First of all, I’d like to apologize: in December INSEAD published a newsletter where I appeared and I received a lot of questions from applicants concerning the financing aspect. And I did not answer… I have a good excuse: the pace here at INSEAD is much more hectic than expected and the 2nd period is short and highly demanding (in the meantime, up to now P3 is at least as demanding as P2). Thus, I use the Chinese New Year break to fix this mistake.
While reading through your emails, I recognized some of my own concerns before applying to INSEAD. Actually, I used to think that an MBA was out for reach for me until one of my friends started the MBA program at the Sloan School of Management. I realized that people who do MBAs are not fundamentally different from me. Furthermore, financing an MBA is not easy for most of us. However, we all managed to do it. Indeed, I have never heard of someone who truly wanted to complete an MBA and had to give up her project only because of financing concerns.
I acknowledge that an MBA is a huge investment: in addition to the tuition fees, you should forecast your living expenses. The average student spends between 25 000 and 30 000 Euros. Please consider these figures with caution: they depend on your lifestyle, on your personal situation,… It is however a reasonable range. Ideally, you should start planning for an MBA at least 1 or 1,5 year ahead of the time: of course also to prepare for the application. But it is equally important to start saving as much and as soon as possible; your financing needs will consequently be reduced. Applying in an early round will give you access to a bigger pool of scholarships. Most of them are based on a mix of merit and need criteria. There is virtually no scholarship that covers all your tuition fees. The biggest amount is 20 000-25 000 Euros and the average is around 11 000 Euros. That means that you will still need to raise additional funds.
The third option is a loan. The Prodigy loan (provided by INSEAD alumni) allows students from almost all countries to borrow money without co-signor. A lot of students borrow money through this means. Other solutions are possible; however their use is restricted. Among the most interesting loans are the French bank loans. The rate is between 2 and 3 % but you need a co-signor in France. Also some associations offer a few loans. I can mention the MBA for Women Foundation, a Swiss association, which offers competitive loans (with a reasonable amount) to female candidates to MBA schools.
To conclude, I would say that almost every MBA student has a tailored financing package. I would also advise to talk to people around you about your research; don’t keep it secret! I got very good pieces of advice from friends who graduated with me in France. So, leverage all your networks and do your homework. Seek advice from the INSEAD administration. You will always find a solution tailored to your needs!