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Leaving Work to Study a Full-Time MBA: How to Fund Your MBA

Leaving Work to Study a Full-Time MBA: How to Fund Your MBA main image

Sponsored by EGADE Business School at Tecnológico de Monterrey

While the MBA generally offers a good return on investment (ROI), it’s still a significant investment with average tuition fees exceeding $60,000 – but don’t let that put you off.

While choosing to study a full-time MBA can mean saying goodbye to a regular income for at least a year, there are various funding resources available that can help cover not just tuition fees but exam fees, course materials and living costs.

From scholarships such as the Global Leadership Scholarship for international students at EGADE Business School, to loans, employer sponsorships to personal savings, and even crowdfunding – there are many viable options to consider.

We spoke to a few EGADE Business School Full-Time MBA in Innovation & Entrepreneurship students and graduates to find out why they swapped the corporate office for the business school classroom and how they funded their studies.

What led you to pursue a full-time MBA?

ctor: I always enjoyed the student experience and after almost seven years in work, not only did I start to want that lifestyle again but I also felt the need to academically update myself – either to get a more profound and specialized knowledge within my field or explore a new career path with studies in different areas.

Rodrigo: A few things crossed my mind. I knew a Full-Time MBA could open up new windows of possibilities in new industries, and secondly I wanted full immersion in a master’s experience while I’m young and exploring possibilities for my ideal career. I also wanted to develop and learn skills and methodologies about innovation and entrepreneurship to embark on my own project.

Andres: I wanted to build what I call a 360-degree professional profile. Since I already have an education and experience in humanities and the public sector, I was looking for an experience in business, management, and leadership. The Full-Time MBA [at EGADE] specifically had three main features that helped with my decision – it’s one year, is taught entirely in English, and there was a series of international academic trips that made the experience awesome.  

Andrea: After 10 years of work I knew I had to take my career to the next level, and the MBA was the perfect option to making it happen.

Carlos: I took almost a year to decide what my next step in my professional career path should be. I worked as a consultant for a change management consulting firm and even though I was having a good time I felt as though I needed to improve my skills and focus on developing my project.

When I found the [EGADE] Full-Time MBA, I felt it was perfect for what I was looking for – a blend of business, innovation, entrepreneurship and international experience – and all within one year.

Ricardo: I believe that the future of business relies on embracing change and re-shaping our mindset to face any kind of challenges. I knew that EGADE's Full-Time MBA would give me the right tools to lead organizations through rough times.

Was leaving your job to study the MBA an easy decision to make?

ctor: Even before graduating from my bachelor’s degree I was set on studying a master’s, so when the time came, it wasn’t a hard decision. However, I did have to be sure that I was financially prepared to live off my savings budget for the duration of the program and probably for a couple of extra months while I figured out my following steps. Before making the final decision I ran a few numbers and when I realized they made enough sense, the decision was practically made.

Rodrigo: Economically yes, and since I had thought about it thoroughly for two years already I didn't hesitate to take the jump.

Andres: It wasn't easy since I relied on my job’s income. However, I made my case and took the risk. Studying an MBA is also an investment, so part of the stake you put on the game is stop working for a while. For me, it definitively worth it. 

Andrea: It wasn’t an easy decision [for me]. Not only because of the salary but because I was taking the decision to move to another country.

Carlos: At the beginning it was perceived as a little bit of a risk because it would mean pausing my career with the firm and projects that I was already involved with. It was a leap of faith and fortunately it had a positive outcome. 

Ricardo: Taking a year out of your professional life to study isn’t easy at all. Some of the people I consulted understood my concern about pausing my professional life and my desire to continue preparing. Others told me that experience is much more valuable than a master's degree. What they all agreed on was that this experience would completely change my vision and open many doors.

How did you go about researching your funding options? Did you have to do a lot of research?

ctor: I had previously heard about funding options from friends who had already studied their master’s, so it was easy to reach out to people with experience in the matter. Also, the most recurred options available for students were mapped out for me by EGADE’s staff, so I didn’t have to struggle to find out the information I needed.

Andres: I funded my MBA with my personal savings and a Colombian Government loan. It was pretty clear for me what the process was. I also got a significant scholarship which helped me a lot.

Carlos: EGADE’s admission department offered advice for funding my Full-Time MBA, and I used the FIDERH (a government-based initiative to promote higher-education students in Mexico).

Ricardo: There were a few options regarding funding. Going directly to financial institutions and speaking with universities is the best way to do it. The staff at EGADE were accommodating and provided advice, insights and correct contacts.

Do you feel like you had enough information to make an informed decision about leaving your job to study a full-time MBA?

ctor: Regardless of whether I did enough research, there was a degree of uncertainty that made me feel a tad uneasy. However, it was already a fact that I was leaving my job so there was no other way around it. I think it’s natural to be wary of big changes in your life. In my case making some financial planning and talking to enough people that had gone down this road before made me feel comfortable with the decision by being aware of the ups and downs of it, as well as the risks and possibilities that could happen during and after the MBA.

Rodrigo: I think there is never enough information, and nothing replaces the experience of feeling the vibe in the school. But luckily there is much more information now thanks to digital tools.

Andres: Totally. I went deep into the possible scenarios, risks, and returns. However, there are many variables that you will never control or even forecast accurately. The point is to prepare well, fund the project correctly, and make the bet.

Andrea: No, I felt it was a risky move in the short-term but a smart move in the long. My decision was more a non-rationale decision in which I needed to know that the program was worth it in order to make the effort.

Carlos: Well, in my situation I assumed I must do it, so I did and could manage the workload, but I might not recommend to anyone try to keep their regular job and study the Full-Time MBA. Not only because of the time or deadlines, but to really embrace the experience of the program.

Ricardo: Sure, I knew what taking this year meant for me, personally, professionally, and academically. A critical aspect is to commit to a full-time basis because the workload is pretty intense.

Written by Stephanie Lukins
As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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