How Much Does A Top MBA Degree Cost?

For the most updated story on the cost of an MBA degree see: Full Cost Of The MBA Keeps Rising: Four Schools Now Over $200K

What’s the most expensive two-year MBA program you can take? You might be surprised to learn it isn’t Harvard or Stanford, or Wharton or Chicago, or Dartmouth or Yale. Instead, priciest MBA is being sold by Columbia Business School. Columbia estimates that the cost of its two-year, full-time MBA program in New York is a whopping $168,307.

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria said earlier this week that the cost of a Harvard MBA is less than several other top rivals. “We are at the middle of the pack when it comes to the top ten schools,” he said in a wide-ranging interview with The Financial Times. By the estimates of the total cost of the degree posted on business school websites, he’s actually being somewhat conservative. Harvard comes in as the seventh most expensive MBA program among the top 20 U.S. business schools.

Not only is Columbia number one, but the school Columbia also ends up on another extreme end of this list of premium-priced degrees. Columbia reports the lowest percentage of MBA students who are receiving financial aid from the school–just 55%, well below the 81% at Duke, the 80% at Dartmouth, or the 75% at Stanford.

The total cost of the Columbia program includes two years worth of tuition, fees, books, and the estimated costs to live in New York City. But as often is the case, these numbers are often conservative. Yale’s School of Managment makes clear that its esimates assume a “modest lifestyle.” Cornell informs applicants on its website that its estimate of $11,250 a year for living expenses is “based on the cost of sharing a moderately priced apartment” at a cost of $700 a month rent and putting aside $425 a month for food.

Most MBAs at elite schools will find it hard to live on that budget, especially in New York, Boston, Chicago, or San Francisco. Indeed, perhaps to make these estimates more believable to applicants, Cornell goes out of its way to note, “It is much easier to live like a student when you are a student than to live like a student when you are earning $90,000 annually. If you were to reduce your student loans from $50,000 to $40,000 you would save approximately $121 per month in student loan payments.”


In almost all cases, these “total cost” numbers–taken from the school’s websites–are very conservative estimates. Wharton’s $168,000 pricetag, for example, fails to include the cost of its Global Immersion Program, which ranges from $5,800 to $7,800, or the inevitable cost to join clubs, attend conferences and “parties,” which Wharton estimates at $860 a year. Those two omissions alone add 6% to the total cost estimate of an MBA degree. Stanford’s estimate of the total cost of its MBA degree doesn’t include a required “global study tour” which costs about $4,000. In most cases, you can expect the “total cost estimate” to be 10% to 20% higher, given your lifestyle preferences and desire to take full advantage of the MBA experience.

The costs of non-U.S. MBA programs can vary widely, especially because in Europe one-year programs are especially popular. London Business School’s 21-month MBA program looks like a bargain if you believe the estimate: $134,152, with $77,854 of that going to pay tuition. The accelerated 10-month MBA program at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, costs just $102,714 (with about $73,000 of that for tuition). Of course, that’s the estimate from INSEAD for living expenses, food, and travel. Could you live in France on $30,000 over those ten months? Perhaps if you lived in a trailer or a tent.

School Total MBA Cost Two-Year Tuition Percent Getting Aid Amount of aid/loans
1. Columbia$168,307$106,41655%$115,716
2. Pennsylvania (Wharton)$168,000$108,01876%NA
3. Stanford$166,812$106,23675%$115,954
4. Chicago (Booth)$165,190$101,800NANA
5. Dartmouth (Tuck)$162,750$101,40080%$90,150
6. MIT (Sloan)$160,378$100,70671%$130,418
7. Harvard$158,800$97,20063%$113,038
8. New York (Stern)$157,622$94,572NA$114,628
9. Northwestern (Kellogg)$156,990$102,99066%$111,782
10. Yale School of Mgt.$151,982$99,80070%$87,182
11. Carnegie Mellon $149,400$105,00081%$88,240
12. UCLA (Anderson)$147,278$97,85480%$85,744
13. Berkeley (Haas)$144,746$95,27468%$67,052
14. Cornell (Johnson)$142,404$98,54470%$87,182
15. Virginia (Darden)$142,000$99,00080%$110,160
16. Michigan (Ross)$141,210$107,60072%$107,228
17. Duke (Fuqua)$137,744$95,92081%NA
18. UNC (Kenan-Flagler)$136,860$93,17673%$87,924
19. Emory (Goizueta)$130,280$84,80085%$90,534
20. Texas-Austin (McCombs)$127,144$90,25675%$97,740

SOURCE: Schools

What can you deduce from the costs of these top MBA programs and the amount of financial aid for students arranged by their schools? The least expensive program is at the University of Texas at Austin. At a total cost of $127,144–more than $40,000 less than a Columbia MBA–it looks like a true bargain for a top degree. Then, add in the fact that the school is helping 75% of its MBAs with financial aid–versus Columbia’s 55%–and it seems as if it is a very smart investment, indeed.

