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How to approach requesting employer support for EMBA fees

October 31, 2017

A quick guide to get support in paying tuition fees

Two men negotiating

One of the key benefits of obtaining an EMBA degree is the powerful effect it can have on lifetime earning potential. According to the GMAC 2016 Alumni Perspectives Survey, an EMBA education offers a median initial boost in salary of USD $10,000 (€8,600), with further increases over 10 years netting a return on investment of 1,747 percent. For the ambitious businessperson, this makes an executive MBA an excellent way to set out on the fast track to a very lucrative living.

Given that a good part-time executive MBA program will allow you to continue working throughout your education, self-financing this type of degree is something that many business people are willing and able to do. However, people reluctant to take on the full up-front cost of tuition might also want to try appealing to employers for their assistance in paying.

Interested in giving it a try? Here are a few tips to help you with approaching employers for their support.

Focus on the company's ROI when broaching the subject of support for your EMBA

Even when you are considering an executive MBA program with flexible scheduling, you may require some amount of time off work during your studies. This does present a kind of cost to an employer, and paying a portion of an employee's tuition would of course be an additional cost as well. For this reason, one of the goals of an aspiring executive MBA student should be to convince employers that this would be an investment that would lead to great benefit for the company.

An advantage in this regard is that executive MBA educations are well-rounded, and likely touch on material that can help you become highly proficient in an area that will be advantageous to your organization.

Prior to beginning the conversation with your employer, take some time to look at the executive MBA courses you are interested in taking, and think of pain points for your business that they might help you solve. Might training in data analysis be the secret to overcoming lingering efficiency troubles? Perhaps the global nature of the course can offer valuable insight to aid in expansion efforts? Make your case to your employer in these terms and you will have a better shot at convincing them that contributing to your tuition would be a sound investment.

A man looking at figures and statistics
Focus on what your executive MBA can do for your employer when asking for tuition assistance.

Be prepared to address the issue of EMBA graduate loyalty

The advanced skills that EMBA graduates possess can be double-edged swords for employers. On the one hand, they can go a long way to improving a business's output and outlook. On the other, they are highly coveted by other businesses as well.

An employer may be concerned that an investment in your education could lead to you getting a lucrative offer from some other employer. For this reason, it's not unusual for organizations to ask for a contract with employees they assist with tuition payments - you might get the financial aid you want, but need to commit to staying where you currently are for a number of years.

If faced with this situation, consider working with your employer on the terms of the deal. Asking for less money might lead to a shorter contractual demand, for example, and it's not inappropriate to build bonuses, raises, and promotions into an executive contract too.

Two men negotiating
If employers want a contract in exchange for tuition support, consider negotiating for future benefits.

Finding out if your employer is open to offering support is the first step

As an additional rule, it's advisable to find out in advance of bringing up the topic whether or not your employer is open to tuition support. Many will have a very positive attitude towards lending this kind of support, perhaps having seen the benefits that MBA graduates can bring to their organization in the past. MBA-holders in your workplace can be good people to ask about this.

Further, it's important not to ignore any other financing opportunities available through the school you intend to apply to.  These might present alternative solutions to help get you on your way to the education you desire.

Are you looking for a global MBA program that will really pay off?

Contact WU Executive Academy to discover what we have to offer!

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