Making the case for company support

While many of our students independently manage the cost of their MBA, others receive some type of financial support from their employer — whether that means full tuition support, partial tuition support or tuition reimbursement upon graduation.

Even if your company doesn’t have a formal tuition reimbursement program, it may consider providing financial support on a case-by-case basis. Here are our tips for approaching your employer about it.

How to approach your employer for sponsorship

Do your research

  • Check for a precedent. Before approaching your supervisor about financial support, ask your human resources department if tuition reimbursement or support programs are available. Talk to coworkers with MBAs about whether they received support for their education.
  • Gauge your company’s financial health. Is your organization financially healthy? If you’d feel comfortable asking for a raise in the current business environment, then it’s likely a good time to broach the topic of tuition support.

MAKE YOUR CASE.

  • Outline the Return on Investment (ROI) of an MBA, both for you and for your employer. Be explicit: Cite specific goals and ensure that they align with your company’s objectives. Explain what skills you will acquire through the program and how you’ll apply them to your job. Show how your education will enable you to make a greater contribution to the company.
  • Explain why the Kellogg Evening & Weekend MBA Program is right for you and your company. Think about the unique value proposition of a Kellogg MBA including its unparalleled global offerings, distinctive leadership development and the proven track record of propelling the careers of our prominent alumni. Articulate Kellogg’s specific offerings and why it offers a distinct advantage over other MBA programs, professional development workshops or other types of training. Explain how they will benefit your company and support your professional growth.
  • Prove your value. List your professional accomplishments and the meaningful contributions you’ve made to your company. Where applicable, use data or performance ratings to quantify your contributions. Demonstrate that you’re someone worth investing in.

DISCUSS EXPECTATIONS.

  • Address any concerns upfront. Anticipate the questions or concerns that your supervisor(s) may have about the program and your participation in it. For example, will they question how the program’s time commitment could impact your work quality? Propose a plan for how you will effectively manage your job responsibilities and mitigate potential conflicts while in the program.
  • Summarize the program requirements. Share the program’s tuition costs and be explicit about the amount of classes you hope to take per quarter. Make sure that your employer understands that the Evening & Weekend MBA Program requires you to be in class on your chosen schedule (evenings or weekends).
  • Communicate your commitment to the company. Remember that, by asking for tuition support, you’re asking your company to make a commitment to you. Consider how you can reciprocate that commitment. For example, you may want to agree in writing to remain with the company for a certain amount of time post-graduation.

For students with financial support

Contact us if you’re concerned that you won’t receive tuition payments from your employer in time to meet tuition deadlines. We’re happy to work with you.

Kellogg School of Management

Northwestern University
340 E. Superior Street, Chicago, IL 60611