How He’s Paying for His MBA

Fellowships, internships, federal loans, personal savings, 401K

His Story

Real estate is the major theme of Lester’s MBA. In his first year, he received the Alan R. Braxton Memorial Fellowship, which offers both partial funding and an internship in the real estate industry. For his second year, he applied for and won the Martin Bucksbaum Memorial Fellowship from the Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center.

He made up the rest of the student budget with personal savings, including his 401K, while borrowing 62% of the student budge with Direct and Stafford loans.

“I had government loans from undergrad, so it was a familiar process,” he said.

Lester moved to Wharton with his partner and his now-3-year-old twin daughters, so they chose a home in the Fairmont part of the city with enough space to grow. With his partner working full time and his little girls in day care, Lester is careful with his money and spends it where it matters. He’s participating in the MBA experience and planning to stretch his savings on a South Africa Global Immersion Program.

His advice to other students is to save for contingencies.

“There are always additional expenses that come up,” he said. “I would ensure that I had more personal savings. There are a lot of expenses that the student budget doesn’t take into consideration, like small group dinners. Save as much as you can!”

Finance & Real Estate

Columbus, OH

Previous Education
Michigan State University, MS, electrical engineering; North Carolina Agricultural and Technical Insitute, BS, electrical engineering

Previous Career
Director, Army Operations, Axiologic Solutions; lead systems engineer, Booz Allen Hamilton