Cost of MBA up by 4.7% at top b-schools

The average total cost of an MBA in the US in 2021 is US$217,089.

By U2B Staff 

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The cost of an MBA increased by 4.7% in the past year despite COVID-19, which translates to an additional 8,000 US dollars to budget for, found a new survey. 

The BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report 2021, which was released on Tuesday (July 20), said the biggest increase was seen at European business schools while Asia is the most affordable place to pursue an MBA, with an average price in 2021 at US$108,422.


Some business schools — including top guns such as Harvard, Stanford and Darden — froze their tuition fees in 2021, but others that increased their tuition fees in the past year did so in the context of the pandemic. 

“As companies cut spending, schools lost revenue from executive education in the past year while they also increased their spending to enable virtual teaching. For some schools, increasing MBA tuition fees is a way to recover from the financial impact of COVID-19,” said the report.

“However, while the cost of an MBA has increased the most at European business schools, the total cost of a top-ranked MBA in Europe is still relatively low at most schools compared with the US.”

The report breaks down the total cost of the world’s top MBA programmes covering MBA tuition fees, living costs, healthcare and materials.

How much does an MBA cost at a top-tier school?

Their research shows that the average total cost of studying at one of the world’s top MBA programmes starting in 2021 is US$176,000. The average price of an MBA in 2020 was US$168,000. 

Other highlights include:

  • MIT Sloan remains the world’s most expensive MBA, with a total price of US$241,984, up by 1.8% compared with 2020.
  • NUS Business School offers the most affordable top-ranked MBA, with a total price of US$89,342.
  • The total price of the MBA at HEC Paris increased the most between 2020 and 2021 (by 16.3%), followed by Oxford Saïd (15.6%), and Cambridge Judge (15%).
  • Only Virginia Darden saw a decrease in the total cost of its MBA in 2021, down 3.6%.
  • Tuition increased by 7.6% on average globally, with the most significant fee increases made by London Business School and HEC Paris.
  • Yale was the only top US business school to reduce tuition.
  • The average price of an MBA in the US in 2021 is US$217,089 (up by 1.9% since 2020), Europe, US$130,104 (up by 9.7%), and Asia, US$108,422 (up by 10%)
  • The average cost of an MBA at an M7 business school is US$227,011

Least expensive MBAs

The least expensive place to pursue a top-ranked MBA is NUS Business School in Singapore, with a total cost of US$89,342, followed by SDA Bocconi in Italy and CEIBS in China.

Ironically, the highest-ranked MBA programmes are not necessarily the most expensive. MIT Sloan is ranked the fifth best MBA in the US by US News but tops BusinessBecause’s list for overall cost.

INSEAD offers the best MBA programme in the world, according to the Financial Times (FT) MBA Ranking 2021, but it is among the more affordable MBA programmes on the list. NUS Business School, the cheapest MBA programme on the list, is ranked 14th in the world by the FT.

Click here for the report.