Business school is expensive; and for international students sourcing funding, it can be a big hurdle in the path towards studying MBA degrees abroad.
Understanding this barrier, Prodigy Finance was established in 2007 by three INSEAD MBA graduates who had first-hand experience of the difficulties in financing an international degree.
They wanted to solve the problem for other students and developed the community platform, which allows alumni, impact investors and other private qualified entities to invest in MBA students. To date, Prodigy Finance loans have been granted to over 6,800 students around the world.
Prodigy Finance loans are opening the door, not just to top-ranked MBA programs, but also to high-level jobs and careers at multinational companies unreachable without the experience of an MBA.
Ighodaro Omoigui, who landed a job at consultancy firm Bain & Company on graduation in 2013, struggled to find funding in Nigeria when applying for his MBA at Financial Times’ top-ranked business school INSEAD.
“For young professionals from places like Nigeria, the impact of this financing channel is really significant,” he says. “Prodigy Finance made my dream to attend business school become a reality.”
Ighodaro, now a strategy officer at the World Bank, knows that Prodigy Finance played an important role in his career development. “I was determined to advance my career,” he says. “I thank God for this financing channel. Alumni understand the challenges of funding an MBA degree.”
These funding difficulties affect a range of international students, even those with successful entrepreneurial backgrounds, and it’s not just sourcing funding which can be a problem.
Simran Singh, an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and founder of India’s largest price-comparison search engine, explains: “The ugly truth of MBA life is that the restrictions of your loan repayments often dictate your career decisions. So, any platform that allows you to free yourself from those chains is highly recommended.”
Simran took a job at VMware, one of the largest tech companies in Silicon Valley, on graduation. He thinks the Prodigy Finance model is giving a freedom to students not offered by the more traditional funding avenues. “This kind of financial independence allows you to be more cavalier in your career choices,” he says.
Flora Huang, an MBA graduate from INSEAD, agrees: “My career would definitely not be on the same path without Prodigy Finance,” she says.
Flora ran a successful real estate company until the global recession in 2008 and then sought a career change with an MBA. She took a Prodigy Finance loan to attend INSEAD, and was one of the first US MBA students to benefit from the platform. The main drawcard for Flora was the simplicity of getting a student loan online.
“The application was easy and it was a seamless process transferring the funds directly from Prodigy Finance to INSEAD to pay my tuition. The interest rate was also much more favorable than US-based private loans.”
Since completing her MBA, Flora gained her dream job working as the vice president of finance and planning at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. “Driving to the studio every day and being surrounded by all the action is very exciting!”
For Flora, and many others like her, Prodigy Finance loans have been the platform from which exciting high-level careers are launched.