Cost Of An Elite MBA Now Exceeds $200K

Most of the estimates published by business schools are for a “moderate lifestyle.” Columbia Business School estimates an MBA’s total food costs in New York City to be about $650 a month. The University of Chicago’s Booth School pegs the monthly food bill at $600. But a high-living student could blow through that in a single week. In fact, the social costs of going to an elite MBA program are often considerable, involving expensive dinners and nights out with classmates to long-weekends traveling across country and abroad.

Even necessities, such as student health insurance, can vary significantly. Stanford imposes a required $4,296 a year charge for medical coverage. At Harvard, the cost for health insurance is $2,366 a year. Estimates of living expenses—even in the same city—also can vary. NYU Stern says the annual room and board cost of an MBA is $25,986—more than $5,000 more than the estimate published by Columbia Business School.

Only one top 25 business school held the line on tuition: The University of Texas. The annual $48,832 out-of-state tuition is exactly the same as it was two years ago.

The Rising Cost Of Getting An Elite MBA Degree


SchoolTotal Cost2012 CostIncrease2014 Tuition2012 TuitionChange
  1.  New York (Stern)$203,876$184,53210.5%$121,488$113,1087.4%
  2. Stanford GSB$202,870$185,0529.6%$123,750$114,6008.0%
  3. Pennsylvania (Wharton)$195,084$180,7647.9%$136,420$124,06810.0%
  4. Columbia Business School$192,936$179,9417.2%$126,296$116,7688.2%
  5. MIT (Sloan)$192,028$177,8987.9%$127,500$116,4009.5%
  6. Harvard Business School$190,200$174,4009.1%$117,750$107,00010.0%
  7. Chicago (Booth)$189,866$177,8987.0%$123,040$116,7685.4%
  8. Dartmouth (Tuck)$187,100$174,3507.3%$123,210$112,3209.7%
  9. Northwestern (Kellogg)$177,614$168,9085.2%$123,192$113,1008.9%
10. Yale SOM$171,750NANA$117,950NANA
11. Virginia (Darden)$170,722$163,6664.3%$115,900$107,8007.5%
12. Duke (Fuqua)$169,982$150,20213.2%$116,000$105,8009.6%
13. UCLA (Anderson)$167,610$156,0847.4%$106,296NANA
14. Georgetown (McDonough)$167,020NANA$110,316NANA
15. UC-Berkeley (Haas)$165,524$159,6343.7%$114,440$107,9386.0%
16. UNC (Kenan-Flagler)$164,860$157,0485.0%$115,020$107,9846.5%
17. Cornell (Johnson)$163,784$150,6128.7%$116,384$107,5928.2%
18. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)$160,008$157,9321.3%$116,600$109,6006.4%
19. Michigan (Ross)$159,100$147,8087.6%$119,556$110,3888.3%
20. Washington (Olin)$152,136NANA$103,000NANA
21. Vanderbilt (Owen)$150,590NANA$95,900NANA
22. Washington (Foster)$146,772NANA$88,350NANA
23. Emory (Goizueta)$144,256$134,8047.0%$96,200$89,2007.8%
24. Indiana (Kelley)$142,158NANA$51,000NANA
25. Texas-Austin (McCombs)$140,064$137,6721.7%$97.664$97,664——-

Source: Poets&Quants analysis from business school websites

Notes: All costs and tuition numbers are for non-residents


  • Blakjedi

    This makes the cost of going booth emba look absolutely civil. While the Chicago campus cost is 170K, the London and HK costs are more reasonable. London at 99000 pounds is equivalent to 142K at today’s exchange rate. Meanwhile HK Converted rate from 1.25M HKD is roughly 161K USD. An absolute steal.

  • Shubham

    @john Are these costs for international students? Are they the worst case scenario? Also, an international student is considered in state or out of state?

  • granimal

    Indiana is the same. I suspect you’ll find all the “public” schools are this way.

  • ReynoldsJ

    And the first thing these graduates want is their student loans to be forgiven…

  • Matt

    Gotta pay to play!

  • brandon

    The average increase for the chart is 6.7% over 2 years, which is about 3.3% year over year. That’s is almost twice of what inflation is at right now (1.7%). Colleges are robbing students blind. The student debt bubble is bound to burst.

  • Due diligence

    Darden & UCLA are both “private” – meaning they don’t receive state funding and the main driver behind the rising tuition costs for these two schools.

  • WTF

    John, great article. Thanks!

    I’m not sure how Tuck came up with the final number, but let’s say that a regular student spend ~100 days out of campus (internships, treks, etc.). Then it leaves us with 265 days. $1,575/265=~$5.9 per day for food. I’m sorry, but I highly doubt this figure. Not to mention that the less time one spends out of campus the lower the daily number gets.

    Or maybe Tuck has not changed its average annual food expanses sine it was founded in 1900?