Paying Off $150K In MBA Debt In Five Years

Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business

Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business

Also somewhat ironic is the fact that CommonBond, where DeGisi has worked as VP of marketing for the past year, offers a matching program paying up to $1,200 a year against an employee’s student debt. Pricewaterhouse Coopers in September announced that next year it will start helping junior employees – who make up about 45% of the PwC workforce – repay student debt.

DeGisi suggests that MBAs working or applying at firms that don’t offer repayment assistance should ask if it’s possible. “Talk to your HR group,” he says. “It’s something a lot of people would consider.”

And he also recommends setting up automatic payments for the debt, to “idiot-proof” the payment protocol and ensure no late payments occur. Also, should a graduate refinance their loans, some companies offer an interest reduction for those who set up auto-pay. “It’s almost like free money,” DeGisi says.

Not surprisingly, as an exec for CommonBond, DeGisi advises refinancing of high-interest student loans, and he certainly has good reason. Firms such as CommonBond and SoFi have responded to what is now a $1.2 trillion U.S. student debt with refinancing programs aimed at graduates less likely to default than the average American grad. MBAs make up a massive share of their clientele.

Five-and-a-half years after graduating from Tuck, DeGisi made his final student loan payment, knocking his debt to zero. I told a lot of my buddies from Tuck. “That’s become a little tradition – as a few of us have paid them off in the past couple years there’s definitely an email that circulates that says, ‘Hey, I did it,’” he says. Perhaps because he’d been operating in penny-saver mode for more than five years, there was no massive splurge in celebration of his accomplishment. “My wife and I had a glass of wine and cheers-ed that night,” he says. “She knew how often I was thinking about it and how much I probably spoke about it. It was probably nice for her to not have to hear about it anymore.”

Out from beneath his burden, DeGisi is in a better position to take a broad view of the MBA-debt issue. After all, the debt’s not incurred for nothing. It buys a ticket to a world of opportunity. “It is a catalyst for positivity in your life,” DeGisi says, “even though it may be stressful in the moment.”


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.