Most Employers Won’t Pay for an MBA

Most Employers Won’t Pay for an MBA

Several organizations have made headlines recently with their programs to help employees pay for college or graduate school. Starbucks’s partnership with Arizona State University was profiled extensively in the Atlantic last year, and more recently, Cigna revealed that its tuition assistance program was a huge success, calculating an ROI of 129 percent. They’re not alone: SHRM’s 2016 Benefits Survey found that 55 percent of employers offered assistance for employees pursuing undergraduate degrees, and 52 percent for graduate degrees.

There seems to be one degree, however, that employers are much less willing to help pay for than they used to be, Ally Marotti reports for the Chicago Tribune:

Before the Great Recession, many companies would at least help pay for employees’ MBAs. The support dropped markedly after 2011, according to data from the Graduate Management Admission Council, the nonprofit organization that owns the widely administered Graduate Management Admissions Test, or GMAT. Sixty-eight percent of companies responding to a GMAC survey helped pay for employees’ part-time MBAs in 2011, and 57 percent helped pay for executive MBAs. By 2013, that had dropped to 30 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

Although data indicates those numbers may be rising, university experts say sponsorship looks a lot different than it used to. “(Companies) have become much more hard-nosed about the return on their investments,” said Krishna Erramilli, associate dean at Illinois Tech’s Stuart School of Business. “They’re saying, ‘What’s in it for me?’”

Marotti goes on to look at what some Chicago universities are doing to convince employers to start sending their employees to business school again.