Paying for your MBA Out of Pocket

Wait, I have to PAY for my MBA?!

Ok, so obviously you have to pay for your MBA, regardless of whether you are a student at Questrom or anywhere else. Most full-time students take loans when going to business school, but part-time students have some additional options. Aside from taking loans, they can work for BU or another employer that pays for all or part of their tuition, for instance. And many Questrom students take that route.

I should say, though, that one of the big reasons I chose not to go full-time to business school is because I didn’t want to take loans, I wanted to keep working in adtech, and I loved startups so I really didn’t want to budge on any of that. Not to mention, I have a wife with high-end tastes and a mortgage so going full-time wasn’t really an option anyway. 🙂

This meant I had to be very smart and organized with the money my wife and I were earning, especially because my wife was just getting into the workforce here in Boston out of undergrad and wasn’t making very much money at the time.

Here are some tips based on what has helped me pay for school out of pocket:

One: Budget. I can’t stress how helpful it is to create a budget for yourself or for you and your significant other if you are living together and sharing expenses. Knowing your inflows and outflows (along with when money comes in and when it gets out) is paramount to making sure nothing goes missed, that you’re able to pay for everything including school, and limits your stress so you can focus on more important things.

If you have a significant other and are sharing expenses with them, make sure you two are on the same page as far as what going to school means for your monthly budget. Agree on certain limits for certain things and agree on an overall budget. And plan far in advance for any big purchases, vacations, etc.

Two: Save. Even while paying for school, work saving into your budget (even if it’s $100/month) – that is, make it a virtual expense for you every month. This is extremely helpful. You can pull from this if you need to for any big, unexpected expense, but don’t leave it in your bank account unless you absolutely have to. It won’t be there for long otherwise…

Three: Take your time. Don’t be shy to take a semester or two off along the way if you need to. In fact, I might encourage it. You have six years to finish the program, so give yourself a breather. It’s tough being a part-time MBA candidate while working full-time. And that’s before you even consider paying for it and all the other priorities you have.

Four: Use credit wisely. If you trust yourself enough, put your tuition payments on automatic payment from your credit card and pay your credit card off in full when it’s due. This helps your credit, gives you points depending on the credit card you use, and that one expense becomes one you’ll never have to worry about again.

If you do all this, your PEMBA experience will be much less stressful, you’ll be much more financially secure, and you’ll come out feeling like a boss on the other side!

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