The cost of MBA tuition in dollars increased by 7.6% on average globally in the past year, according to our BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report 2021.
Our report breaks down the total cost of studying a top-ranked MBA program, covering tuition fees, extra fees, living costs, healthcare, and the books and materials you can expect to pay for throughout a full-time MBA program.
Among all these factors, the cost of MBA tuition is the largest single cost, driving an overall increase in the cost of an MBA in 2021.
So what is the cost of an MBA at top business schools like Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, and INSEAD in terms of total tuition fees?*
Most expensive MBA tuition fees
Wharton charges the world’s most expensive MBA tuition fees, an estimated $162,460 for two years, according to our report.
Wharton’s fees cost $40,000 more than the cheapest US MBA in our list at Georgetown McDonough ($121,788).
The average cost of tuition for the M7 business schools is $153,427.
The Harvard MBA costs $146,880 in total tuition, the cheapest tuition fees out of the M7 business schools. Columbia MBA tuition cost is $154,752. Stanford MBA cost of tuition is an estimated $149,412 for the two years.
The average cost of MBA tuition in the United States costs over $50,000 more than in Europe and over $70,000 more than in Asia.
Studying at a US school will typically cost you more because most US MBA programs are two-year programs, doubling your annual cost of tuition.
Outside the US, London Business School charges the most expensive MBA tuition fees at around $131,000. INSEAD is the most expensive one-year MBA program in terms of tuition, followed by IMD in Switzerland.
If you’re looking at MBA tuition cost versus time spent on-campus, look to Asia: NUS Business School in Singapore offers the best bang for your buck, costing just over $51,000 for 17 months in a top-ranked MBA program.
Italy’s SDA Bocconi offers Europe’s most affordable top-ranked MBA, costing around $71,800.
Frozen MBA tuition fees!
Some schools increased MBA tuition fees in 2021, with the most significant fee increases made by London Business School and HEC Paris.
However, several top US business schools froze tuition fees in 2021—including Harvard, Stanford, and Darden—while Yale was the only school to reduce tuition slightly, recognizing the challenges faced by candidates during the pandemic.
Top business schools that froze tuition fees in 2021:
Yale made a 0.3% reduction
To fund an MBA, many students will look to MBA loans. Juno, an increasingly popular option, uses group buying power to negotiate the best student loan rates possible for MBA participants.
Started by two Harvard MBAs, the loans company has helped MBA students get more than $300 million in education loans and make savings of up to $15,000 on loan repayments.
Tuition freezes aside, Juno’s co-founder, Chris Abkarians, says business schools in the US have been increasing tuition fees at a rate of roughly twice the pace of inflation for the last 30 years, and so students increasingly rely on loans.
The average loan amount borrowed per MBA student in the US is $60-70,000, he says.
However, while cost of an MBA at Harvard, Wharton, and other top schools is expensive, many students will not pay total tuition fees, with business schools offering generous MBA scholarships to offset the cost of your tuition.
“The cost of an MBA is a valid concern that almost everyone I know has at the beginning of the process, but don’t let that deter you,” Chris says.
“When you’re admitted, some schools simultaneously give you a merit-based scholarship which reduces the amount of tuition you pay. Then, you can also submit a financial aid request for a needs-based scholarship.”
*For US MBA programs, we have doubled the cost of tuition for 2021-22 to get a total two-year tuition cost. All non-US tuition fees have been converted from local currency into US$.