The most expensive public university in the MBA game is surprisingly UCLA. Higher ranked B-schools at Berkeley, Michigan and Virginia are less expensive in total costs than the Anderson school in Los Angeles–largely because of the highest cost of living in L.A. than Berkeley, Ann Arbor, or Charlottesville.

The most generous school in terms of financial aid? MIT Sloan. The school puts together the largest average financial aid packages of the top schools: $130,418. That’s more than $15,000 more than Columbia and more than twice the size of Berkeley’s $67,052 (the lowest amount reported by any of our top 20 schools). Be aware, however, that financial aid is a rather vague phrase to describe a package of financial help. You don’t know how much of this money is merely a loan or a scholarship or fellowship.


Such fellowships–typically used to lure exceptional students or to help students on the basis of financial need–can significantly lower the price tag of an MBA. Harvard effectively discounts the sticker price of its MBA by paying out some $22 million a year in fellowship money. HBS says that nearly half of every MBA class receives an average of some $25,000 per year in “need-based” HBS Fellowships that are granted only on the basis of financial need and not academic merit. The school makes these awards based on an analysis of an applicant’s income for the prior three years as well as the applicant’s assets.

  • T Arup

    My GMAT score is 710. I am a B.Tech from India and have 4 years experience as Big Data Analyst . I am interested in full time MBA in USA. I can get about 50% of the Total MBA cost from my family . How do I manage the rest of the cost ?

  • Sarthak Parasher

    what’s the difference between total cost of program and two year tuition here?

  • HSW

    Silly comment. That’s a deliberate spelling. Gosh

  • Velocet 8

    Wait…you think that $30,000 is only enough to live in France for 10 months if you lived in trailers or tents??? I’m going to take a wild guess and say you’ve never been to France. You can live very well on $1500 per month as a student there, and even cheaper if you’re careful and make sacrifices. It is business school, there is no need for champagne and caviar every night…

  • Poor kid

    You really don’t think $3,000 / month is enough to live in France? Haha

  • JohnAByrne

    Harvard Business School is among the most generous business schools in the world. Each year the school provides $31.5 million in fellowship grants to its 1,800 MBA students. If you can get admitted to HBS, you stand a very good chance of receiving a fairly large financial aid package. We published an entire series of stories on scholarships at business schools, the most extensive reporting on the subject ever done, including advice on how to get one and how much money each school has. See our story on scholarships here:

  • Nzuvi

    Am interested in studying my MBA in Harvard on completing my degree here in Kenya but the charges are high.As a foreign student am I entitled for financial assistance?

  • Bastion

    Where do you work and what do you do??

  • klip

    If I give you 200K right now as opposed to doing an MBA in the top 10 US schools, which would mean more to you( Think objectively)? Use time value of money, a concept you can easily learn not only in the Top 10 US MBA but any good book of the library shelf.

    People say the true value of MBA is networking. Would you pay 200K for your networks? Really?

    If its knowledge your argument falls apart, because all you need is 10K to buy all the books used in the business school, even better enrol yourself in a phD program free of cost and learn for the next 5 years on leading research in management field of your choice.

    Outside of US, no one recognises the MBA the same way. So, if you are considering returning to Asia where the most of the growth is right now, your US MBA is not worth much. In fact any MBA is not worth much. And why should it?

    More and more students in Asia are becoming smarter and doing the MBA part time. Remember Satyan Nadella did his MBA part time. The advantage of part time MBA, is you prove you can multi task more efficiently than full time guys.

    My solution to those who are super desperate to be on the MBA bandwagon: 1) Do it part time 2) If you don’t land a top 10 US program , do an ultra cheap one (don’t settle for Europe MBAs or anything else)

    Looking forward to your comments….

  • jj

    You “no” how the system works..
    yep you certainly are an MBA graduate who can’t even spell KNOW properly.

  • Student Debt Monkey

    Check out studentdebtmonkey dot com, then don’t go to business school.

