Your heart is set on studying an MBA. However, the fees are high, and you aren’t sure how you are going to raise the funds you need. Well, why not find out how to convince your work to pay for your MBA? Many companies do support their employees to pursue further education. After all, the arrangement can bring them many compelling benefits.
Yet, wrangling your way around the company desire to cut costs to get funds from them for your MBA course fees is not as straightforward as you might hope.
Here are some ideas to help you pitch to your boss like a pro:
#1 Prepare BEFORE talking to them
Before you head off to talk to your boss, prepare, prepare, prepare.
Enthusiasm is great, but if you rush in without any preparation you are going to quickly get a no. Put some time into thinking about the course, and how you can present paying your fees as a win-win situation for your company. Success lies in the spin!
Furthermore, put together something in writing. Thus presenting your proposal to them clearly, and professionally.
#2 Remind them of what you’ve already achieved
Have a think about the job you already do, and try to connect what you do with the company profits.
How have you managed to help the company save money or make more money?
If you don’t work in sales, connecting your work to the figures can be a challenge. But that doesn’t mean impossible.
For example, if you are managing a team, study the team’s achievements. You could compare the current figures with the team’s figures before you were in charge. Relate what the team does to the money the company spends or earns.
Try looking at your role from another angle. Under your leadership has the staff turnover slowed down and productivity increased? Perhaps, in this way you have saved the company money. If you are in the HR department you could highlight the ways you have saved the company money. Did you introduce new technology for recruiting staff with lower spending?
Sit down and analyse what you have achieved, and put it in writing. This is practically demonstrating your potential and value to them. Try to quantify what you do as much as you can. When you do this you are saying to them: “Look at the money I already saved you or the ways profit increased as a result of my contribution. I’m worth spending money on”.
#3 Show how your MBA will up THEIR game
Make sure you are able to demonstrate the value of an MBA to your employer. Giving them “airy fairy” ideas and statements about all the knowledge you will gain will not help. Companies understand and respond to figures. Have a think about specific challenges your company is facing. Will the extra knowledge you gain on the MBA help you to assist the company through those challenges?
Have a close look at the subjects you will study. Then, relate those subjects to your existing role, and how the modules will improve your skills (and help you help them to save more or increase profit). Don’t just analyse one module, take a handful of them, then summaries what you will learn. Write a sentence or two about how the module will help you do your job better or resolve challenges the company has. Get as specific as you can on them.
The modern business world is increasingly fast-paced. Having staff members with up-to-date knowledge is also a strong incentive for a company to train their employees. Doing so can also help them retain (your) talent.
#4 Demonstrate your commitment to the company
The last thing your employer wants is to pay for your MBA and see you waltz off into the sunset at the slightest whiff of another opportunity.
Make clear to them, when they help you, you will show your gratitude by committing to stay with them. You could specify a minimum number of years for extra impact. Write a statement emphasising your commitment to them, as well as the course. They don’t want you to start, and not finish either!
At the same time, relate back to your request the cost (and time they would spend) to recruit an MBA. All with no guarantees the new recruit will show any commitment to the company.
#5 Find a course which enables you to continue working
There are many MBA’s which offer part-time study options. Look into these options before you choose your course. Finding a course which will allow you to juggle current responsibilities and commitments will help you convince your employer to pay up.
Consider the time you will need to study and how this will affect your work. Don’t underestimate here, inform them of the time you will need with honesty and realism. Tie this back into figures, and the ways you hope to help improve company targets once you graduate.
Consider the company’s current position. Are they growing or tightening their belt? Tailor your written proposal with this in mind.
#7 Remain flexible in negotiations
In the ideal situation, your company will pay for the whole course. However, you might find they want to see evidence of your commitment with you contributing as well. Bear in mind you will benefit from all the knowledge of taking the MBA. Plus your earning potential skyrockets as a result of taking the course. This means you may need to bite the bullet and think how you can budget your funds so you can contribute.
Keep an open mind, when you discuss your plans with your boss. If you feel he/she is shrinking from paying all the fees, see if you can negotiate a partial payment at least. Some help is better than no help!
Now we’ve given you some ideas on how to convince your work to pay for your MBA. Channel your enthusiasm into preparing a proposal. We are sure you will not fail to win them over with your figure supported charm.