Tips for Getting Employer Sponsorship for Executive MBA

Many Executive MBA programs accept employer sponsorship to cover program costs. However, the number of companies that provide students with the financial sponsorship has been decreasing because of hard economic times. Poets & Quants reported that, “forty-one percent of EMBA students were fully self-funded in 2013, up from 34 percent in 2009” and that “only 24 percent of students received full financial sponsorship.” So how do students seek full or even partial employer sponsorship for Executive MBA programs?

During an Executive MBA webinar at The Wharton School San Francisco, Professor Peter Cappelli, shared advice on receiving sponsorship. Professor Cappelli explains that because employers are offering fewer sponsorship opportunities and less money than previously, it is important for students who are seeking sponsorship to make a solid case for why they deserve to get company sponsorship. Students should also figure out exactly who in the company that they need to contact about sponsorship because it is often times not your direct supervisor. Cappelli explains that students need to find the person “who has the authority to make the decision.”

In order to make the case for why you should receive sponsorship for an Executive MBA program, students need to first know what kind of arguments to present. Poets & Quants explains that when presenting arguments to the person who will make the decision for sponsorship, “it is important to be confident, present relevant data to back-up your argument, and be prepared to negotiate.” P&Q also explains that it is important to make your commitment to returning to the company after completing a program known and to explain how completing an EMBA program will directly benefit the company.

Employee sponsorship is not just a financial sponsorship. Most EMBA programs require employers to send a letter of sponsorship during the application process to ensure that the employer will be allowed the time to pursue the EMBA and get the most out of the experience. Many programs require students to be fully employed at the time of admission for EMBA programs. The Columbia Business School requires students who apply for its Friday/Saturday EMBA program to send in a statement from employers authorizing students to leave work to go to classes. The School offers this advice to secure employer sponsorship:

“Talk to your HR department and ask about your company’s policy on continuing education. Find out whether other employees in your firm have previously received company sponsorship. If so, you might be able to talk to the recipients or HR about how to proceed. Most importantly, start the process early.” Columbia also encourages applicants to, “cost out the time and money needed.  If you are willing to make a commitment to your current firm, let the your manager know this up front; the company will be more apt to make an investment in you if you do so.”

If employer sponsorship isn’t available, there are several EMBA scholarships available for students. Many schools also accept veterans’ education benefits to cover the cost of programs. No matter what kind of sponsorship you are seeking from your employer, it is important to do your own research and give your employer as much information on the program and how sponsorship is a good investment for you as an employee, not just for your own personal future.

For more news, tips and information on top Executive MBA programs, visit



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About the Author

Erin Purcell

Staff Writer, covering MetroMBA's news beat for New York, Philadelphia, and Boston.

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