The cost of an MBA: Here’s what you should know

SOURCE: Robyn Beck/AFP
How much does an MBA cost in Asia, Europe and the US?

By U2B Staff 

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If you’re gunning for an MBA, at the forefront of your mind is probably the affordability of the programme. So, what’s the real cost of an MBA before you dive into one?

If you’re looking for a cost effective option, it might be time to start looking East. According to the recent BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report 2020, Asia offers prospective MBA students affordable MBA options.

The report breaks down the total cost of the world’s top MBA programmes, covering MBA tuition fees, living costs, and healthcare, to name a few. The average total MBA cost by location are:

  • Asia: US$98,000
  • USA: US$123,000
  • Europe: US$118,000

Some of the schools with the most expensive programmes in the US are MIT Sloan, Stanford and Wharton, with the total cost being US$237,636; US$237,288; and US$229,792 respectively. The report notes that their listed fees are all for out-of-state, international students.

In terms of tuition fee cost, other key highlights from the report include:

    • The National University of Singapore (NUS) may offer students the best value for money when looking at MBA fees versus time spent on-campus, costing under US$50,000 for 17 months in a top-ranked MBA programme
    • INSEAD is the most expensive one-year MBA programme in terms of tuition, followed by IMD in Switzerland

Cost of living 

Tuition fees typically make up the bulk of the cost of a higher education, followed by the cost of living. As such, students who pursue their MBA in major cities such as New York and London can expect higher cost of living. 

It’s worth highlighting that how long you stay in a city will obviously impact your living expenses during an MBA. 

Some of the estimated cost of living expenses by school according to the report are:

Stanford Stanford, CA, US 24 69,486
UCLA: Anderson Los Angeles, CA, US 24 64,090
London Business School London, UK 18 59,080
NYU Stern New York, NY, US 24 55,780
NUS Business School Singapore 17 37,825
HKUST Business School Hong Kong 12 23,100
INSEAD Singapore 10 22,265
Oxford: Saïd Oxford, UK 12 20,670
CEIBS Shanghai, China 18 18,769

A big part about doing an MBA is the networking opportunities it affords. As such, the report notes that students should save some extra cash for that. 

“So many of the networking benefits of an MBA come from these off-site excursions — including international study immersions which are not always covered in tuition fees — so while you shouldn’t underestimate their cost, you shouldn’t underestimate their value either,” explained the report. 

Healthcare is also another cost to factor in.


Different countries will have different requirements when it comes to health insurance. Some universities may have special requirements where health insurance has already been included in the cost of tuition, while for others, you may need to consider a private health insurance plan for better coverage.

For those US-bound, healthcare in the country can be costly.

“The average cost of healthcare cover for two years at the US schools in our report is close to [US]$10,000. In fact, one year of healthcare cover in the US costs more than you would pay for several years elsewhere,” said the report.

Many universities in the US have their own compulsory health insurance schemes at competitive annual prices. For instance, the estimated healthcare cover at Wharton costs  US$18,700 for two years; Yale offers the cheapest cover for a US school at US$5,200.

Without a doubt, the cost of an MBA can be pricey, but by being resourceful and looking up scholarships, you’ll soon be on your MBA adventure.