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What is the cost for studying MBA in the USA and how to manage it?

When it comes to international MBA destinations, the United States is easily the top one. With its range of top B-schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Yale, etc., it is a dream come true for many to be a part of these MBA programs! More than 50 of the top 100 MBA programs are from the US, and there is a good reason for this huge number.

The MBA degree comes in many shapes and sizes. Some B-schools may offer you a one-year full time course while others will only provide a 2 year course. There are also part-time and executive level MBA programs available.

Of course, the cost for studying these various degrees is not the same. And apart from the tuition fee, there are other expenditures to consider for you as well. In this article we will discuss the fee structures of the different top MBA programs in the USA, the various other costs to consider, and how to manage them!

Tuition Fee for MBA in USA

The tuition fee is the largest segment of your MBA cost. Here are the average tuition fees charged by some of the top B-schools in the USA.

Program Name Duration Basic Tuition (Approx.)
Stanford University MBA 2 years $73,000/year
Harvard University MBA,
2+2 MBA
2 years $73,400/year
University of Pennsylvania – Wharton, MBA 20 months $81,400/first year
University of Chicago –Booth, Full Time MBA 2 years $72,000/9 months
University of Chicago –Booth, Evening/Weekend MBA 2.5 – 3 years $7,200/course
Courses required to complete degree: 20 plus LEAD
MIT – Sloan, MBA 2 years $77,200
Columbia University, MBA 2 years $77,400/year
University of California – Berkeley Haas, MBA 2 years $64,700/year
Yale School of Management, MBA 2 years $72,400/year
Northwestern University – Kellogg, Two Year MBA 2 years $73,400/year
Northwestern University – Kellogg, One Year MBA 1 year $101,300
Dartmouth College – Tuck, MBA 2 years $75,100/year

If an executive MBA degree is what you are aiming for, then here are the stats for the same –

Program Name Duration Tuition
Wharton, EMBA 2 years $210,900 full
University of Chicago –Booth, EMBA 21 months $194,000 full
MIT EMBA 20 months $178,300 full
Columbia University, EMBA 2 years $208,700 full
University of California – Berkeley Haas, EMBA 19 months $194,000 full
Yale School of Management, EMBA 2 years $187,500 full
Northwestern University – Kellogg, EMBA 2 years $213,500 full

At a glance, these numbers may seem quite large; but, what you need to really consider is the ROI! Some of the factors that you should keep in mind are the time taken for MBA students from each individual institution to pay back their study costs; the average salary enjoyed by MBA grads from each institution; the average salary increment, etc.

It’s most likely that the American MBA is a longer-term financial investment than other courses in different countries. However, the financial rewards are correspondingly greater, both in terms of the average salary that one might be able to expect to earn, and the overall long-term ROI.

Living Cost

Living in the USA for an international student means calculating your expenditure beforehand! A common mistake that many applicants make is that they only consider the tuition fee as their MBA expenditure. Whereas, there are plenty of other costs to consider.

Here is a quick breakdown of the same:

Per month New York City (NY) San Francisco (CA) Houston (TX) Chicago (IL) Seattle (WA)
Food $480 $410 $270 $350 $400
Rent for one BHK $2,000 – $3,200 $2,800-$3,400 $950-$1,400 $1,200-$1,800 $1,600-$2,000
Household Cost $1,200 $1,200 $800 $980 $1,100

Depending on the city you choose to live in, the average costs will widely differ. So, when you are planning the MBA cost for study in the USA, you need to ensure that you choose the right city and thereby the right MBA program.

How to manage costs?

The good news is that there are plenty of scholarships available to fund your MBA program in the USA. The general rule is that the better the ranking of a school, the higher its scholarship amount is likely to be.

A B-school such as Princeton provides need-based aid at an average of $53,100 (INR 37.9 lakh) per student. If you are an international applicant to the University of Pennsylvania you can tap into a repository of aid worth $9 million. The average grant provided by Harvard is $60,000+ per student.
The list goes on and on!

So, if you manage to bag one of the scholarships at your dream B-school you can consider that a large part of your tuition fee will be paid off! Here is a look at the scholarship amounts of some of the top B-schools in the world:

School Total Scholarships Average Grant % of MBAs on Scholarship
Harvard Business School $31.5 million $32,000 50%
Wharton $16.9 million $30,500 33%
Chicago (Booth) $16.3 million $30,000 60%
Stanford GSB $15.7 million $35,830 52%
Michigan (Ross) $15.4 million $22,360 48%
New York (Stern) $12.8 million $26,400 62%
UCLA (Anderson) $12.1 million $25,860 65%
Northwestern (Kellogg) $11.8 million $22,800 35%
Columbia Business School $10.1 million $20,500 46%
Virginia (Darden) $8.4 million $30,800 43%
MIT (Sloan) $8.1 million $28,220 35%
Duke (Fuqua) $7.1 million $20,950 33%
Rice (Jones) $6.7 million $33,320 94%
Yale School of Management $6.2 million $23,028 31%
UC-Berkeley (Haas) $5.8 million $29,060 50%
Cornell (Johnson) $5.7 million $12,000 33%
Dartmouth (Tuck) $5.4 million $27,550 35%
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) $5.3 million $21,853 57%
Emory Business School(Goizueta) $5.0 million $24,905 57%
Georgetown (McDonough) $3.3 million $30,000 27%


There are also community-focused scholarships from many Universities that you should consider applying for. One of the popular ones is The American University Emerging Global Leader Scholarship (AU EGL), offered by the American University (Washington DC) to undergraduate students who are active in social and civic activities. While it is offered in any field of undergraduate study, it is aimed at students who seek to work with under-served communities in their home country. And as long as you maintain your grades the scholarships can be renewed annually. For an Indian student contemplating overseas MBA, this is a perfect opportunity!

What you need to remember is that each university has different aid and scholarship requirements and offerings. So, once you are done with shortlisting your target B-schools, start finding out about all the different forms of financial aid they provide.

The college-sponsored grants and aid opportunities are not your only financial option. There are a number of outside institutions (both within India and other respective countries) that sponsor students who wish to study abroad. Once again, these scholarships are based on either merit or need, or both. For example, The Tata Education and Development Trust has endowed Cornell University with $25 million (INR 178,48,87,500) to financially aid meritorious underprivileged Indian students. There are a total of 20 scholarships offered. You can also apply for the TOEFL Scholarship which offers 15 merit-based scholarships ($7000 each—about INR 4.7 lakh) for academic expenses of undergraduate students at any of the universities listed in the TOEFL destinations directory.

Cracking a top-tier MBA in the USA is one of the best steps you can take in your career. And if you know the fee structure beforehand then financing your MBA degree anywhere in the world will not be an issue at all!

Here is a video to help you understand how you can get top-tier MBA scholarships to help fund your tuition fee –

MBA Scholarship Abroad- Tips from Jatin Bhandari who generated 100 crores+ of scholarships

Related Resources:

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How to crack Harvard MBA? Work Experience Required for Harvard Business School?

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For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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