Katie Schenk - December 05, 2017
As we’ve seen before, the Cost of Attendance (CoA) is critical for international students. It includes tuition, fees, books, medical insurance, and everything you need to live during your studies - and you'll need to prove you can cover these costs to secure a visa.
(And, if you haven’t taken a moment to read about the variations between school calculations, visa complications, and financing options, you should probably do so now.)
Although universities publish CoA figures – even if it’s just tuition and the lowest possible amount they believe a student can survive with – it can be tough to compare apples to apples.
Costs are given in local currencies – pounds, euros, rupees, yuan, and dollars (that includes American, Canadian, Australian dollars as well as Hong Kong and Singapore dollars). That alone is enough to set your head spinning – and it gets more complicated when you try to work out your return on investment (ROI).
You’ll find salary statistics are often published as American dollars.
Even if you consider only European schools – and only those that charge in euros, you’ll still need to convert the amounts to dollars to estimate your ROI.
If you’re bringing euros or dollars to the table, it’s doable, but when you factor in a third home currency, you’re in for some serious head scratching. (Usually, you’ll find way more zeros than you want to see.)
Calculating ROI demands that you consider the cost of attendance + opportunity costs (including the duration of your studies) + loan interest (less any monies saved or awarded as scholarships) and weigh that against earning potential.
Of course, you don’t know your earning potential when applying to various schools.
The median reported salaries (whatever currency they’re reported in) don’t mean a lot. You could be on the low end of the salary scale now, which likely puts you on the lower end of the salary scale post-MBA – but location changes, internship experience, and career switching all play a role.
Absolutely. But, you still need to work out that ROI before you decide an MBA (and which MBA) is right for you. (Though, just to throw a little spanner into that, it’s worth noting that MBA experiences offer a lot more than simply monetary rewards.)
So, how much do MBA programmes really cost?
We’ve taken figures reported by universities – and converted them to US dollars and accounted for study duration so it’s possible to compare the top 50 apples. It’s worth noting, however, that we’ve only doubled the first year CoA for two-year US programmes, so there will be some variation.
Then, we’ve taken a look at the weighted three-year salary for each university, as reported by the 2017 FT World MBA Rankings – as well as their income increase percentage (so you can attempt to work out your future salary range based on your current one).
In the end, most of the figures are estimates only, but they’re a great jumping off point for calculating your ROI – and for piecing together your starting budget.
And, when listed in order of least to most expensive MBA programmes (as we’ve done at the very bottom), you may find yourself considering a few schools that may not have crossed your mind previously.
We've got the data below, and a ROI calculator to make it even easier for you.
US MBA programmes
5: University of Cambridge: Judge
Cambridge, United Kingdom
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