You can clearly see the value that earning your Professional, Online, or Executive MBA will bring to your employer: how it will help them meet organizational goals, prepare you to move into a leadership role, and empower you to bring new ideas to the table.

So, it makes sense that your company should help foot the bill for your degree, right?

While this may seem obvious to you, selling the idea of supporting your MBA to your employer can be a delicate topic. We’ve put together some “Dos and Don’ts” that you can use to guide you as you prepare for this important conversation.

Don’t: Surprise them with the ask.
I want to get my MBA, so can the company pay for it?” A direct ask might seem like the most straightforward route to getting funded, but consider socializing the idea first. If the first time your supervisor hears about your interest in an MBA is when you ask for financial support, there’s a chance it will feel out of left field.

Do: Present your degree program as part of your overall career plan.
An MBA shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Ideally, it should be part of a broader career plan. Think about the goals your organization has set for you, and areas where they’ve asked you to grow and stretch. Try to articulate how an MBA maps to those development goals.

Do: Think about what’s in it for your employer.
Perhaps the organization is struggling with change management. Maybe there is opportunity for process improvement and waste reduction. It could be that some things are being done “because they’ve always been done that way” and you need fresh thinking and proven frameworks. All of these can tie back to the MBA curriculum. What’s more, your classmates will be grappling with some of the same high-level business questions, which means you’ll have an instant network to rely on.

Do: Know your tuition reimbursement plan if one exists.
Does your company provide any financial resources? How about books and other expenses? What is the approval process? As you'll learn time and time again in your MBA program, knowledge and preparation are the most consistent winning strategies in a negotiation.

Don’t: Assume there is no other funding.
It may be possible that entire departments have large, unspent professional development dollars or conference expenses. Explore tapping into some of these to help offset your costs.

Do: Leverage the moment.
Our current moment is a time of massive disruption. Many organizations aren't giving the usual raises and bonuses. Your employer might find funding your education to be a good alternative to keep your overall compensation competitive without upsetting the apple cart or creating equity issues.

Do: Be open to a loyalty clause in exchange for funding.
We find that some companies are unwilling to fund MBA programs simply because they are too afraid to lose talent. Agreeing to loyalty clause, which promises you’ll remain at the company a certain number of years post-graduation, might just be the right arrangement to ease their concerns.

Don’t: Hesitate to reach out.
From overseas military deployments to new parents in the program to companies going through layoffs – we’ve seen it all. We have expert staff who can help you think through your strategy. You can book time with us to ask questions, get more details, and chat about how an MBA can help you meet your professional goals.

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