To further your personal development, education, and growth within a company, you may be considering applying to Wharton’s EMBA program. An internationally-recognized program, Wharton offers some of the best returns on your educational investment, from course varieties, exceptional faculty, and valuable networking opportunities both in the program and beyond. Many companies are open to offering an EMBA sponsorship even if they don’t have a formal framework for it. These sponsorships can mean simply offering the time and flexibility you need, or they can involve financial assistance.
At a minimum, you need your current company to sponsor your time in the Wharton EMBA program. While this request may appear daunting, it doesn’t have to be; here are tips on approaching your employer and negotiating their sponsorship of your education.
How to Ask Your Company for an EMBA Sponsorship
Present the sponsorship as an investment in the business.
When you want your employer to sponsor your enrollment, your focus will be on the program’s benefits. Not only will you still be employed as an EMBA student, the skills you are acquiring will strengthen you as an executive, a networker, and as a source of revenue for your company each passing day. The Wharton EMBA program is a concentrated two year program, but your employer won’t have to wait until the end to benefit from your education. As you complete your courses, you’ll be learning valuable executive skills and building your network right away, and the information you acquire can be tangible additions to your ongoing work. An EMBA sponsorship pays off from the beginning, present this information to help your company understand the value.
Explain how your own work in your current role will benefit.
Look over the Wharton EMBA curriculum and reflect on how certain courses will have a direct positive effect on your existing skill set. Have a complete list of your current responsibilities, your executive assets, and what your leadership already provides for your company; then, explain how your education through certain specific courses will benefit your executive presence. While this sounds like an extension of presenting the sponsorship as a company investment, it’s also a way for you to highlight yourself, your already impressive skills, and how you’ll be that much more valuable to your company. More education means more responsibilities, and growth is the key, both for yourself and your company.
Be honest about the commitment you are making.
Naturally, continuing your work while you’re enrolled in an EMBA program means sacrifices will be necessary, and your time will be stretched thin. Wharton offers valuable communication tips for prospective students: present your employer with a comprehensive outline of your time commitment, details on how your occasional absence won’t be a detriment to productivity, and how you can delegate immediate work and work remotely when you’re not in class or working on school obligations. As with any kind of negotiations, come into the session prepared, confident, and ready to ease any concern about what your company’s EMBA sponsorship actually means. Honesty and transparency will earn you trust and respect and make it easier to succeed at work and in your studies.
Don’t shy away from being frank about finances.
Investments and negotiations are always ultimately about money. While you don’t want to lead your sponsorship conversation with financial details, you also don’t want to avoid it. There’s no denying that an EMBA program is a costly commitment. With your list of benefits, you can explain to your employer how their investment in you will have a direct positive impact on the company. Don’t be afraid to look up and research sponsorship examples from other companies, even your competitors, to reference how sponsorship is worth everything in the long run, from the cost to your expected time away.
But this is a negotiation; you may not walk into your meeting and come away with everything you’re hoping for, and it may require meeting with other people above you to carve out a sponsorship and timeline that satisfies everyone. Give yourself enough time to work through this before the application process starts. This may require you to offer to do more work before the EMBA program begins. You may have to set aside time to be available more from afar while you study.
Be Excited and Persuasive
Ultimately, your goal is to persuade your company to give you a serious investment and time commitment. But as you negotiate this next step, present your case as a net positive. Don’t be afraid to show enthusiasm and elevate the dialogue beyond a typical negotiation. Show your employer that you want to increase your value and assets. If you come into the negotiation fully prepared, you can confidently answer any question or concern your superiors might have. Preparedness and confidence are already skills you have as an executive, leverage these qualities to help state your case for sponsorship in the Wharton EMBA program. Remember, this should be an ongoing conversation with your employer because as you grow, your role should too. After all, your employer wants to reap the benefits of your development so they should be sure to keep your work challenging and engaging which will support their growth as well.