Funding Your MBA: Part-Funding

Posted by MMU on 30-Nov-2016 15:40:14

We spoke to former MBA student Michael Cowell to discuss the combined self-funding and employee sponsorship route he took to pay for his MBA studies.


If you’re considering an MBA as a way to enhance your business career, the The Manchester Met MBA Resource Hub is the place to look for advice, and it’s where you’ll find information on how to choose the right course for you or how you can fit your MBA around your job.

How did you fund your MBA?

I was self-funded and employer sponsored. When I started the MBA I was employed by a previous business and we came to an arrangement for them to fund half of the fees.

I paid my contribution in the form of a salary sacrifice. If possible, I really recommend going down the salary sacrifice route because it worked out to be very tax efficient.

Was it an easy decision to part-fund your MBA?

Yes it was. I look at these things in terms of return on investment and at the time I remember thinking of the decision as a business transaction. As self-funding my MBA cost me about £9,000, I asked myself two questions:

  1. Can I find the money in terms of cashflow?
  2. Will I see a return on the investment?

If, over the next ten years, my £9,000 investment is worth more to me, it has been a good decision.

With my current business venture, FORK, I can pretty much guarantee it will be. Over ten years, I have only got to earn an extra thousand pound per year to pay this back. Over twenty years, if I can manage to earn an extra ten or twenty thousand a year, it will work out as one of the best investments that I’ll ever make – thinking about it, if I was investing in stocks and shares, I’d never make that kind of return!

What advice would you give to somebody looking to fund an MBA?

Talk to your employer. The reality is that if the ROI is going to be that good for you personally, imagine the ROI you can deliver to your employer, especially if you agree to stay for a set number of years after your course, which is a standard agreement with most businesses who opt to fund an employee’s studies.   

Breaking this into numbers: say they fund half of your course (£10,000), and you agree to stay for an additional year, they need to think if they will get the £10,000 worth of investment back.

A friend of mine is a procurement manager for the NHS. She deals with multi-million pound contracts – if she can’t save around a thousand pounds a month extra following her MBA, then something has gone wrong!

Which MBA funding route will you take?

Read about MBA student Simon Reeves who combined his self-funding with a scholarship discount, or Steven “Paddy” Dyson whose employer entered him for a scholarship which saw him receive a £3,000 discount.