Currently, because it is a program requirement, all of our students have employer support for the time off required to do the program. Some students receive comp time, others use vacation time, some take time unpaid, while others make different arrangements. At a minimum, your company must understand and agree to the time commitments of the program. All class sessions and residencies are mandatory and so you must have your absences excused.
Trends in Financial Sponsorship
In recent years, financial support for executive MBA programs has varied considerably from company to company and even within a company. Not so long ago, nearly all executive MBA students were fully sponsored financially. As the economy has contracted, so have company policies, which means applicants have had to adjust their approach to gaining financial sponsorship. Currently, financial sponsorship follows a 1/3 - 1/3 - 1/3 principle. One-third of our students receive full financial sponsorship, one-third receive partial financial sponsorship, while the final one-third finance their education completely on their own, either paying as they go term to term or through financial aid and loans.
When companies do sponsor, it's not uncommon that they require a work commitment/contract for some period of time after the student graduates. Oftentimes, the greater the financial investment, the greater the desire for the company to protect its investment, so multi-year commitments are common.
Some students take a wait-and-see approach. They are intrinsically motivated to pursue an MBA and self-fund their education; and then, once they can demonstrate value to their organizations, they seek reimbursement or compensation from their employer. And some students may want to leave their organization to pursue a new challenge. In that case, we've heard from many self-funders who feel fortunate that they don't have a work commitment and they instead leverage their education for greater compensation at the new organization.
Each student has a different situation that depends on their company, personal motivations, and ultimate career goals. Indeed, this is a significant investment in yourself--but it is just that--an investment. The questions you must ask yourself are when will you see a return on your investment and what outcome would make this investment worthwhile?
Our admissions team is happy to talk with you about your options and put you in contact with an alumnus who can share his or her sponsorship situation. There are pros and cons to all arrangements. At this point, as a prospective student, you may not envision a world in which you would actually prefer to pay your own way. But, self-funders typically have greater flexibility to keep their post-graduation options open because they don't have a work commitment. Whereas, some fully-sponsored students find themselves in situations where they have their education paid for, but their organization doesn't utilize them or challenge them enough given their new skills and credentials, which creates a different issue.