How Much Does an MBA Really Cost? (I)

Anyone considering studying an MBA has asked the same question: how much does an MBA really cost? Even though you can find this information in almost every business school’s web site -for instance, you can find Fuqua’s MBA estimated cost here-, based in my personal experience, I find this information not accurate, and reality can differ a lot from the figure stated there.

First, there are expenses that are not reflected at all, for obvious reasons, but that everyone should consider in advance. In order to be accepted to business school, each candidate must incur at least in the following expenses: GMAT, TOEFL, and pay each school’s application fee.

If you just apply to one school and take the GMAT and TOEFL once, you might just spend around $700. Some people, like me, take the tests more than once, enroll GMAT courses, and hire admissions consultants to get help writing the essays. Test courses and MBA consultants fees vary depending on your location and the quality of the service. For instance, for a GMAT course in Spain, prices range from $900 to $2,500.

Personally, I took the GMAT 4 times, enrolled in a GMAT course, got help from an admission consultant to write one of my applications, and applied to 5 business schools (twice to Fuqua, in which I had a fee reduction because an alumni or current student recommendation). In my case, by the time I was accepted to Fuqua, I had already spent the following:

Pre-MBA Estimated Expenses

At the moment of admission, I had already spent around $4,000, just for being accepted! In average, most people take the GMAT twice and apply to 4 business schools, so you could expect to spend around $1,500 when applying to business school.

In the coming weeks, I will post about what expenses you might have to face right after admission and before school starts, also sharing my personal experience as a Fuqua MBA candidate.


4 thoughts on “How Much Does an MBA Really Cost? (I)

  1. Greetings! I’m a recent admit to Fuqua and will be headed there in the Fall. As such, I was wondering if you ever had a chance to write Part II of this article. Although I’m looking forward to the experience, a quick comparison between the cost of attendance (as listed on the website) and the reality of my meager savings was enough to leave me spooked. I’m sure that their budget is an underestimate, especially when the cost of recruiting, a semester abroad, or a GATE is factored in. Though this seems like an experience that one should make the most of, I can’t help but feel slightly panicked.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hey there!

      I still haven’t written that post, hopefully I will be able to do it soon.

      As you mentioned, the budget on the website is underestimated, although it really depends on the decisions you will make: how much you want to spend on housing, food, travel, etc.

      Feel free to reach out to me if you have specific questions: reachingthethirties@gmail.com.


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