I’m In — Now How Do I Pay For Business School?

studyLike every other admit in recent B-school history, I have begun to seriously fret about my finances and wonder how on earth I plan to PAY for my MBA (it doesn’t help that this is the third question everyoneasks me after I tell them I got in, right after “So does that mean you are moving to New York?” and “Is your boyfriend moving there..what is the deal there?”).

Of course, this has been on my radar for months but I have to get more serious and organized on how this whole process is going to shake out.  So today, I set out to write a well researched post dedicated to all the ins and outs of financing an MBA only to realize that there is SO much information it will take numerous posts.  Therefore, this will be the first in a series of posts called “I Am In…Now How Do I Pay for It?”

Never mind when you include your opportunity cost (aka your lost wages) – the actual cost is just as monumental.  Let’s take Columbia, for instance.  Their most recently published one-year budget is a massive $93,288.  Multiply that by two years and you get an actual (and likely minimum) cost of $186,576.  I say that this is likely the minimum because it doesn’t include things like study tours, other travel, club events and networking events that top-MBA programs are known for.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s say the actual cost of someone living a very modest student life-style is going to hover just around $190k – give or take $5-10k.  That is more than double most incoming student’s actual one-year salary, higher than 150% of the average first year salary they can expect coming out of a top ranked program and greater than a lot of peoples first homes!  In short, it is the single largest investment most admits have ever made.  Just ginourmous (only a real word on Urban Dictionary – do not use in essays!).

The Options

As I see it, there are seven sources of funding an MBA:

  1. Loans
  2. Savings
  3. Program sponsored fellowships/grants
  4. Outside scholarships
  5. Employer reimbursement
  6. Summer internships
  7. Other internships/part time work

All of these options and additional information will be covered in the upcoming posts in this series.  I hope my research will help me and others like me who are losing sleep over how to pay for an MBA and make it seem not so terrible.

MBAGirlJourney offers the perspective of a highly thoughtful young professional woman who hopes to land a seat at a top ten MBA program for the Class of 2016. She has two goals: to gain acceptance to at least two of the top ten business schools and to finance her MBA without taking on heavy debt. She blogs at MBAGirlJourney. Previous posts on Poets&Quants:

My Goal: To Get Into Two of the Top Ten MBA Programs
How To Finance Your MBA Degree In A Responsible Way
Handicapping My Own Chances of Admission to Harvard, Wharton, Chicago Booth, et al
An Ideal Routine For Your GMAT Test Day
Narrowing Down & Strategizing My Target Business Schools
The Real Cost of An MBA: $345K — So Is It Really Worth It?
Making Progress On Those Round One Applications
Glad Those Round One Applications Are Over & Done
An Acceptance From Columbia Business School

  • Karel Koes Hiranjgarbh Missier

    am awaiting your posts, i am curious to see how you are doing, Karel Koes Hiranjgarbh Missier ParaghI

  • Guest

    Your analysis “without MBA” in the screenshot is quite alarming. People move much higher than that up the salary chain with promotions without an MBA. I moved from your year two area to your year nine area in four years through career progression and a change in employers. I don’t know what field you’re in now, but you’re doing something wrong or at the wrong company if that’s your salary progression.

  • GJB

    I paid for my entire second year by working as a Teaching Assistant. Between the tuition reimbursement (2/3 of tuition was forgiven) and a monthly stipend of $1,700. It was probably the best paid I have ever been on a per hour basis, given that it took about 10-12 hours per week.

  • Patrick Sims

    Looking forward to your posts!