  • Macapa Creador

    All of this is business/politics… the most you pay, the most difficult to enter, the most “prestige” you get…

    Nothing to do with real abilities….

  • Jinhui Chen

    If you have a very high competitive application package in terms of work experience, GPA, GMAT and TOEFL-iBT scores as well as other soft skills, you might get a pretty good scholarship to cover the expenses. Otherwise, how could you persuade the admissions officers to give you an offer of admittance with scholarship?

  • ujiko

    paki stop being a troll

  • muhammadafzal

    dear now a day engineering management has a high scope in all over the world and specially germany and canada give a schelor ship for that and in my country pakistan nust millitary collage (EME) number 3rd in all over the world in that department

  • muhammadafzal

    brother i doing bs in electronic telecommunication engineering is there any scope in usa

  • Khin Nay Chi Htet

    I have completed BSc( physics) in Dagon university in Myanmar.How am I need to attend MBA in USA university? How much cost? I can’t afford many . Do you have schlorship progam? Please reply me . Thanks.

  • Souria Murthy

    i’m souria murthy from India. does any one know about the course master of engineering management(MEM)? i have a bachelors degree in production engg. and am i eligible to take that(MEM) course? pls suggest the universities for MEM

  • Matt

    could you live on 30K in france for 10 months? yes you could, it might be good to do some research about living costs there.

  • Go part-time to a school like UC Berkeley and MAKE money during your years there as the company pays and you continue to earn.

  • Matt

    You are an idiot. Before seeking an MBA, learn to write in proper English. If you cannot compete with the Indians, don’t blame them for your woes.

    I am an Indian and I work for a big tech company. By the way, my pay is ~150,000/annum without an MBA (that too with 7 years of experience and without an MBA).

  • Although I agree with some of your points and disagree with others, I want to make a comment about your statement “MBAs got rich off the Internet” for those reading the comment thread. The majority of people who work as Internet marketers or make money online know an MBA has very very little to do with it. In my opinion, as well as fellow entrepreneurs and investors, it is a waste of money and time. So if you want to appease mommy and daddy or “corporate America” go get that MBA baby. If you want to make money and learn how to navigate the Internet efficiently, get your hands dirty.

  • impossible. it is about 30k top per year. 

  • Nimper

    Can some body provide info on AID/LOAN/SCHOLARSHIPS facilities available for International Students. I am planning to take admission in one of US top business schools but I can arrange 50% of total cost. So needs financing for the rest.Thank you.

  • sp

    The numbers on here are bit old… is this going to be updated soon?

  • Rudrapatel3194

    hey I have completed my BBA and plannind for mba so can you guide me about the fees structure that how much fee i have to pay for 2 years …. and is that room fee compulsory ????????

  • Biagrostinagros

     Yes they do!

  • JohnAByrne

    The $51,200 is for a single year.

  • miltohbs

    is there some discrepancy or is it that i am mistaken??
    the havard website cost summary says tuition for class of 2013 is $51200 but in this article it is $97,200. has harvard increases tuition or that $51200 is for 1 year??

  • Mike

    John, I am aware of the general requirement for “real world” occupational experience prior to entering most, if not all, business schools. I was hoping that he could leave after graduation and “the NCAA eligibility clock” would stop until he returned. As Cobra pointed out, however, it apparently starts running on day one and doesn’t stop until your five year window is closed. I was not aware of that.
    I know it seems like desperate measures but when looking at a pre-aid bill of ~ 150k for two years of graduate school – well, I’m going to pull out all the stops!

  • Cobra Kai

    Something else to add: NCAA eligibility begins on the first day of class. You have five years to use four years of eligibility. So under your plan, your son would only have 3 years of eligibility left if he transferred to Harvard if he didn’t use any up at that Texas school.

    Something else to consider – elite Ivy league schools (I know Princeton for sure) do a great job of providing need-based aid. The worst thing is have him apply and see what type of aid is offered. Don’t rule it out from the get go because you think it’s too expensive.

  • Mike,

    Harvard Business School tends not to accept any candidates direct from their undergraduate experience. They pretty much require at least two years of work experience.

    If your son can get into Harvard University as an undergrad based on its football skills, he should go for it. Have him take out loans. I really believe a Harvard education is a priceless opportunity. It’s worth the hardship of having to take out a big loan.

