Conquering Sticker Shock: Insights Into Financing Your EMBA, Part I



Anita Ratnathicam admits to a moment of panic when she first saw the tuition fee for the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program. You may be feeling the same thing. But for Anita, director of operations at Good Food Guys, focusing on the ROI turned sticker shock into satisfaction.

Q: What led you to consider an Executive MBA program?

A: I realized that, as much as I had learned on the job, it was time for a more structured business education to take my career forward. At first, I considered the Evening & Weekend MBA Program, but Marjorie DeGraca in Admissions suggested the EMBA. When I think now about how important my cohort has been to my education—their maturity, diverse experiences, and insights—it was clearly the right choice for me.

Q: How did the cost of tuition factor into your decision to apply? What funding options did you consider?

A: It is a big factor, but you should not look at tuition in a vacuum. For me, the EMBA is much more conducive to working while being a student. I found there is little opportunity cost. In fact, it heightens your value to your employer because you bring the lessons learned in class back to the workplace almost immediately.

In addition, the tuition is nearly all-inclusive. The best example is the immersion weeks. We spent a week in Singapore and another in Washington, D.C. doing amazing things, and all we paid for was airfare and some meals.

My family generously helped me pay for the program. Getting a loan from family members is much friendlier than going to a bank. But be careful. Don’t sacrifice good family relationships over this; they are much more important. 

Q: How did you approach your family?

A: I did a lot of research, not just about the program, but about what I wanted to get out of it. I explained the broader context for what my MBA would mean for me and for my family. For example, I’m a trustee of my father’s Vanni Aid Foundation. My newfound knowledge of finance and marketing will help us take that initiative to new levels.

Q: What advice would you give people about financing an EMBA?

A: Take advantage of the financial planning advisory services at Berkeley-Haas. They will help you explore a variety of EMBA financing options. And the ranks of current and former EMBA students can help, too. There is almost certainly someone in circumstances similar to yours who can offer advice.

Once you’re here and have started building what will be lifelong relationships with classmates and faculty, you’ll realize what a good investment this is in your career and yourself as a person.

We invite you to schedule a personal consultation with a member of our admissions team to learn more about options for financing your executive MBA studies.

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About The Author

Susan is Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program. She has nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and advertising, having worked in several different industries including technology, travel, healthcare -- and many others from her media planning days at J. Walter Thompson where her clients included Chevron, Kaiser Permanente, Nestle, and Ford. She enjoys advising prospective students and guiding them through their personal MBA experience.