UMD offers working, learning opportunity for MBA students to offset tuition costsThe Catch 22 of pursuing a graduate degree: Get an advanced degree to pursue a high-paying job, but you need income from a high-paying job to pay tuition for an advanced degree.
The Catch 22 of pursuing a graduate degree: Get an advanced degree to pursue a high-paying job, but you need income from a high-paying job to pay tuition for an advanced degree.
Striving to help people overcome that conundrum during challenging economic times, the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics is offering students, who wish to attain their MBA, an opportunity to offset the cost of tuition by becoming a graduate research assistant.
“In the last year, LSBE has dramatically increased its aid for its graduate students. We started by offering small scholarships to top students with high scores on standardized tests. Now we have five GRA positions to offer MBA students who may not be fully employed while working towards their degree,” said Rajiv Vaidyanathan, professor of marketing and director of MBA Programs at UMD’s LSBE.
Being a graduate research assistant is a full-time 40-hour per week commitment. The GRAs provide 20 hours of hands-on assistance to faculty on national or international research projects and are expected to pursue their MBA for an additional 20 hours per week.
“With the economy still faltering, the GRA position is perfect for people who have put off getting their MBA, or those who have attained an undergraduate degree and are unsure about going on due to already high debt, or people who have minimal debt and want to keep it that way,” said Vaidyanathan.
Attaining the 32-credit MBA takes about three years at UMD. Each credit for an MBA costs $1077 (2011-2012 rates). But GRAs receive a salary of $17.08 per hour (2011-2012 rate); 12 credits of free tuition for the academic year; and, significantly subsidized University health care and dental insurance benefits.
“This opportunity is an example of how committed we are to making a high-quality MBA more accessible to students in the region,” said Vaidyanathan. “Research assistantships and scholarships are less common for MBA programs than for other graduate programs. Though tuition is on the rise nationally, on a local level here at LSBE, we’re helping students get an MBA by alleviating some of the stress of the financial aspect.”
The UMD MBA program is an intimate personal program with less than 40 students in Duluth and a similar number in Rochester. The focus of classes is on active discussion of key business and leadership issues. It is the only MBA program in the region to be fully accredited by AACSB International.