Fisher College of Business has many company sponsored students attending graduate programs at Ohio State. Credit: Cori Wade | Assistant Photo Editor

The hook, line and sinker for some Ohio State business students is the lure of employers sponsoring their graduate degrees. 

Over the past three years, 36 percent of all graduate students enrolled in any program at the Fisher College of Business have been sponsored in some form by their employer, according to data from the college obtained by The Lantern. 

“Fisher is at the high end because that’s what they do. They’re the business school, working with business partners on a regular basis, so they are probably at the forefront for that,” Alicia Bertone, dean of Ohio State graduate school, said.

According to the data, 82 percent of company-sponsored students are enrolled in one of Fisher’s part-time or hybrid programs, including the Master of Business Administration for working professionals, Master of Human Resource Management and specialized Master of Business and Analytics.

Of the part-time and hybrid programs, the MBA for working professionals accounts for the highest percentage of graduate students — at 69 percent — who have been sponsored in some way by their employers over the past three years. 

In comparison, the next highest sponsored degree is the Master of Accounting, for which 16 percent of graduate students were sponsored over the past three years. 

Fisher partners with companies to help encourage employers to fund students, so they can go back to school and get their master’s degree, Bertone said. 

“I am aware that Fisher has two master programs that are funded by employers — one is with Chase, and one is by Honda — and they fund to have those students come and get their master’s degree,” Bertone said. 

Paul North, executive director of the graduate programs office at Fisher, said in an email that employers have different views on how much time and money should be invested in their employees going back to school for their master’s degrees. 

Some employers may have a training or tuition benefit that will pay for part of a program and allow their employees to go to school part time or after hours, while others may allow a leave of absence to attend a full-time program,” North said. “These employers are willing to invest in their staff and understand the great value that ongoing, higher education can provide in retaining and promoting employees.”

Data from Fisher’s Executive Education Programs Office shows that of the 26 students who have been admitted or have interviews scheduled for the Master of Business Operational Excellence, 58 percent reported they were receiving full employer funding. 

Of the 26 students, four reported they will not be receiving any employer funding at all. 

Within the Executive MBA degree program, 12 of the incoming students reported financial information to Fisher, according to data from the executive office. Of the 12 students, half reported receiving full employer funding, while two reported no funding at all. 

For students who do not receive employer funding, Bertone said there are many ways students can have graduate school paid for through Ohio State.

“A large number of our graduate students are funded through GRA-ships, what we call our graduate appointments, fellowships, through some of our stipend match programs, and right now we have 4,044 doctoral students who are on one of those forms of support,” Bertone said.