How to approach your employer for study sponsorship

Posted by Bayes Business School on 10-Dec-2019 15:24:33

Gaining a qualification like an MBA or MSc while you work full-time can not only boost your success in your current role and expand your career opportunities, but it can also provide a range of benefits for your employer. Emphasising these benefits is key to successfully securing sponsorship. 

Here are our top 5 tips for how to approach your employer:

1. Start early

To secure study sponsorship from your employer for your course, it’s essential to start early.

If you work for a large organisation, there are likely to be several stakeholders involved in the decision-making process, and sponsorship decisions can take longer. So it’s imperative to approach your employer as soon as you’ve decided you’re ready to undertake further study.

As Admissions Manager at Bayes Business School (formerly Cass), Sarah Finch, highlights, “If you’re starting a new job, this is often a good opportunity to negotiate an MBA [or MSc] as part of the package”.

2. Prepare a proposal

Simply put: If you want your employer to sponsor your masters degree, they’ll want to see a return on their investment. So the key here is to sell them the benefits they’ll gain if they choose to invest in sponsoring your studies.

Being well-informed about these benefits and planning a business proposal for pitching these before starting the conversation with your employer will put you in a much better position for success.

When you’re creating your proposal, keep in mind that your organisation’s goals should be a key consideration and focus throughout your proposal.

What goals is your organisation trying to achieve? How will you gaining an MBA or MSc help your organisation achieve those goals? Be sure to list these selling points in your proposal.

Taking the time to prepare a well-thought-out proposal will demonstrate to your employer that you’re serious about both your personal development and your organisation’s success.

3. Sell the benefits

Now that you’ve prepared your business proposal, it’s time to pitch it to your employer.  

The most compelling points to highlight in your discussion will be the tangible and immediate benefits your employer stands to gain from sponsoring your course.

These include:

  • Enhanced effectiveness – as you work through your MBA or MSc course, you’ll be able to immediately apply your acquired knowledge and skills to your work, boosting your effectiveness and success in your role.
  • Advanced expertise in crucial areas – by studying for an MBA or MSc, you and your organisation will be acquiring advanced skills in crucial business areas such as leadership, organisational entrepreneurship and change management.
  • Access to global networks – by studying for an online MBA or MSc, your organisation will be able to capitalise on your access to global networks of professionals and industry partners. Bayes Business School, for example, has close ties to leading organisations worldwide and boasts a global alumni network of over 49,000 professionals.

4. Be confident and persuasive

During your discussion with your employer about your study sponsorship, it’s vital to your success to be as confident and persuasive as possible.

That doesn’t mean you need to be arrogant or demanding in your approach. It simply means that you remain assertive and demonstrate to your employer your confidence in your ability to complete your masters degree and the benefits it will bring to your organisation.

If you sense that your employer has doubts or concerns, rather than shying away from the conversation, be sure to address these confidently and be persuasive in highlighting how much your organisation stands to gain from your studies.

5. Be open to negotiation

If you’ve done all of the above to the best of your ability, and you still haven’t been successful in securing sponsorship for your studies from your employer, be open to negotiation.

If they aren’t able to offer you full financial sponsorship for your MBA or MSc, they might be open to other options, such as partial financial sponsorship or paid study leave.

So rather than ending the sponsorship discussion, ask your employer if they would be open to other options to support your studies. As before, be sure to highlight the benefits to your organisation in offering you these options.

Being open to negotiation gives you and your employer the flexibility to reach a satisfactory compromise, rather than a restrictive all-or-nothing solution.

With a prestigious ‘triple-crown’ accreditation from AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB, Bayes Business School and its programmes are consistently ranked among the best in the world. Find out more about our Global MBA and our MSc in Global Finance.

For key points to include in your sponsorship proposal see:

Topics: Global MBA, MSc Global Finance