How To Finance Your MBA Degree in Canada
Does this scenario sound familiar? You’ve completed your degree in Business at a Canadian undergraduate institution and you graduated in the upper percentile of your class. While braving the gauntlet of your final year, preparing for final exams, you also managed to apply for an MBA at one of Canada’s top business schools. Your application was well-received and now you’ve been accepted. But the thought that keeps popping into your head over and over is this: how will I support myself financially while I undertake this next major step in my life?
While a few lucky students might rely on the patronage of a wealthy family or an early inheritance, the vast majority of graduate school candidates must turn to other sources of funding to pay for their MBA. The information above speaks for itself. With tuition fees for MBA programs costing on average 300% more than a degree in dentistry, 600% more than a degree in engineering, and 900% more than a typical humanities degree, business students must think long and hard about how they plan to pay for their graduate studies. Luckily, if you live in Ontario, there are a number of internal and external funding options available to help you achieve that vital next step of your education in business and finance, and avoid the crippling debt that comes with student loans. Below, you’ll find some financial options available to graduate students who wish to pursue an MBA in Ontario.
The Ontario Graduate Scholarship, or OGS, is one of Ontario’s most well-known external financing options for students in business administration. Designed for students who have completed at least one undergraduate degree, the OGS is available to those who are planning on studying at a graduate level and obtaining a graduate degree. The OGS is a merit-based scholarship available to students of any academic discipline, and the scholarship is jointly funded by the provincial government (which provides two thirds of the finding) and the student’s university (which provides the other third). The OGS is available for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years. The value of the scholarship is $5000 per term per annum, which means that recipients will receive $5000, $10,000, or $15,000 depending on their number of active academic terms per year.
Every OntarioUniversity has its own application process, which usually opens in October of the year prior to study. This means that students are required to complete the application nearly a full year before they will begin their degree. Note also that the application will be due in December, before the end of the calendar year. This tight application window and early deadline is the first screening process the granting board uses to determine eligibility; if you aren’t a forward-thinking, well-organized student, you will miss the boat on this very helpful scholarship.
Internal Academic Scholarships are also available for many students and are provided by individual universities. These awards are meant to take the place of — or complement — an external award, and are highly sought after by the student body. Top business universities, such as Wilfrid Laurier, award Graduate Incentive Scholarships which complement financial support from awards such as The OGS, NSERC, or SSHRC. Wilfrid Laurier University’s graduate department also offers a number of top-up awards, which are given to top students who have already proven their merit by winning a major financial award such as The OGS or The Canadian (Master’s) Graduate Scholarship. For students in the highest academic standing, there is The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Scholarship which is awarded on a competitive basis to students entering or continuing full-time studies and who meet the highest academic standards in their respective disciplines.
To make things even easier for graduate school candidates, many universities also offer financial incentives to ambitious students who go above and beyond basic curricular expectations. Wilfrid Laurier University offers Travel and Research Awards, which allow students to travel in order to conduct advanced research training, or to attend workshops. The university also offers Travel Support for Conference Presentations, which encourages students to engage in scholarly debate and discourse outside of their classrooms.
If you are considering the pursuit of a graduate business degree at a top-notch university, remember that financing your MBA program in Canada — and especially in Ontario —is easier than you might think. With a bevy of external and internal financing options available, attending a stellar business school and acquiring that much-sought-after MBA is within your grasp.