Ways to Finance Your MBA

If you’re interested in transitioning careers or increasing your earning potential, going to graduate school for a Master in Business Administration (MBA) may be the right choice for you! Take a look at to learn more about finding a school that’s the right fit. As a prospective MBA student, you’ll want to consider how to finance your MBA early on. Business school is a significant financial investment but loans, scholarships, fellowships, grants and other programs make it possible for students to invest in themselves and their career growth.

What type of returns can I expect from earning an MBA?

Although students decide to attend business school for a number of reasons, students want to make sure they earn back their financial investment. Pay gains post-MBA average 34-40% of pre-MBA salaries. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC) 2016 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report, there continues to be a positive return on investment for MBA graduates and there has been for 19 of the past 20 years, regardless of the economic conditions. This study surveyed more than 14,000 alumni. They found that on average MBA alumni recoup their graduate school investment within four years of graduation, depending on the type of MBA program. In addition, more than 4 out of 5 MBA alumni surveyed shared that they were satisfied with their MBA. The study also found that the vast majority of MBA alumni said their education was personally, professionally, and financially rewarding.

What are some options to finance an MBA?

There are a lot of resources available for financing your MBA and with a combination of the possibilities listed below, attending any MBA program can be financially possible for prospective students. Fellowships Scholarships (i.e. need-based or merit-based) Federal and/or personal loans Private scholarships or grants (i.e. from foundations or nonprofit organizations) Employer funding or loan-forgiveness programs Internship income Let’s take a look at some specific financing opportunities.


There are many different types of scholarships available for students to take advantage of. For example, schools offer need-based and merit-based scholarships. Many business schools provide a substantial amount of money to students through scholarships. In fact, Poets & Quants did a study in 2014 and found that the top 25 business schools awarded almost $230 million in MBA scholarships a year.

Other organizations also offer scholarships, so be sure to explore opportunities outside of schools. For example, The Fort Foundation offers a Fort Fellows Program for selected applicants at sponsor schools. For this financial opportunity, the student needs to be accepted into the MBA program by the school first. Then schools identify the award recipients based on established criteria. To learn more about this scholarship program, see the Forte Fellows Program website.

There are also scholarships offered by other organizations such as women in business, minorities in business, international students, veterans, or specific industries/fields. Here are a few other organizations that have provided students with scholarships:
  • Group O, a Hispanic-owned business
  • The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
  • The National Society of Hispanic MBAs
  • The National Black MBA Association
  • Reaching Out, an organization for MBA students who are LGBT or allies

Other Financing Options

Many schools have comprehensive websites on financial aid and funding sources for their students. Be sure you take a look at the website for your target school and do some research on financing opportunities you could take advantage of. For example, Harvard Business School has a website page, Financial Aid: External Funding Opportunities that provides information on funding provided by Harvard and other sources. Once you’re admitted to an MBA program, the school will provide you with detailed information on public and private loans and scholarship opportunities.

These loan opportunities are often available to both students within the US and international students. For international students, there’s the International Student Exchange & Study Abroad Resource Center, which provides information on financing your degree. In addition to financing information, this website provides a lot of other advice, such as selecting a US school, the application process for school, and preparing for what different states are like.

What are some financing resources?

There are many financial resources available to you. Below are a few available options, and as you continue to explore, you will find many more. Although an MBA is a large investment, all these financing opportunities make it possible for students to attend their target school. Start the application process early and being examining financing options to fully take advantage of all the opportunities out there.

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