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Asking For Employer Support

Monday, March 13, 2023

If you’re considering the Carlson School’s Part-Time MBA, Online MBA, Executive MBA, or a Graduate Certificate program, you’ll likely need to secure support from your employer. There are two types of corporate support: time off and financial sponsorship. The only form of corporate support our programs require is time off so you can attend orientation, classes, residencies, and/or other critical program experiences.

Crafting a case for education support from your organization calls for a detailed and thoughtful plan. Here are some tips when it comes to asking your employer to support your program.


1. Do your research

  • Look into your company’s policies on tuition reimbursement or similar programs.
  • Explore the backgrounds of those who will need to approve your request—do they have MBAs or certificates? Identify your advocates and relevant examples of success.
  • Be mindful of your organization’s budgetary timelines.
  • Pay attention to program application deadlines.
  • Consider potential tax deductions that might affect your net cost.

2. Prepare your talking points

  • Frame your case in terms of your organization’s interests rather than your own.
  • Consider some of the company’s challenges and describe how the skills—strategic thinking, a broader perspective, improved communication, fresh management, leadership techniques, etc.—you learn through the Carlson School’s program will help you address them.
  • Be specific: Mention particular plans or projects and tangible career development milestones that an MBA degree or certificate will propel you toward.

3. Demonstrate your commitment

  • Soothe your employer’s fears that you will leave after finishing your degree, perhaps by signing a formal retention agreement.
  • Propose how you will change your schedule to balance your work and school without sacrificing quality or output. Make assurances that you will adjust your plan if anyone believes your work is suffering.

4. Take it step by step

  • Start with your closest workplace mentor and progressively move toward your target decision-makers. By getting each person along the way to endorse your idea, you will build momentum and consensus that will increase your odds of success.
  • After you have received approval, be sure to follow up to ensure all formalities have been completed, thank all involved, and maintain the relationships you have established throughout the process.