MBA Sponsorship: Everything You Need to Know

There are many advantages to becoming a sponsored candidate when applying to an MBA program: the prospect of tuition reimbursement is a driving factor for many candidates, and the fact that MBA sponsorship makes you a desirable applicant to the admissions committee doesn’t hurt, either. If you’re not a sponsored candidate already, you should consider looking into whether your company offers an MBA sponsorship program.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of MBA sponsorships and how you can use your MBA sponsorship to win admission into the school(s) of your choice.

What is MBA Sponsorship?

When a person already in the workforce decides to attend business school, they may inquire about whether their employer offers MBA sponsorship, which allows them to pursue an MBA degree while also remaining on the payroll.

Some companies offer tuition reimbursement: many employers provide partial funding or offer tuition assistance, and many may decide to cover the full cost of your tuition fees for the duration of your MBA degree. MBA programs are more likely to admit an MBA student if they know that their employer will be providing tuition reimbursement to cover the bulk of your educational costs.

Companies offer MBA sponsorships in order to retain their top performing employees for the foreseeable future – a number of years post-MBA graduation, at least. Sponsored MBA students are expected to return to work for the company once they complete their MBA education if they are pursuing full-time MBA programs. If these students are offered tuition reimbursement to undertake an executive MBA program, online MBA program, or part-time MBA program, they will likely be expected to work and pursue their degree at the same time. Employees’ MBA degrees also improve the quality of their business knowledge and skills, making them an asset to the company.

Naturally, MBA candidates find the prospect of MBA sponsorships appealing, because receiving tuition assistance or some form of financial aid is much more desirable than shouldering the full cost of an MBA degree. Additionally, as employees with MBA degrees are an asset to their employer, they can often negotiate salary increases that will arise once they become an MBA grad.

Further, business schools are drawn to candidates with MBA sponsorships as they are guaranteed to have a job as soon as they finish their MBA degree. It also helps that students with MBA sponsorships are expected to return to good jobs right out of their degree program.

Why Should I Consider Sponsorship for my MBA Program?

First and foremost, MBA programs look for the candidates that play into their interests. They look for applicants who meet the school’s needs and can contribute positively to an MBA class, and your chances of being admitted to the MBA program hinge on what you can offer. The criteria for getting into an MBA program is the same for sponsored candidates and regular MBA candidates, so you should focus on creating an application and constructing a resume that helps you stand out from the crowd.

If you receive company sponsorship for your MBA degree, then, according to your employer, you are accomplished in your area and worth investing in. MBA programs know this, which means that you already have a leg up in the admissions process. Business school admissions committees are, of course, looking for students who are going to perform well in their MBA courses, because it reflects well on the business school and the education it provides.

Employer MBA sponsorship does not make you a guaranteed shoe-in, though. You still need to have really strong application materials that allow you to maximize competitiveness, demonstrate your leadership skills and management skills (and how an MBA education will enhance them), how you will contribute to the university as an MBA student, and how your career goals will contribute to the success of your current company (and your university) after you graduate the MBA program.

How Can I Create a Strong Application to Become a Sponsored MBA Candidate?

The criteria for getting into an MBA program is the same for sponsored candidates and regular MBA candidates, so you should focus on

Most MBA students focus on their post-graduation job in their application. In this case, sponsored candidates already have a job in line, so that aspect becomes irrelevant when building your application. Rather, you should focus on your career goals, and, more specifically, what you’re going to accomplish within the position that you’re guaranteed to return to and how your MBA courses, new alumni network, and acquired skills will benefit the company. You could display an interest in generating closer ties between the company and the school (business schools and companies share a genuine interest in this), or you could detail the projects that you want to work on once you’ve completed your MBA degree.

During your time in the MBA program, you will learn valuable skills in business administration, specializing in aspects of the program that allow you to gain a more in-depth business knowledge that will improve your performance as an employee. This all will create a really nice story for you to tell on your application, and it will show the schools you’re applying to that you are committed both to the job and to doing well in school.

If you’re still having some trouble weighing the pros and cons of accepting MBA sponsorship from your employer, Harvard Business School has some expert tips on evaluating sponsorship offers.

Need some help applying to MBA Programs?

At Menlo Coaching, we provide expert coaching to candidates pursuing MBA programs in top business schools. Our coaches provide a comprehensive service from choosing which MBA programs you will pursue through nailing the interview to securing MBA scholarships.

If you’re interested in how we can help you with your business school application, check out our services page for more information on what we provide.