Smartly Funding One’s US MBA
The following article has been inspired by the thoughts of Mr. Mayank Srivastava. He is the Founder of Experts’ Global, one of the world’s leading EdTech firms in the field of GMAT prep and MBA admission consulting.
American MBAs have been one of the most popular MBA options, for decades now, across the world. Many of these premier programs boast of a legacy of more than a hundred years and confer an enviable amalgamation of academic rigor, collaborative team projects, live simulations, experiential learning, interactive case studies, multicultural exposure, vibrant campus life, robust global network, profound intellectual capital, strong brand value, erudite faculty, seasoned career services, versatile extra-curricular activities, brilliant networking opportunities, and access to a spectrum of potential recruiters.
The opportunity to earn an American MBA is highly prized and their costs tend to reflect that. Many international students are discouraged from pursuing their dreams of an American MBA, as they do not see any way for them to deal with the financial cost.
This is quite a pity, as there are many ways to gain financial support for a US MBA that these students do not fully explore. Here is a guide to some of the potential methods that one may use to fund one’s US MBA.
Many US MBA’s have scholarship options, available for their students. Depending on the scholarship, a student can hope for up to 100% coverage of their tuition. Many students; who come from humble backgrounds and do not intend to work in the US, would not have been able to pursue US MBAs, if not for scholarships.
Most MBA scholarships are awarded based on merit. They are, typically, awarded on the same criteria that decide one’s admission- work experience, academic record including the GMAT score, and co-curricular activities. It is these factors that decide both the possibility of receiving a scholarship and its extent.
However, it is very important to remember that not all schools are scholarship friendly. This means that a candidate must factor in the availability of scholarships, while short-listing potential schools.
It is also important to converse with current students and recent alumni, of the schools, to understand the GMAT scores and competitiveness of the profiles, of previous scholarship winners.
At this stage, the candidate’s research into the portfolio of the schools must be very thorough. The following are some of the prominent, scholarship friendly American business schools- Goizueta, Olin, Carey, Boston University, Owen, Jones, Smeal, Kelley, Fisher, Smith, Broad, UIUC, Irvine, Krannert, Foster, and Tippie.
2] Collateral Free Loans
Most of the US Top 20 business schools have the option of collateral free loans. What this means is that the schools have tie-ups with certain financial institutions that provide loans, to the school’s students, without any collateral or co-signer.
These loans can cover both tuition and living expenses and come at very affordable rates, typically 5%. These loans are a very good option, for students who intend to work in the US.
If we assume that a student in one of these schools spends a total of 100,000$ on their education, they should be able to pay off the loan, within just a few years, as students who graduate from the Top 20 have an average starting salary of 130,000$ per year.
Collateral free loans are only available at a very limited number of schools and all such programs are very competitive. The financial institutions are only willing to extend such loans because they are sure that the graduates of these schools will be able to pay them back.
This is why the candidates must thoroughly research the availability of such loans and their chances of gaining admittance to such an institute. A few of the American business schools that have collateral loan options are-Harvard, Wharton, Booth, Stanford, Sloan, Haas, Tuck Stern, Duke, Yale, and Cornell.
3] A US Based Cosigner
US citizens and Green Card holders, who have a good credit history, can sign educational loans for international students. This means that if a candidate knows someone who is willing to vouch for them, they have the option to avail of a rather cheap (5%) loan. Such loans are very common, almost all of the US Top 75 business schools have this option.
4] Economical Programs
One thing that a candidate must bear in mind, while conducting their research, is that there is not a perfect correlation between a program’s cost and its ranking.
An MBA program’s cost depends on a variety of factors, such as location, state funding, batch size etc., it is perfectly possible for a higher-ranking program to be more economical than a lower-ranking one.
With a little bit of research, it is perfectly possible to attend a program that is both economical and prominent. A good example is BYU Marriott, a school consistently ranked among the top 35, is very economical as the total expense for an international student is around $65,000.
5] Work While Studying
The typical MBA student has plenty of opportunity to earn, while they study. The American university system and program structure allow a lot of leeway for paid work. International students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week.
There are a number of Graduate Assistantship, Teaching Assistantship, and Campus jobs that international students can apply to. Furthermore, most MBA programs also involve a three-month internship period.
During these internships, a student can earn as much as 6,000$ a month. Most MBA students find it feasible to earn their living expenses while studying, and only need to arrange for their tuition fees.
One broad point that I feel the need to repeat here is that there are many ways to fund a US MBA. An aspiring MBA candidate should focus on the factors that are in their control, their GMAT scores, their profile, and their applications, and not become too worried about finances.
Through one of, or a combination of, the above-mentioned resources a dedicated candidate will be able to satisfy the economic requirements of their desire MBA program. The number of international students who have already managed to do so is proof that this is not some type of impossibility.