How A Muslim Student Got an Ivy League MBA Without Student Loan Debt

Here’s an email we received recently:

After undergrad, I worked for a couple of years before deciding that I wanted to go back to school to get my MBA. After doing a lot of research, I realized that the cost of going back full-time could be as much as $150,000 for two years. Many of the best business schools also offered part-time MBA programs with classes in the evenings or on the weekends. I made the decision to enroll in a program which allowed me to continue working while getting my MBA. I talked to my company about getting them to sponsor me and they agreed to pay 50%. Many companies will pay for your MBA if you agree to keep working for a period of two years after you graduate. Getting my MBA while working was a great idea because I was able to apply what I learned in the classroom at my job. After graduating, I had no loans whereas many of my friends who enrolled in full-time programs had as much as $100,000 or more in loans. I also had two additional years of work experience whereas they had to find jobs and go through the recruiting and interview process all over again. Looking back, it was a great investment and I would highly recommend it for those who want to graduate without the burden of excessive student loans.

The person who sent this to us did their MBA at Yale. Here’s a few things to note from how this worked:

-After having already invested in an undergraduate degree, this person got a return on that investment by seeking employment. This allows one to not just get experience, but set aside savings to put toward continuing education later.

-This person focused on the ‘big win’ which was exchanging 2 years of promising to stay with their current company for sponsoring half the education costs.

-If we assume that half the tuition was $75,000 [based on the numbers in the email], then it means this person had 2-3 years to save money, and also seek scholarships. With focus and dedication, this is actually very reasonable (with emphasis being on focus).

-Most companies will reimburse some portion of your education costs. This is an easy way to get a head start. Yes, it means not doing grad school immediately after graduating, but (as this email shows) plenty of people are able to be quite successful going this route.

-If this person had opted to take a loan and do it right out of grad school, they would have started their career with $100,000 burden hanging on their heads. Imagine trying to get married and start a family with that type of a debt.

Check out our free ebook, A Practical Guide to Debt and Personal Finance for Muslims, for a fresh look at how we view student loans in the Muslim community – enter your email below to get a copy.

Omar Usman

Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters, Qalam Institute, Muslim Strategic Initiative, and Debt Free Muslims. He is a regular khateeb and has served in different administrative capacities in various national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow him on Google+ or on Twitter @ibnabeeomar. Check out his latest project at Fiqh of Social Media.


  1. Arif Khan
    July 4, 2013

    I also want to became a MBA degree holder. What can i do for this.

  2. froggy fresh
    November 12, 2013

    This is a very good replacement for debt because the company pays, people will work for longer as long as the company pays for their degree.

  3. Firhaj And HASSANGEE
    November 12, 2013

    making companies pay for your degree is a much better investment than getting into debt and not being able to pay back. This student was smart enough to ask the company, rather than be in alot of debt.


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