The MBA application process is an arduous yet rewarding journey. The feeling of being accepted into one of the world’s most prestigious institutions is one of joy and excitement. However, for most, this elation is quickly followed with the anxiety of financing their MBA. At an average of around $100,000, Business schools are a pricey affair, not only from a tuition perspective, but also from a lifestyle perspective. While I will not enumerate the merits of getting an MBA and analyze how your post-MBA job makes this experience worthwhile, I want to explore some of the alternative options available for financing your MBA experience, in addition to the traditional student loans from financial institutions.

Employee Sponsorships
Yes, your company might be willing to sponsor your entire MBA Program, you might have to commit to re-joining them once you graduate. I know most of you are afraid to let employers know early on about your intentions of B-School, but, remember you will need recommendations from your bosses anyway. Do your research by talking to your peers rather than your seniors to find out about company precedent. Speak with HR and learn the company policies about higher education. Your employer does not want to hinder your progress; he/she wants to make sure the best talent does not leave. Use this to your advantage and explore sponsorship opportunities with the caveat of coming back to work at your current company.

Freelance so you can make that trip to China!
Earning money during B-school by helping prospective MBA Applicants on is a great way to support your numerous social activities & lifestyle. MBAs have become a travel itinerary in large part; you do not want to miss out on the bonding experiences that most of your classmates partake in while traveling all over the world. These trips are also essential for networking and exploring career opportunities across industries and geographies.

Scholarships – B-School & Corporate
There is a plethora of corporate & B-school sponsored scholarships, both need and merit based. Most require essays on why you deserve one. Who better to find out from than current MBAs and alumni at the school you will be joining. They will provide valuable insight into the scholarships that apply to you. Many corporations grant scholarships, too, which are usually posted on individual B-School websites or on their corporate websites. The key is to speak to current MBAs and alumni to learn about these opportunities.

Start-ups such as CommonBond, Prodigy Finance, and Social Finance are really heating up the student loan market and can provide you with an alternative and cheaper way to fund your MBA.

How does it work?

Multiple investors provide funds (crowdsource) to these start-ups who then give out student loans based on certain criteria. Investors receive a financial return on these investments.

Why does it work?

Investors, who are primarily alumni at the very schools you want to go to see this as a safe investment as they have been in your shoes and are confident in your ability to make your payments.

If you want more information about the best financing options available you, reach out to current MBAs and alumni. They are your best resource for all things B-School related.