  • Mike

    Here’s a curveball for you – my son is a standout football player and a great student. In order to save money I have considered having him attend a local university (we’re in Texas) for his first two years and then transfer into Harvard. I’m going to make an assumption here, that being Harvard would very much want him to play football for them and as such would help financially secure his attendance (no athletic “scholarships”, I know).
    Having four years of NCAA eligibility is it conceivable that Harvard would aid him throughout his junior/senior years and then through the MBA program as long as he continued to play football?
    Is this possible?

  • AidQuestion,

    It varies from program to program. Many schools will make an offer of financial aid along with the invite to enroll in a program. In any case, it’s often hard to do a head-to-head comparison because of the different ways that schools handle this. Good luck.

  • AidQuestion

    If trying to decide between offers, is there any way to compare aid packages available? So far it’s my understanding that you have to accept a place in a program before you can apply for financial aid. Is that right or am I missing something?

  • I agree with the comment by “how about schools with sane tuition and great placements??”

    There should be some information about affordable yet good programs. Brigham Young University as he points out, is a good example. Great info in this site anyway

  • It can be done,

    Many of the business schools offer an MBA in a single year and that helps to save considerable money. And if you have any interest in Asia, there are now quite a few very good schools in Asia. Check out our ranking of the best non-U.S. schools.

    Meantime, I would also look up The Consortium. See our story on The Consortium: Inside the $20 Million MBA Draft

    I believe that as a Native American you qualify for that program which is the largest single pot of MBA scholarship money available, outside of what individual schools are offering. Good luck.

  • It can be done

    My wife and I live on her salary ($79K) while I’m finishing up my second undergrad. We are socking away $2,000-$2,200/month. If you live very sparely, and choose carefully, it can be done. Our goal is to have no debt and $75K in the bank when I graduate in 2013. That will carry us far when I finally go to MBA/grad school – if I do. This discussion has given me great pause.
    Can anyone recommend any MBA schools in English-speaking non-U.S. countries that are an excellent value?
    Also, can anyone recommend any schools that have scholarships/fellowships/programs aimed at Native American students?
    Thank you.

  • Alex P.

    I agree with Sanjay. Bruce – it is nearly impossible to pay off the tuition in 3 yrs. Assuming you get a job (having an MBA does not guarantee employment), it’ll take 8-10 yrs of diligent, concentrated effort to pay it off. I have just discussed this very issue with a MIT alum who took 8 years at $1000 a month to pay it off. She has the “brand” and a handsome salary. Food for thought.

    I am a prospective MBA student and I am still trying to recover from the fees for the GMAT and the applications. Never mind the tuition. The day of reckoning has to be coming. All MBAs I speak to say the same thing, get a degree from a top five, maybe ten, school. I know what it means. What does it mean to you?!

  • Dan

    There are some peculiar and cynical views of the MBA on this page. The MBA’s value is not just in the education. I get the argument that learning by actually experiencing the field is best. Elite MBA’s offer experiental coursework, which is the major difference between the elite and average MBA programs. Additionally, elite MBA’s offer you the opportunity to learn from classmates that have been in the fields you want to pursue. Say you want to be an IB, well, a top MBA certianly has a number of them in your classes. Finally, regardless of the price, an MBA from an elite school is simply something I wanted to experience. If I had a bucket list, a elite academic experience would be on it. I would follow through with an elite MBA regardless of whether or not I was offered my dream job because the MBA itself is my dream education.

    Do not kid yourself into thinking an MBA from a run of the mill program offers the same opportunities or fulfillment. A top 25 MBA is one of the most valuable degrees you can have and it costs less than the top 50 JD, which is far more mind numbing and tedious.

  • neil

    the mba would hold less value if people actually took business courses in college or used their degree in their career fields. i didn’t get a master’s for two reasons: 1 i was lazy and 2 i don’t need it in my job. that’s not to say that the mba holds no value but for a lot of people who graduated with a ba in humanities and figured out that the can’t get a good paying job with their degree, they will pay for an edge to get a better job.

  • These are fees for all applicants and students. I don’t believe international students are charged extra admission fees.

  • greg

    Are these fees for American students only? Do the American universities charge extra admission fees for international students?

  • Iggi

    I don’t think it is correct to mix together scholarships and loans and on that ground to call MIT the most geneous school! Quite in contrary, it offers virtually no scholarships and only sporadic prof assistant opportunities.

  • There are 10 applications per seat!

    With that being the truth in top 15 to 20 schools of the world. The demand is still incredible. The only way to reduce it is by increasing the tuition cost to 3 times than what it is now! Because nothing is discouraging young folks to pursue this degree.

    The schools are very clever in avoiding a dramatic increase in tuition( it is quite high already) by increasing their intake and have tossed the student and faculty ratio( which is supposed to be 1:5 or 1:10 max when you are paying through the nose!). Now it is more like 1:100 or 1:350 or 1:850( some universities do have this kind of rooms!).

    I wonder can you really learn well not withstanding high reputation of schools with this kind of scenario. Can a student really concentrate on studies with burden of debt and bad economy and bleak future hovering around their head? I guess not! The applications suggest otherwise.
    It suggests there is a huge demand for MBA’s in the world. Every top school is flooded with so many applications for few seats!
    My theory and concern could be misplaced or even horribly wrong!

    I know no better than the guy who is doing it or the guy who wants to do it or the guy who dislikes doing it!
    So the tuition can only go up and never down for long time to come!

  • The inclination towards MBA wont stop!

    This is especially true for the american and some occidental countries where they dread doing tech work! They will have to compete with chinese and indians for low wages( hey indians will do it for free for green card. chinese have deeper foundation and they some how marry their own and stay put like back in the 90’s, but these days they can go back to HK or shangai and make par pay packages!

    So tech is left to indians, who will do the same work for 50k that stanford grad demands 150k! And not to mention the drudgery of the work( there is no signing,performance,overtime blah blah here! Stock options I don’t know, they will come when they come!).

    Hence, the bright guys are left with no options to go MBA schools which have less competition from indians and chinese due to high costs! And also in turn promise big salaries!

    So the rush for MBA will only rise further in usa, as all the tech work is basically left to indians these days!

    If you go and visit all the big companies with the exception of apple, you will wonder am I in usa or what? confirms my observation!

  • I pity the fools!

    it is really shocking. Especially for americans who are already in debt from their undergraduate days and on top of it if they pursue this degree it will basically like to double or treble their debt. On top of all this they will have to support themselves(rent,house,car,health).

    So either you are generating debt or paying debt for the majority of your adult life! seems like no fun at all! I don’t care you do it from harvard or haven!
    So who is happy here with this trap?

  • what a paradox!

    a) when you have at the average 15%acceptance rate at the top 15 schools, the tuition costs are not gonna come down, in-fact they are likely to go up.
    The day is not far away when one of these top schools will say you need 250k budget for the MBA(STAN HAS PUSHED IT TO 165-175K RANGE ALREADY).
    Also wharton will have their executive program charging close to 250-300k and others will follow soon!

    b) Now who are these folks competing hand over fist for these seats? Most of them are in their youth( the late 20’s to early 30’s folks). Oops.. I passed 35 couple of years ago! They are lured by the big money with all these salary, signing bonus,coming to office bonus,sihtting in office bonus, transport bonus and what not bonus and the lure of power and big money of wall street. These folks are drawn it to like a magnet and are determined to get there at all cost! So the cost of these high profile MBA continue to spin out of control!

    c) It is totally unclear, how many business jobs out there need mba( any expert made any survey from all the job boards). If you just take in to account 400 of listed accredited schools and calculate at the average of 150 candidates( half of them graduate every year=75) that is mind boggling 400*75 graduates alone seeking employment every year.
    If you put together all schools it is close to 200k graduates(domestic/inter) coming out of college every year! So the market should have around 15-20 bil cap to pay the fresh legs! That means 80-100 dollar per annum from every citizen in usa for the new MBAS!

    One one hand it seems quite plausible for a supermarket like usa.
    On the other hand the number looks insanely hight as we see people getting laid at the rate of half mil per month, since the crash!
    And I do not see 200k business job opening from any job site period.

    It is a paradox indeed!

  • Bruce Vann

    Dang, bruh. I hope I didn’t hit a nerve.


    You specifically said 500-1000 students in one classroom. I questioned this because it didn’t make sense. HBS is a huge school and doesn’t even have 1000 seats for a given class. Niether does Wharton. Stanford has like 350 or something small like that. You pulled the number out of your butt. That was my issue with that.
    I think it’s very possible for persons to pay off their debt in 2-3 years or they can drag it out for 7-8years like old boy did. Whatever. My point is that it can happen. You said that it can’t.

  • how about schools with sane tuition and great placements??

    Is quants and poets all about elite schools? Who is better? Who charges more?Which schools incurs you with more debt? which top school has better placement…… Hello.
    How about schools that are offering top quality education second to none at affordable costs? And have the placements are on par with these elite schools?
    Or something like that doesn’t exist in MBA’S from the Americas?

