Why $150k MBA tuition fees are barely half of what you’ll need

Tuition fees for top MBA progams in the USA range from around 110 – 155k USD. This is a huge amount of money for the majority of people. For most young people, it can be like taking out a mortgage before even owning a house. #mba #maestria #posgrado

Is the investment worth it? The answer depends on many factors. For example, your industry, desired career path, and country. Only you can really decide.

Regardless, if you are accepted to a top-ranked school, expect to pay at least $100k USD just for your tuition fees. Some people will get scholarships to help towards tuition. But, don’t forget the other costs that will all add to the bill.

Here I will share some vital tips for prospective MBA candidates on what costs to expect. The same can apply for MSc and LLM prospects.

Other Important Costs

On top of your tuition fees expect to pay the following: rent / board, health insurance, course fees, social expenses and travel fees.
If you are attending one of the big New York or Boston schools, some numbers to estimate would be as follows. Rent / Board 12 – 15k p.a. Health insurance 2 – 3k p.a. Course fees (for other courses outside) 2 – 3k p.a. Before even adding in social expenses and travel fees, you can see the costs piling up.

To Spend or Not to Spend?

Last week, I had an interesting conversation with an ex admissions coachee. They are currently on the MIT MBA. Clearly, they are loving life and enjoying the unique opportunities the program offers. I have noticed their pictures of MBA activities all around the world.

MIT offers great opportunities for traveling the globe. Projects are internationally focused and pushing your bounderies is encouraged. Schedules are flexible to allow students freedom to explore other areas of interest. These can be within MIT or outside with other organizations.

Talking with my ex client, something interesting came up. Their goal after graduation is to open their own business. This will of course need money. Taking advantage of the opportunities MIT has is burning these potential funds.

Again, whether spending this money now or later is best is not my decision. It is a personal choice. But, as an admissions coach, one thing is important to me. Making sure people are aware of what they are getting into.

Making it Through Your Time Abroad

When you invest in a one or two year program, be aware of what you will need to get through that. Take notice of what funding you can get and how you will manage expenses. Also remember you will need to live post-MBA.

ONE: Peer Pressure

Top-tier schools attract students from all socio-economic backgrounds. Many students will often come from wealthy backgrounds. There can be social pressure applied to maintain a place in some circles.

It is not uncommon for some students to feel left out of some activities due to lack of financial resources. Be realistic about what you can afford and try not to bow to this pressure.

TWO: Funding for Foreigners

It is best to sort most of your funding and spending money at home. Studying in the USA or UK does not open up many opportunities for loans. Banks rarely want to lend foreign students money. For instance, in the USA you will find $100 USD is as much of a credit limit as you’ll get.

If you know you will need spending money, speak to family before you go. Do your planning and if you need to borrow from banks, arrange this early.

THREE: Budget for The Best Bits

If you are not able to afford everything, be selective. Many exciting opportunities can open up during an MBA. Trips to Europe and Asia, outings to conferences and competitions, and visits to sports events.

It would be a shame to miss all of these opportunities. Equally, paying for all would be hard for most people. Choose carefully where to invest your money. Save for the things that you really want to be part of.

FOUR: Exchange Rates Can Bite

Currency is volatile. The Dollar, Stirling and Euro are currently very expensive against emerging market currencies. Wild swings in value are always a possibility.

A couple of years ago, a friend was doing a MBA at an Ivy League school. Their second installment fell just after the US election that Donald Trump won. The Mexican Peso collapsed from 18.5 to 23.5 overnight. His fees became 25% more expensive in an instant.

Be sure to plan for these possibilities. They can happen!

FIVE: Know What Things Cost

If you have not travelled abroad much, you may not be aware of how much certain things cost. For example, in countries like the USA and the UK, travel is far more expensive than most countries. Owning a car is unrealistic for most students.

Living expenses like rent can be really high. Even basic food provisions can cost much more than people are used to. The important thing is to do research before you go.

How to Make The Most of It

This post is by no means an attempt to put people off study abroad. It is merely to open people’s eyes to the reality of financing your studies.

The tuition fees are one part, but add everything else in, it is going to be a lot more expensive.

How much you choose to spend is up to you. But, I recommend you include in your budget enough money to do more than just the basics. Grasp opportunities that exist and make the most of your time abroad. The experience will often be a once in a lifetime one.


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