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