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31.01.2012 Education


By IE Business School
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Higher education costs are currently fairly steep, which means if you want to continue your education with a master's degree or similar, particularly if you want to do it abroad, you will have to plan it well. First and foremost, you should plan well ahead and do some research into the cost of living in the city you want to go to.

IE Business School, ranked among the top 10 schools worldwide by media publications like Wall Street Journal or Financial Times, has 10 key tips for financing your MBA or master's degree, which we are going to share on

1. Start saving early: the decision to study an MBA or a specialized Master's degree has to be given careful thought, which means the process of deciding which MBA or Master program is best for you usually takes from one to two years, particularly in the case of an Executive MBA, which requires several years of experience. Hence it is a good idea to start saving at least a small amount each month in a separate account to help cover the cost of doing a master's degree abroad.

2. If you have already decided on the country where you want to study, it is a good idea to save in the currency of said country to avoid problems caused by fluctuations in the rate of exchange. Moreover, if your savings are in the local currency they will also pay you interest in that same currency. A solid savings plan also demonstrates your capacity to manage your own finances, which in turn will make it easier to obtain scholarships and bank loans for your studies.

3. Do your research. For example, find out if expenses related to education abroad are tax deductible.

4. Scholarships: a large number of international and national organisms and private foundations offer partial and full scholarships to study an MBA or other postgraduate programs both online or abroad. You would be surprised at the amount of possibilities on offer, particularly for outstanding profiles. You can find a list of scholarships available for MBA programs at

5. Corporate support: Some companies, especially large business organizations, give economic support to middle and senior managers who wish to pursue postgraduate or MBA programs. Employees who receive this support are generally required to sign an agreement stating that they will subsequently remain in the firm for a given number of years.

This kind of aid tends to cover part of the cost of the program ($5,000 to $10,000) and is easier to obtain if the candidate continues to work in parallel to his or her studies, and if the program is undertaken in a prestigious international institution. Hence, it is often easier to obtain corporate support for blended programs, which comprise a mix of residential sessions and online modules, enabling the company to benefit from the outset from their manager's newly acquired skills and networking capacity.

6. Bank loans: Banks are offering an increasing range of loans to study abroad at low interest rates and with periods of grace of up to two years, during which time salary typically increases.

7. Business school scholarships: Leading business schools often have their own at least partial scholarships to attract the best talent to their classrooms. These scholarships are often only available for high-achieving and high-potential profiles, but they are an additional option.

8. Take the cost of living into account. Tuition fees are only part of the cost. The cost of rents and other living expenses can also be very high, particularly in the US and some countries in Northern Europe. Do some research into these costs before you decide. It is also important to consider whether it is better to do a one-year or two-year master's degree, or a blended program.

9. Calculate the returns. This will not help you in your search for funding but it will help you decide how comfortably you can pay back your loan. Some programs, like the MBA, can have a more medium-term marked impact on your salary. Some rankings provide this crucial data. The average salary of an MBA 3 years after completing the program is some $100,000.

10. Combining previous savings + corporate aid + scholarships from public organisms and institutions + tax allowances can help finance part of an MBA or Master's degree and make things just that bit easier when it comes to paying for tuition fees and living expenses. Information: