Stanford Breaks Record On MBA Cost

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by John A. Byrne on

This year’s second most expensive MBA is from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Stern estimates the cost of its two-year program to be $184,532, thanks in part to its annual estimate of the cost of room and board of $24,472. That is the highest estimate for housing and food by any business school, though anyone who has lived in New York would tell you it is inpossible to feed yourself and live in a studio apartment for that sum.

For its part, Cornell’s Johnson School notes that its estimate for housing and food is based on “sharing a moderately priced apartment” that would cost $800 a month and putting aside $450 monthly for food. That is at least possible in Ithaca, New York.

Interestingly enough, while the annual tuition rates range from a high of $62,034 at Wharton to a low of $52,900 at Duke University’s Fuqua School, there is far greater variety in the estimates of additional costs. Dartmouth College’s Tuck School figures that it costs only $12,643 for a year’s worth of room and board on-campus. But Wharton estimates that the annual cost for room and board in Philadelphia is considerably higher, $20,644.


The most expensive books and supplies are estimated by Harvard Business School which largely teaches by case study method. Harvard says the yearly cost to an MBA student for those case studies and other course materials is a sky high $6,690. Columbia Business School, in comparison, estimates books and supplies to be a mere $900 a year. More typically, top schools estimate that the cost of an annual supply of books and course materials are about $2,000. Chicago Booth figures MBA students pay about $2,100 a year, while UC-Berkeley Haas says its MBA candidates are shelling out $2,500 a year.

Most of the best international schools are far cheaper than their U.S. counterparts. London Business School now says the cost of its MBA program, including housing and personal expenses, is $111,549–some $92,288 in total tuition and fees and the rest for food, accommodation, books, school trips, and travel home. INSEAD’s ten-month MBA program in Fontainebleau, France, costs an estimated $107,449.


Of course, Stanford has one offsetting fact to offer MBA applicants besides the palm trees and mild weather of Northern California. The median total compensation for a freshly minted MBA from Stanford this year was $185,000. So at least there’s plenty of cash to quickly pay down those student loans.

What It Costs To Get An MBA Degree From A Top School

School Estimated Cost of MBA Annual Tuition Annual Food & Housing Annual Books & Supplies
Stanford $185,052 $57,300 $23,391* $2,184
New York (Stern) $184,532 $56,554 $24,472 $1,960
UPenn (Wharton) $180,764 $62,034 $20,644 $2,000
Columbia $179,941 $58,384 $20,700 $900
MIT (Sloan) $177,898 $58,200 $18,757 $2,046
Chicago (Booth) $177,366 $56,000 $18,900 $2,100
Harvard $174,400 $53,500 $23,912* $6,690
Dartmouth (Tuck) $174,350 $56,160 $12,643 $1,200
Northwestern (Kellogg) $168,908 $56,550 $15,711 $1,647
Virginia (Darden) $163,666 $53,900 $13,230 $3,000
UC-Berkeley (Haas) $159,634 $53,969 $16,602 $2,500
Carnegie (Tepper) $157,932 $54,800 $14,612 $1,236
UNC (Kenan-Flagler) $157,048 $53,992 $15,364 $2,400
UCLA (Anderson) $156,084 $54,530 $14,172 $2,400
Cornell (Johnson) $150,612 $53,796 $12,500 $1,100
Duke (Fuqua) $150,202 $52,900 $11,916 $1,250
Michigan (Ross) $147,808 $55,194 $12,852 $1,716
Texas (McCombs) $137,672 $48,832 $16,500 $1,504
Emory (Goizueta) $134,804 $44,600 $18,128 $2,000

Sources: Business school websites

Notes: Non-resident tuition and fees used for public universities. * Includes personal expenses for a moderate lifestyle.


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Air Time - Comments
  • TA


    How would you value return on investment for international students going to the top 10 schools in USA versus going to a london business school or rotman school of management solely based on ease of getting work permits and green cards (once you havea job ) and not getting kicked out of the country based on a silly visa lottery system

  • Alex Chu

    Agreed – regardless of b-school, applicants should count on their real expenses to be 10-20% higher than what the school estimates.

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