When it comes to financing your executive MBA, one idea is obvious, but can be difficult—asking your employer for assistance.
Clearly, your employer will benefit from your advanced training, but many companies don’t have a formal policy for tuition reimbursement, or if they do, it may be vague or not well communicated. However, many students can and do receive financial assistance from employers, and there are a number of steps that help them secure it.
Tips on Requesting Employer Sponsorship for your EMBA
Taking steps to procure support is often worthwhile even if your company doesn’t have a published policy addressing tuition reimbursement. Here are our recommendations on how to approach your employer for MBA assistance:
1. Be sure you understand your company’s policies.
Look for any existing information on tuition reimbursement at your company—but don’t give up if you don’t find a formal policy. Your company may offer financial compensation for professional development or training, and that may apply to study in the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program.
2. Know who makes the decision, and find an advocate.
You’ll likely need to approach and work with the person who makes this kind of financial decision at your company. If he or she doesn't know you well, you’ll also want an advocate who can support your sponsorship request.
3. Prepare a strong case for EMBA employer support.
Find out if anyone else in your organization has received compensation for an advanced degree or if other companies in your field help employees with educational goals. Other MBAs at your company—particularly those who have been through your particular program—may also be able to help or write a formal letter of support.
4. Underscore your impact at work.
This is not the time to be overly modest. Gather proof of your contributions and accomplishments over time to make clear your positive impact on the organization.
5. Highlight the ways EMBA studies will bring value to your firm.
With all you've accomplished before earning your business degree (See #4), think what you could do during and after your studies. Give your employer a feel for this by outlining specifics of the curriculum to illustrate the skills you'll gain in everything from leadership and strategy to finance and marketing.
6. Highlight the EMBA program's cross-pollination with other industries.
Berkeley-Haas purposefully chooses each executive class to include students from a variety of industries and job functions. This yields a multitude of insights on strategy and innovation you might not be exposed to within your own industry.
7. Consider what else you might give in exchange.
Ensure that your conversation with the decision-maker isn't only an "ask," but a negotiation aimed at meeting both party's needs. For example, some employers agree to offer financial assistance in return for an employment contract specifying a length of time you will remain at the company.