How To Convince Your Employer To Pay For Your MBA

Roderick LewisRoderick Lewis, international relations director at ISCTE Business School, University Institute of Lisbon.

Photo: Roderick Lewis

In order to convince your company it’d be worth an investment to pay for your MBA, you need to demonstrate that getting the degree will strengthen your understanding of the business environment and that the company will reap the benefits in the long-run.Even if it means you have to cut back on hours during this time. 

“Usually, an employee has to already been delivering great results within the company,” Roderick Lewis, international relations director at ISCTE Business School, University Institute of Lisbon, told us. “If you haven’t already convinced your company, then asking them to [sponsor your education] becomes really difficult.”

First, you need to do a little research on your own, said Lewis, author of the book “The Corporate Recruitment Game.” Find out if your company will even consider paying for your education. Was this benefit included in your employee handbook? Was it discussed during hiring? 

Then determine whether your employer is financially able to fund your MBA. Have they been cutting expenses or experiencing growth recently? Have they sponsored any of your colleague’s education? If they have, ask your colleague to advise you on what to expect. 

You also need to decide if you’re asking them to pay for all of your tuition or just some of it. Will you also be getting a scholarship or any other type of government financial assistance? Are you planning on going full-time or part-time?

You need to know all of these details before actually meeting with your employer.

When you approach your employer, you must present your argument in an approach similar to asking for a raise. Focus on the analytics.

Lewis said this means analysing the projects that you’ve completed and relating your work to the impact of the company. Then, you need to make a connection to how getting your MBA will also impact the company more than you already have. 

“A lot of times, if you don’t work in sales, those numbers are difficult to figure out,” said Lewis.

For example, you may have worked on a project for months, but you’re unsure of how that work has impacted the company in relations to their “point of sales.” In this case, Lewis told us that you can try to figure out how the project has saved the company money in some way. 

If you were in charge of creating a marketing campaign on Facebook, show that you were able to reach the company’s target market without having to spend the money that is usually spent on advertising. 

“Basically, if you can’t prove that you have sales, you can prove that you saved the company money by reducing marketing expenses,” he said. “You need to keep working your argument back to your numbers to get the result you want.”

The bottom line is that you need to be fully prepared and show your employer that an investment on your education is also an investment in the company’s long-term goals.

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