    Right now only IIM figures in the list( well they are in india where tuition is low I get it!).

    One such university, I came across is Brigham young in god forsaken land of UTAH( US ranked 32!) and placements seem cool! And you do not have to declare bankruptcy to get this god damn MBBBBBBBBBAAAAAAAA!

    May be nebraska, alaska and missouri have something to avoid this usury and the misery?

  • sanjay

    hi bruce,
    you don’t really need to have an mba to figure this out! I hold master degree from usa and no how the system works( meaning I have been in debt and also know, how much time it takes to right it off! Speaking of which it jacked up to average debt of harvard mba’s 75k-100k, thanks to recession period of 2000 to 2004, before the wheels started to change but the party dint last! Having leaved the first decade of 2000’s in debt, I lived the second decade prosperous with no debt, whatsoever! So I have been in similar situation and knowledgeable to air my thoughts! Oh long time ago, I also dint take up MBA! No problem getting seats for me in majority of the schools!).
    Ok, now
    1–regarding class room size, what I said is quite true. If you are thinking that
    the mba class room will have student to faculty ratio of 1:15 or even 1:10( which is what i am looking for intimate teaching experience, so that the teacher has full focus on a small team to dissect and bisect the contents) that is not gonna happen( I will quote few links from many sites).
    Most of the these so called top schools have no classroom but auditorium kind of set up for common courses( there is no way they are going to have 50 classrooms teaching core first year class in harvard/stand/whar, when they have 2000 to 1000 students). So basically in this kind of set up, you are only receiving knowledge and will not have time to decipher it completely due to lack of time in class of these sizes. Now having paid this kind of exorbitant fees, I will have problem with it.
    There is no way you will master the subject!

    2–It is not just elite schools, the fee is insanely high in most of the top schools( close to top 100) are averaging in 100k. Doesn’t matter whether the school is public or private. Now public schools who are run by govt funds charging this amount is preposterous indeed, when they are not charging similar amount for other top quality masters degrees from their own( university of california Berkley/Davis,Irvine to name a few!). That means, without going through this kind of debt there is no way, you are going to get top MBA.
    And the private schools are big culprits too, they get donation from people who are doing charities( these people are righting of taxes are they are truly benevolent?) And still the prices are high.
    Hence, I call it a GAME to make money right from the get go. You are pursuing this MBA for profit. It starts with a huge debt. And having been in debt you are in mood to settle down for normal salaries).
    On its own MBA is like any other quality degree( the cost is not justifying the means!). The cost, the ranking and what kind of money you are getting, when you come out… looks like a rigged game from the teachers to corporates!
    Why are schools not reducing the cost of tuition in tough times ( just like the employees salaries are cut during tough times? Does anyone bother to question that? On the contrary the rates are increasing towards north!)

    3- There is no way you will be able to pay off 100-200k debt in 2 to 3 years, that too in this economy by any stretch of imagination. If you want to write off 100k debt in 3 years, you will have to make monthly payment of around 3k. Not to mention other debts, you will incur other living expenses(rent/mort,health,car and what not to keep your prestige).
    And you won’t be getting stellar salary to that extent to pay it off! The guy who took 80k to graduate took nearly 7 to 8 years to pay it off, supports my observation.

    4– If you are saying that you are doing MBA mostly for a profit, from what I could sense from your reply than you are not getting the full picture.

    5– I am not saying MBA should be offered free for all even, from elite schools. What I am saying is it should be affordable just like other degrees both from public and private schools). And not based on reputation, ranking and cost. I don’t mind people getting block buster salaries coming out of mba!

    It is all between how employer values the employee and how you perform)

    6- Well, it looks like even MBA degrees are outsourced. For example an article here or on FT was that an mba aspirant got his mba from oxford rather than harvard due to costs( it is one year there and can get it done for 65k! A friend of mine went to singapore to get his mba rather than berkley.

    And now folks are moving to eastern europe/germany/some swiss universities and even india to scale back the costs associated with american elite and european schools).

    In a way it is sad, I like american education system having been there and done that and what it takes to get it done ( I graduated from not the elite school but with elite teachers. And I could demand 6 fig in toughest times based on how i learnt and used it rather than were i went to and how much I spent in getting it done!).

    So put it simply this enormous baggage is turning away deserved candidates to other pastures and who is losing in these tough times?

