It's important that your organization endorse your participation in the Eller Executive MBA since attendance requires time away from work throughout the 21-month program. Beyond endorsement, you may decide to seek sponsorship to have your employer cover all or some of program costs.
Securing sponsorship will require presenting a clear and compelling explanation of how your organization will benefit from your earning an Eller Executive MBA.
Make sure you know and understand your organization's policies around employee education and sponsorship. Find out if others in your company have gone through a similar program and what their experience was. Know as much as you can about what to expect before you present your proposal for sponsorship.
Before having a conversation seeking sponsorship for the Eller Executive MBA, prepare by anticipating questions and concerns and formulating clear, succinct responses. Read through the tips below. If appropriate, create a presentation to share key information or prepare charts, spreadsheets, or text documents.
Focus on Value
Your organization will be most interested in what return they can expect for sponsoring your education. Draw a clear connection between your current responsibilities, potential future contributions, and the curriculum of the Eller Executive MBA. Offer real examples of past challenges you've negotiated and show how the skills and knowledge of an MBA would have saved time or money or otherwise improved the outcome. Communicate how your increased leadership skills will, in turn, help you build capacity of your team and/or coworkers.
Be Clear about Commitment
Consider what you are willing to give to your organization in exchange for its sponsorship. Be clear about your commitment — is it for the length of the program? For a period of time beyond the program? The longer your commitment to the company, the easier to build a case for greater returns over the life of your employment.
Negotiate and Ameliorate
It may be that your organization is open to the idea of sponsoring your education without bearing the full cost — either financially or the cost of your absence from work. Consider what you are willing to commit in exchange for partial sponsorship. You may also be able to offer suggestions for minimizing the impact of your time away from work. Are you willing to work two weekend days a month or certain evenings to make up for Fridays away from work?
This recommendation is key. The process of gaining sponsorship can be lengthy. Prepare well in advance and begin the dialog as early as possible.