuition remission, or research funding, allowing you to finance your MBA education while gaining hands-on experience in your field of interest.
  • Engaging in research activities as an RA can also help you build valuable connections with faculty members and industry professionals, potentially opening doors to future career opportunities.

When considering whether to pursue an internship or a teaching/ research assistantship during your MBA program, weigh the financial benefits against the time commitment and potential impact on your academic and career goals. If you’re passionate about teaching or research and can balance these responsibilities with your coursework and other obligations, a TA or RA position can be a rewarding way to finance your MBA education while gaining valuable skills and experience. An internship is the hands-on way to demonstrate your value-add in a practical setting, while opening doors for a full-time role.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, pursuing an MBA is an investment in your future, and finding the right financing option is crucial to making that investment worthwhile. Whether you’re leveraging scholarships, taking out loans, securing employer sponsorship, tapping into personal savings, or exploring internship/ assistantship opportunities, there’s a solution out there to fit your needs and circumstances. 

Remember, your MBA journey is unique to you, and finding the right balance between financial responsibility and investment in your future is key. So, don’t let financial concerns hold you back from achieving your goals. With determination, resourcefulness, and a bit of financial savvy, you can pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career in business.

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