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Does Bain Pay For Your MBA? The Full Facts (And Conditions)

The question of ‘Does Bain for your MBA’ can be a murky one! The really solid answer is ‘it depends’.

There are quite a few factors at play. Bain is definitely well-known for offering generous tuition reimbursement to its employees, but only to the right people at the right time.

Whether Bain pays for your MBA will depend on a number of factors. They will often reimburse employees for educational expenses, as long as the employee can demonstrate that the degree will be beneficial to their work at Bain.

However, there are several limitations to this.

In this article, I’ll take a look at:

  • When Bain might pay for your MBA, and what limitations and conditions it has about this
  • Bain’s MBA sponsorship program
  • Bain’s 5 eligibility criteria for having your MBA sponsored
  • The application process for MBA sponsorship
Skyscapers in city skyline

When Bain May Pay For Your MBA – Limitations And Conditions

A few quick facts:

It’s highly unlikely that Bain will reimburse you for an MBA you carried out before joining Bain. The only MBAs they will reimburse will be the ones that you complete while working at Bain.

However, here are the three most important limitations and conditions:

Limitations and Conditions
Bain will only reimburse tuition for MBA programs that are highly ranked and accredited.
Employees must receive a grade of B or higher in their MBA courses in order to be eligible for reimbursement.
Employees must commit to working at Bain for a certain period of time after completing their MBA program. This is often 2 years after (though can be subject to change)

Bain’s MBA Sponsorship Programs

Bain & Company is well-known in the industry for providing really good career development to its employees.

This includes their sponsorship (sometimes!) of their MBA.

There are a few different sponsorship programs in the mix at Bain, many of which they may promote to certain employees. At the end of the day, it makes sense for Bain that their employees are as well trained as they can be:

The main sponsorships available for Bain employees are:

Full Sponsorship

Full sponsorships are normally only available for employees that have been with Bain for at least 2 years and have demonstrated an exceptional level of high performance.

This program covers:

  • The full cost of any training (for example an MBA)
  • Tuition
  • Fees
  • Related expenses

Partial Sponsorship

This is for employees who have been working at Bain for at least 1 year. These employees show at least a good level of promise.

Bain covers at least a portion of fees, tuition, and all the rest of the costs of training.

Loan Assistance

Bain may also offer employees a loan to pay for things such as an MBA. The loan would be repaid over an agreed period of time.

I’ve been told that interest rates would be lower than market norms, and so manageable.

Sponsorships Are Competitive

It’s probably no massive shock here – but getting onto these sponsorships is highly competitive!

Bain is particularly looking for employees that:

  • Have leadership potential
  • Who show strong performance, and have demonstrated strong results
  • Have a commitment to Bain, and want to work there over the long term

5 Eligibility Criteria That They Look For

Here are the kinds of features that Bain will be looking for in employees that may make them more illegible in their eyes for sponsorship.

There are probably 5 important issues:

1. Work History At Bain

Usually, candidates will have had two successful years of working experience at Bain, and often it may be more.

They should have shown success, and the potential to be a leader at the company.

2. Academic Credentials

As an MBA is essentially an academic qualification, your previous academic grades may well be a factor (though less so than working performance).

Bain may look at scores on:

  • GPA
  • GMAT
  • GRE

3. How An Employee Matches Bain’s Culture And Values

This is a biggie!

Bain wants to know that it is likely that you will want to work for them well into the future, long after the MBA is completed.

Though they cannot fully predict this accurately, they will be interested that an employee fits their culture and mission. They want employees that share their:

  • Work ethic
  • Passion for results
  • Culture and values

4. Long-Term Career Goals

Bain wants candidates that have a clear idea of how their MBA will enhance their performance long-term at Bain. What are you actually going to do with this MBA?

Try to:

  • Articulate a clear vision for your future
  • Know where you are going and how you will get there

Bain is much more predisposed to help candidates that have a really clear idea of both of these things.

5. Language Skills

Potentially, I’ve been reliably informed that language skills may sometimes be a factor.

This is because Bain operates in 39 countries, with 64 offices. (Source) They are a global employer, and those who speak multiple languages have a wider field of potential roles available.

A Quick Rundown Of The Sponsorship Criteria

Bain is looking for:

  • Normally 2 years of previous service
  • Good academic credentials (most employees will have these anyway)
  • A good fit with their vision and culture
  • A vision of how the MBA will impact and enhance their work at Bain long-term
  • Potentially different language skills
Corporate office space

How To Apply For Sponsorships At Bain – 6 Steps

When working at Bain, you will need to find out the current procedure on how to apply (as these things will always be changing).

However, having spoken to an employee of Bain, the application for sponsorships for an MBA will look something like these 6 steps:

Step 1 – Check The Eligibility Criteria

Make sure you are eligible for sponsorship before applying.

This sounds kind of obvious, but could save you a huge amount of time!

Step 2 – Research the Sponsorship Options

There will probably be a few options, and you may feel you are more likely to be accepted for one rather than another.

Find a plan that fits your needs, and that you think realistically you might be accepted for.

Step 3 – Prepare Your Application

Ready to go!? Got a plan!?

Now it’s time to execute. Prepare the paperwork to the highest standard you can.

Step 4 – Submit Your Application

Try to submit well before any deadline. (Easier said than done, I know!)

Step 5 – Wait For A Decision

Keep your fingers tightly crossed! Like anything like this, it’s important to get on with life – and control the controllable!

Step 6 – Accept And Move Forward

You’ve either been accepted or you haven’t. Get your head around this, and then proceed!


  • Will Bennett

    Will Bennett is a Cambridge graduate. He worked as a Consultant and Senior Consultant at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in London. Will is the Founder of The Cambridge Consultant.