MBA China

Cost Of Living At B-School: Shanghai

China’s most happening city is expensive, but you can pick up a great value MBA

Written by Maria Ahmed | MBA China | Thursday 30th September 2010 19:35:31 GMT

China’s most happening city is expensive, but you can pick up a great value MBA

China’s most happening city is expensive, but you can pick up a great value MBA

Shanghai has long been one of the most happening, decadent cities in Asia and it's becoming a business education destination too.

As well as the famous China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), newcomer Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF) is gearing up to be the feeder school to Shanghai’s trading floors.

French business school EM Lyon has opened a campus there and other international b-schools are sure to follow suit.

So, how much does it cost to live in China’s cultural capital?

The city is not expensive by international standards. The Mercer Index measures the cost of living in big cities around the world in US dollars, in comparison to New York City. The 2010 index placed Shanghai 25th in the world, with New York ranked 27th.

But the Mercer is aimed at US expatriates. If you live like a local, Shanghai can be reasonable, though not cheap.

Students on the recently launched Finance MBA at SAIF say that they spend between RMB1,500 and 3,000 (US$225-$450) per month, excluding rent.

Rent for a studio flat is about RMB3,500 per month. A meal can be as cheap as RMB20.

“One of the prerequisites for a successful career is to manage your expenses. It’s a good chance to try it out in a relatively expensive city,” says incoming student Johnny Liu.

Fellow student Andrew Xin Sun points out that the SAIF MBA program is very cost effective. Tuition for the full-time 18-month MBA is RMB130,000 compared to RMB258,000 at neighboring CEIBS. And even CEIBS’ fees are a lot lower than those at a mid-tier school in the US or Europe.

SAIF students are agreed that doing an MBA in the city is well worth it. “I firmly believe Shanghai is a city of opportunities: a place to study, to learn and to enjoy yourself,” adds Liu.

Classmate David Feng says that he expects to make the investment in his MBA back within two or three years.

The Shanghai municipal government has set itself the target of turning the city into a global financial center by 2020. “The early bird gets the worm,” says Xin Sun. “Ten years is not a long time… I chose SAIF now because I am in the first batch of full-time MBAs. I’ll have first-mover advantage.


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Friday 1st October 2010, 16.54 (UTC)

Kate Jillings

A personal driver - wish I had one in Shanghai when I visited last December - instead I had several hilarious/ worrying incidents trying to communicate with taxi drivers... get Chinese friends to write down directions for you (in Chinese - to show the taxi drivers) before you attempt to venture out!

Saturday 2nd October 2010, 23.26 (UTC)

Samuel Hargadine

When I was in Shanghai, I thought it was really reasonable - granted I was staying in really cheap accommodation and ate I don't know how many cheap Baozi. I'm sure the Hyatt, Oriental, etc. would charge an arm and a leg for a night's stay - but that would be expensive anywhere.

Great city though, what a cool experience to study there for any length of time.

Thursday 7th October 2010, 03.43 (UTC)

Alexandra Dean

what's baozi?

Monday 11th October 2010, 16.37 (UTC)

Samuel Hargadine

Baozi are those great little steaming buns and dumplings. Shanghai in particular i guess is particularly well known for them, especially the ones that you eat like a soup through a straw. I miss Shanghai:).

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