How to Get Your MBA For (Almost!) Free

14-8188-hrweb2-003As you start your first MBA classes and the teacher invites people to introduce themselves and where they work, you’re going to find out a good percentage of your fellow MBA graduates are BU employees. The biggest perk to working at Boston University–you’ll be getting your MBA for free.

Well, almost free. If you’re a full-time BU employee, Boston University’s tuition remission benefits will cover 100% of the cost of your first four credits and 90% of the cost of your next four, each semester. To be exact, that’s $11,825.60 of the $12,448.00 cost of an eight-credit semester. Not bad! The benefits kick in immediately and there is no commitment to keep working at BU after you complete your degree.
If you want to go that route, here are some tips to be aware of going forward.

  1. Boston University is big— the third-largest private employer in Boston and 13th largest in the state. There are lots of job opportunities and there are openings all the time.
  1. Higher education trends are on your side. While it’s nigh-impossible for a PhD graduate to get a tenure track faculty position these days, the number of administrative and professional positions in higher education has doubled over the last 25 years. This means lots of job opportunities, especially for people in the mid-20s age range— opportunities in communications, public relations, interactive design, operations management, program management, etc.
  1. Network with your classmates. Take down the names of BU employees when your classmates make introductions, add them on LinkedIn, and set up some informational interviews.
  1. Salaries aren’t great.  Do a Glassdoor comparison between BU and Harvard and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll frequently hear about people being recruited for other higher education institutions in Boston that pay better. Just use your MBA skills to calculate opportunity cost and net present value and all that before you commit.
  1. There are some decent perks and conveniences— generous vacation benefits (not that you can take vacations — you’re a part-time student!), plus a free week off for everyone between Christmas and New Year’s, discounted Hubway memberships and Huntington Theater tickets, a transportation subsidy, and a doctor and dentist right on campus.
  1. Watch your taxes! Here’s the catch to that tuition remission— the first $5,250 of the benefit is not taxable income, but you will be taxed on the rest of your benefit as if it were income, so your take-home pay will decline substantially. Because BU spreads out the tuition benefit over the semester duration, your take-home pay will go down substantially if you take two classes during the summer because the semester is shorter. (They also may mess up your taxes and then take out a year’s worth of taxes over three months, leaving you with a fraction of your regular take-home pay so you have to take out loans anyway. I’m not bitter.)
  1. No need to stay put. Once you have your foot in the door, there are often opportunities to be promoted or transfer within the school. Boston University will give preference to an internal candidate, all other candidates being equal.

Working at BU is an especially good option for people who are doing the Public and Nonprofit Program— people who aren’t making a high salary now and don’t want to accumulate tens of thousands of dollars in debt while continuing to work in a lower-paying sector. Good luck applying!

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One thought on “How to Get Your MBA For (Almost!) Free

  1. Pingback: Paying for your MBA Out of Pocket | PEMBAstonian

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