    And there is no relief in sight!

    z) hey by the way getting phd seat is not that hard( top schools have more phds in their curriculum than masters! Har/cmu/berk/stan… The students are hiding in phd programs!

    Thanks for reading. I am not all 100% right! But you can tell I have agendas!

  • Bruce Vann

    @The tuition fees are preposterous to say the least!,

    I respectfully disagree with the general point that you made. The ROI on an MBA, even from an non-elite school, is generally pretty high. Also, for a lot of MBA’s the payback period (the time it takes the degree to pay for itself) is 2-3 years after graduation. So that’s roughly 4-5years from the time the person matriculates. A phd candidate is really lucky if they can get the degree after 5 years and if they were one of the fortunate ones to not have to pay then that’s great but now they’re 30 before they have put anything toward retirement.

    I do agree that tuition is ridiculous but you assume that every MBA pays sticker when really some get scholarships of varying sizes.

    “Can anybody tell me what is the point in sitting in a class room with 500 to 1000 people in an amphitheatre? There is no room for catechism! Can you really learn anything at all? Is this enormous tuition fee justified?”

    What in the world are you talking about? What business school does this? Find one.

    “the aero-plane was not invented by MBA’s hello. Nor the rocket or the internet!”

    Yes, but many MBA’s got rich off of the internet and “aero-plane.”

    “I have more respect for people who built the brooklyn bridge, the transatlantic railway,the golden gate bridge who are the real icons of america, which made the country to look up to in the eyes of the world.
    Not the MBA’s.”

    That’s great. I have more respect for the people who made a profit for those things. Everyone’s different.

    “Right now these preposterous cost MBA’S are only fit for wall street! And not for people who want to master business and its administration!” How do you know whether either of these two statements are true if you don’t have an MBA?

  • The hype and hoopla around MBA degrees is ridiculous! This number game is started right at the top( i am bigger and better than others). Do we hear other degrees doing that? MBA is not the biggest ticket in town! Come to think of it. Software degree is the biggest dog! The starting salaries are on par with mba salaries if you take in to account the low tution cost compared to MBA. And it doesn’t have to be top 10!

    Not just software, any engineering degree, the starting salary for a phd grad is 6 figures; come from any school! And most of the phd degrees are free and if you start right on time at 22 you will be ready and ruling the world by 27 -28 with no debt!
    An MBA degree on its own is nice to have but it is not the “IT” ticket considering the debt disclaimer that comes with it!

    The tuition fee is totally unjustified when the same schools have master and phd degrees which don’t even costs 1/4 of MBA fee!

    And MBA degree doesn’t have investment associated like engineering programs, which need labs and hence, more investment compared to MBA, which can be done in one room, come to think of it rather than 10 plus buidlings! The lap top is a joke! this paradox looks inexplicable to me and no amount of convincing can mitigate doubts of we engineers!

    Can anybody tell me what is the point in sitting in a class room with 500 to 1000 people in an amphitheatre? There is no room for catechism! Can you really learn anything at all? Is this enormous tuition fee justified?

    If I paid 6 figure tuition, I demand one to one professor for each and every subject! If they can assure that and the salary must be minimum half million dollars straight of the bat than hell yeah, I would pay this money to get it done!

    Not when you are trapped in a debt prison during the prime of your life! I smell a (rat/racket/junta).

    There has been no effort by any of these top dogs to reduce the tuition fees, they continue to be insane even in this decade of terrible economy!

    I will take an engineering degree any day than MBA.

    the aero-plane was not invented by MBA’s hello. Nor the rocket or the internet!

    The wall street crisis that happens time and again, definitely caused by some of these MBA folks for sure!

    It looks like MBA is only for the rich and famous who have some head to do well in GMAT and throw money around!

    I have more respect for people who built the brooklyn bridge, the transatlantic railway,the golden gate bridge who are the real icons of america, which made the country to look up to in the eyes of the world.
    Not the MBA’s.

    Right now these preposterous cost MBA’S are only fit for wall street! And not for people who want to master business and its administration!

    The MBA is a corporate cahoot!

  • Saleem

    Can some body provide info on AID/LOAN/SCHOLARSHIPS facilities available for International Students. I am planning to take admission in one of US top business schools but I can arrange 75% of total cost. So needs financing for the rest.

    Thank you.

