We’re pleased to share this guest post from Prodigy Finance.
It’s been said that the hardest thing about a top MBA program is getting admitted. However, there’s another major hurdle that awaits international applicants — getting financed.
The reality is that most banks don’t make cross-border loans. So, what is a newly admitted international applicant supposed to do if he or she can’t afford to pay a five-figure tuition tab from personal savings or family support?
Good news: Some leading business schools are now partnering with lenders to offer loans designed for international students. However, there can significant differences between these financing sources and offerings. Here are 8 key questions for to ask before you borrow:
1. Does this lender serve applicants from my country admitted to School X?
"International" doesn’t mean "global." And "business school" doesn’t mean ALL business schools. Determine up front if you would even be considered for a loan based on where you live and where you plan to enroll.
2. How fast and easy is the application process?
Ideally, you can apply online in less than 30 minutes. If it takes longer, the lender is asking too many questions and is less likely to approve the loan.
3. Am I required to provide a guarantees, co-signer or collateral?
This is a deal-breaker for most students. Providers such as Prodigy Finance have a strict policy that frees borrowers from these requirements.
4. How quickly will I receive a preliminary decision?
If a lender can’t tell you within 48 hours if you’ve been approved — including the rate and the amount of the loan — then move on to the next resource. Time is money!
5. Is the interest rate truly competitive?
Compare APRs from multiple sources to be sure that you’re getting a fair deal. But also consider the repayment terms.
6. Will I have adequate time after graduation before starting repayment?
No one can predict the future. You won’t know exactly where you’ll be living and working until your MBA education is nearly over. So, be sure you’re allowed at least 6 months before you must start paying back the loan.
7. How good is customer service after I receive my funds?
You’re surely going to have questions about the process at some point. Make certain that the lender has a dedicated customer service staff accessible from anywhere in the world. Preferably, you don’t want to have access only by telephone, only during standard business hours.
8. Is there any value added that comes with this loan?
With most lenders, it’s all about "the transaction." But there’s a new, more enlightened model today that views this as a relationship. Some institutions like Prodigy Finance are now "crowdsourcing" funds for MBA students from alumni investors. Part of that model includes fostering direct, 1-on-1 interaction between current students and the graduates who are making the education possible.
Once you’ve arranged your financing from a reliable source at a competitive rate, with reasonable terms backed my good service, you can then concentrate on the courses, clubs and classmates that will make your MBA education the smartest investment of your life!