The Tuck MBA is an investment in yourself, and your capacity for wise leadership. The best time to start planning financially for your MBA is before you apply to business school, and after reflecting on your professional and personal aspirations. It’s important to be true to your goals. Why are you getting an MBA? What tangible skills, intellectual challenges, and personal growth are you looking for? How will earning an MBA help you achieve your vision for a future that makes you excited and proud?
Financial preparedness is a critical component of your MBA application process. Being prepared for the financial commitments of a full-time MBA program means creating a foundation which will allow you to limit student loan debt and attend your top choice school—the program that will be the most transformational experience for you—without cost as the sole driver of your decision.
Before we share tips on what you can do to prepare, we think it’s important to provide some context:
So, let’s talk strategy.
Make a budget and stick to it. This means tracking your spending and identifying discretionary and non-discretionary expenses. Remember that discretionary expenses are controlled by you and can be an easy way to reduce spending. Put the money you save into a school savings account. Set financial goals and challenge yourself over short periods of time.
Request your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to a free report from each credit bureau annually. Understand how your credit score works. The better your credit score, the lower your interest rates will be on private education loans. If there are any discrepancies, be sure to resolve them as soon as possible. It could be a lengthy process, so it’s important to make addressing credit discrepancies a priority.
Pay down your consumer debt and keep all of your debt obligations current including student loans. Most student loans can be deferred once you are enrolled as a full-time student. Don’t open any new credit cards or debt obligations and keep long-standing ones open.
Take some time to determine whether you have access to alternative financing options. For example, employer assistance might be an option, family could be a source of low interest loans, and there are many outside scholarships that are worth exploring. We have put together a comprehensive guide to help you begin your search. As you explore your financing options keep in mind that scholarships from schools will vary, so you’ll want to plan based on the assumption that scholarships are not guaranteed but rather a bonus if you receive one. Know the details of any scholarship you receive such as GPA requirements, renewability terms, and whether it can be used for any education-related expense or just tuition.
Know the educational costs at each school you are considering. Be sure you understand the published budget (cost of attendance) and make an effort to talk to current students. Most school websites publish only the first academic year costs, and they are subject to change each year. It’s important to note that published costs typically do not include expenses during the summer months and any pre-term costs such as moving and security deposits. Calculations for housing allowance can vary from school to school. Many schools offer a selection of pre-term trips, experiential learning opportunities, and study abroad offerings. Expenses for these may not be included in the educational costs.
At Tuck, we have several funding options available to all of our students. We will help you find the best combination of loans for your personal situation whether they are institutional, federal, and/or private.
The financial aid industry is constantly changing, and each student arrives at Tuck with a unique financial situation. We will work with you one-on-one to answer your questions, point you to resources and provide valuable insight as you navigate the financial commitments of your MBA.
As you consider the path you’ll take to financing your MBA, there’s one more important factor to keep in mind: your post-MBA compensation.
Tuck students are in demand! More than 1,000 companies and organizations recruit Tuck students, propelling our graduates to employment levels and compensation rates among the highest of top MBA programs worldwide. As a result, Tuck students who borrow student loans are, on average, able to repay loans in full within three to six years of graduation.
We know that many prospective students wonder about how they’ll afford the cost of a full-time MBA. Our office is your best resource for the most current and comprehensive information to help prepare you financially. We are available anytime to take your calls.
We hope your journey to an MBA is a positive one. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have along the way.
Tuck's experienced financial aid team includes director, Diane Bonin, who has been at Tuck for 25 years, associate director, Kristy Snow (27 years), and assistant director, Sandy Belisle (21 years). They offer an open-door policy and are happy to help students during the application process and at any point throughout their two years at Tuck.