  • Sven

    For a Belgian who paid a total of 500 euros for his Master studies at one of the finest Universities on the European continent, these numbers remain mind-boggling… I sometimes really wonder why it is necessary to pay these huge amounts of money to receive a good education. Universities used to be a place where scholars and student gathered, seeking and sharing knowledge which ultimately contributed to society as a whole.
    MBA schools however, seem to attract people trying to make a quick buck, jump on the corporate ladder or perhaps, I must admit, seek to launch their own company or find a new purpose in life.
    The friendships and networks you find at B-schools are priceless, so is this knowledge you gain from excellent professors and a well-researched and practical curriculum. But is it really necessary to set the financial bar this high in order to receive these things?
    Having said that, I’m also thinking of obtaining an MBA degree one day, and finding the right balance between tuition and quality is of the utmost importance. So thank you very much for this site, keep up the amazing work!

  • TeeREVOR

    This is why it is nice to be married 🙂 My wife’s salary will go a long way to offsetting the future debts of B School.

    My brother got his JD from a top 50 school and could only afford to make interest payments for the first year and half. He loves what he does and just got a 20% raise but after 3 years of work still has around $175k in debt. Granted, his school was in a prime party spot and law school can be like an extension of undergrad.

  • I also second what Tarik asked about what these numbers represent — because if they suggest that I’d have to finance an extra $70k out of pocket to go to say, Tuck, even after scholarship/fellowship aid and loans are factored in, that’s an application that doesn’t need to happen. Yale, too. O_O

  • This article leaves me with my hands on my knees wheezing for air. Costs are out of control.

  • CJ


    It looks like the Columbia students who did receive aid were given an amount in line with the other top schools.

    As for the 55% figure itself, I’m not sure. It’s Columbia, so maybe Daddy is covering the balance for our future financial leaders. 🙂

  • tarik

    so help me undestand.. the difference betweeen the total cost and the loan amount is provided from the students’ pockets??

    so for example in the case of Columbia, about $53k is covered from the student’s personal savings?

  • Joe

    The vast majority of Booth students live downtown in the Loop area, as opposed to Hyde Park (we have another campus on the Mag Mile for part-time students, but full-timers use it as their unofficial library and group meeting spot). Rents in the Loop are significantly higher than in Evanston, and the social life revolves mostly around events downtown and in Lincoln Park, as opposed to the (semi)-college prices you find in Evanston. I’m a current 2nd-year Booth student.

  • John,

    In the table, Kellogg’s tuition is actually higher than Booth’s, yet the overall estimated cost at Chicago is quite a bit higher than Northwestern. I would imagine the cost of living for both schools to be fairly similar…if anything Evanston is a more expensive neighborhood than Hyde Park. What’s the reason for the discrepancy? Does Chicago charge additional “fees”?

  • Thanks Rishona.

  • Excellent article. Thank you for pointing out that many times the school’s estimates in the cost of living area are very low (I find even “modest” to be misleading). After finishing my undergraduate degree (which I earned as a non-traditional student), I looked at both MBA programs and Law Schools. Both left me utterly speechless in regards to the tuition that they were charging vs. the cost of other graduate school programs. I made the choice to pursue an MBA at a non top-tier (but still AACSB accredited) program. The amount I am paying is less than 1/10th the price of Columbia. It is up for debate if a “name brand” MBA is worth 10 times the value of my state school MBA.

    I feel that higher education, especially graduate school, can be a tough buy to make from a consumer perspective. It is hard to determine if you are getting what you pay for. I think that increased transparency and more unbiased, third-party reviews (in addition to rankings) could help countless MBA prospects make the decision as to where they should spend their money.

  • Very good consolidated information.

  • Bruce Vann

    Does anyone know anything about Pre MBA internships?

  • Lance Miller

    UT may give you a good degree for less money but it pales in comparison (prestige/rep) to most other schools on the list sans Michigan, UNC and UCLA.

    If you want to work in Texas then UT is great because Texas firms think it is equal to Harvard and better than Duke and Emory. If you leave Texas and the south…good luck

  • Miguel,

    That’s certainly true. The market doesn’t seem to discriminate against one year MBAs but instead rewards them with the same starting salaries. As the table shows, the big winners were all schools with one year degrees.

  • That is where the beauty of a one year program comes to scene. 🙂

  • Trever,

    It’s the amount of financial aid–loans and scholarship money combined–arranged for each student by the school.

  • Trevor

    What dose the column “Amount of Aid” mean? I heard that Harvard (and Wharton somewhat) masks their costs through a lower tuition but much higher “fees” than many others?