How to Earn Employer and Managerial Support for your Professional MBA

Pursuing your MBA while keeping your job can be manageable with one of our six professional program formats. But what conversations do you need to have with your employer? We’ll walk you through the process of how to gain their support of your pursuit, as well as how to handle the tricky conversations about financial support.

Before you talk to your employer

It’s important that your employer approve of your decision to pursue a Professional MBA at UF, but before you have that conversation with them, make sure you’re prepared. You need to think through different elements of what this decision will mean for your job. Make sure you’ve considered these areas before speaking with your employer:

Think about it from your employer’s perspective: As you’re forming points about how an MBA can benefit you, it can also be helpful to think about how your employer sees the decision. What areas will your MBA pursuit benefit them? How will you be able to provide an immediate ROI to your role as you’re learning new skills and sharpening old ones? It’s important that you plan how to show them that an MBA doesn’t benefit just you – it helps the company, too.

Practice the conversations first: Before you go straight to the decision maker, talk to your peers and mentors at work about the decision. These are also the people who can serve as professional recommendations when you apply to UF MBA. While speaking with them, gain feedback on your pitch and make sure you’re confident that you know who to speak with for approval.

Provide as much warning as possible: As soon as you decide that you’d like to pursue an MBA, it’s a good idea to speak with someone at your employer about it. Even if you’re just giving them a heads up of what’s to come and gaining base level information, they will appreciate the knowledge and have more time to think about what that would mean for the company. No one likes to be surprised by big news, so provide them with fair warning as soon as you decide.

Speaking with your employer

Set up a time to meet with the key decision maker(s) in the process. Make sure you have a strong plan in place before the meeting begins, and follow these tips during the conversation:

Show your employer how they would benefit: An MBA isn’t only about your professional growth. It helps your employer by giving you a stronger skillset to solve problems. Your professional growth also means you become more qualified for leadership positions at the company in the future.

Don’t be afraid to listen: This conversation can also be a learning opportunity for you to see how your employer makes financial decisions. As you learn, be prepared to think on your feet and be able to provide supporting points that can line your request up with the way they view the budget.

Mention professional development opportunities: MBA programs, especially UF MBA, prioritize your professional development. Whether it’s through a Global Immersion Experience, networking opportunities or speaker series, UF MBA has programming to enhance and improve your technical skills and soft skills as you become a more valuable professional. Make sure your employer understands the value that comes from these experiences.

Gaining financial assistance

This is the part that often brings the most anxiousness when talking to your employer. Receiving their support for pursuing an MBA is important, but how do you talk to them about paying for it? There are a few things to keep in mind.

Do your research: Does your company have a history of paying for employees’ professional development? This is imperative to know before you start the conversation about financial support. If they have paid for other professional development in the company, talk the employees who have received it and learn about their conversations.

Build a plan: After you’ve gained all of the information, put together your proposal. Prepare as if your employer knows nothing about your desire for an MBA and give them the full background on how it benefits the company. Keep in mind – the priority is to make sure your employer leaves the meeting with a full understanding of how they will benefit.

Develop your key points: What part of your job, responsibilities or department would benefit from you pursuing an MBA? Put together examples of your time within the company where you’ve taken on long-term commitments and executed well. Build a list of times where you’ve proven yourself as an integral asset to the company. Think about how you can ensure that your job performance will not lag as you pursue an MBA.

Show them the numbers: When you’re asking for financial assistance, don’t provide the entire program cost at first. Instead, give your employer the program’s annual cost. This lines up better with the way their budgets are built. It’s also important to remind your employer that the money they spend on your tuition could also be mostly tax deductible.

After securing support

Now that you have the green light from your employer, there are still important moments ahead:

Live up to your commitment: This might be the most important part. Once your boss or company has agreed to support you – financially or otherwise – as you pursue an MBA, it’s imperative that you follow through with it. Life will get busy and the demands of your job will always exist, but few things could make you look worse than asking for support and then changing your mind or losing the desire to complete the process.

Keep the decision makers updated: Make sure they know that betting on you was a good decision. Show them that supporting your pursuit of an MBA was a good move and how it benefits the company. Share the times when you’ve put your new skills to work while on the job.