I came across a little gem for getting company buy-in and maybe even financial support for your MBA, on the Cambridge Judge School site.
View the specific Judge School page here, alternatively the fuller pdf document, which remarks “even if you’re not sponsored you’ll need to secure your employer’s understanding and support.
“Therefore, in preparing to join an Executive MBA programme one of your priorities will be to seek support from your employer, possibly financial support, but definitely the support to allow you to commit the time required.
“You’ll need to demonstrate how your employer will benefit from you gaining an MBA.”
The text is oriented towards EMBA applicants, and obviously references Cambridge Judge specifically, but the observations are widely relevant to managing employer perceptions anywhere, for all forms of MBA, at any business school.
Note also that many of the topics overlap with those you need to attend to in writing good MBA admissions essays.
Some highlights from the text:
Know your company
This is your opportunity to demonstrate to your employer that you have thought about the value of an Executive MBA from the company perspective.
Areas you might like research or discuss with your employer:
Has your organisation ever sponsored employee education in the past? What is their policy on this? Do any of your competitors sponsor Executive MBA’s? Have any senior managers taken an Executive MBA or similar course? What benefits did previous employees gain from their Executive MBA? What were the benefits to the organisation? How might your colleagues/ line managers/ subordinates support you? How can you obtain buy in from your manager as well as HR?
Know your chosen programme
There are a number of Executive MBA programmes available – it is important that you are able to show why you feel the Cambridge Executive MBA is the right programme for you and your organisation.
You therefore will need to be able to address the following questions:
Why is the Cambridge Executive MBA right for you personally and professionally? How do you expect to benefit from the programme (improved performance, networking opportunities)? Which courses are going to make your more effective in your current role? Which course will directly benefit your employer? What individual project can you carry out that will help you/ your organisation? How will the Cambridge reputation add value to your career and organisation?
This is probably the most important section for you to consider as a complete understanding of your motivation for undertaking the Cambridge Executive MBA will be vital when discussing the programme with your employer and may influence the type of support you require.
Why is this the right time for you to start an Executive MBA course? How will taking this course improve your performance? How will you balance work, study and the other aspects (family/partner) of your life? How do you plan to make use of your personal and professional development?