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Interested in exploring how your employer could contribute towards your MBA study fees?

Generate a personalised, compelling and fully editable business case for your employer, in a few minutes, with our interactive tool.

Simply complete the 3 steps, selecting options to identify how the OU MBA can meet the needs of both you and your organisation. Once complete, you can save your proposal as a Microsoft Word Document and customise it further.

See a sample proposal or read our tips on preparing and presenting your case

Make the most of MBA resources with our useful links

Could your employer sponsor your MBA?
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Here's how it works:


Show why you've chosen the OU MBA

  • Explain the strengths of the MBA in relation to your needs.
  • Show the flexibility of the programme and the timescale you intend to complete it in.

Demonstrate how your MBA will benefit your organisation

  • Show the organisational needs your MBA will meet.
  • Explain how you can apply project work to your organisation.

Show the overall cost of your employer's contribution

  • Provide a summary of the programme costs.
  • Propose the level of contribution you need from your employer.

40% of our MBA students receive sponsorship from their employer

Sample Proposal.

See an example of a sponsorship proposal generated by our tool.

View Sample Proposal
See a sample MBA sponsorship proposal
Advice on approaching your employer for MBA sponsorship

Tips on presenting your case.

Read our advice on maximising your chances of gaining sponsorship.

Tips on approaching your employer

Presenting your case to your employer

There’s a real appetite within many businesses to sponsor their employees on MBA courses. Over 40% of our MBA students have financial support from their employer, as well as help with managing their study commitments. It will help you make your case if you prepare carefully and make it easy for your managers to reach a decision. Here are some tips on achieving your goal:

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Find out if there’s a policy for staff education and development

Have you checked to see if there is any existing help for funding learning? In larger organisations there may be a formal programme managed by the HR department. In smaller organisations you may need to speak to your line manager.

You should then look to see if the business has sponsored any qualifications at degree level or beyond, and whether senior managers have taken Masters or MBA programmes in the past. You will need to identity the key decision makers and find more about them so you can ensure your proposal is targeting them effectively. You should tailor your document to reflect challenges facing the business, which is likely to include strategic issues those decision-makers will be keen to address.

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Get support from within the organisation

Your case will be strengthened if you have the endorsement of respected colleagues. You may be able to demonstrate this through your performance reviews or evidence of positive feedback on relevant projects. You could also approach colleagues to recommend you, if you feel this is appropriate.

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Be able to state your case clearly

We can help your put together a written document with our MBA proposal tool and you should also be able to present this verbally.

Specific questions to think about include:

  • What is your motivation for starting an MBA? And why now?
  • Why have you chosen the OU MBA? What are the advantages of the programme compared to others?
  • How will the MBA make you a better manager, leader and strategic thinker?
  • How will this benefit the business? Can you give examples and relate these to specific aspects of this course?
  • How will you balance your commitments to work, study and family life?
  • Will you need time off from work to study?
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Be ready to negotiate

It’s important to realise that there are many ways your employer can support your MBA ambitions. You don’t need to ask for full payment of your fees in a lump sum. There’s a range of sponsorship options and you may be able to use these to negotiate with your employer and explore their willingness to support you.

For example you could:

  • Ask your employer to support you for the first year of your course, Stage 1, and review the sponsorship at the end of this
  • Split the cost and ask for part-payment of each module
  • Agree and interest-free or low cost loan which you could pay back through your monthly wage or arrange an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA) and manage the repayments yourself
  • Arrange a performance-related scheme based on successful completion of each module or your contribution to defined business objective relevant to your MBA.

It's also important to recognise that your employer is likely to attach conditions to any sponsorship arrangement. For example, a clause that obliges you to repay your course fees if you leave your job within an agreed timeframe. Once again, you should be open-minded about this and be prepared to negotiate.

Like to take things forward? Let us help you create your MBA sponsorship proposal.

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Useful downloads.

More information designed to support your case.

These include both links to relevant webpages and downloadable documents that you may wish to print out and enclose with your sponsorship proposal.

See downloads
Useful downloads for supporting your sponsorship proposal