Economic News, Student Loans

High Cost of Business School

After spending four years (or more) completing an undergraduate degree, the last thing some business majors want to think about is business school. I definitely understand their stance, and clearly recall the discussion I had with my academic advisor in my last semester of college. The entire time she’s talking about the benefits of grad school, I’m thinking to myself, “once I take that last undergrad final, I’m finished.”

There were many factors that shaped my viewpoint. For the most part, I was ready to move forward in the next chapter of my life and didn’t want to spend another two years in school. And secondly, did I really want to deal with extra student loan debt?

I imagine this is a question that many prospective business school students ask themselves. And while some follow the path I took, others embark on the journey to receive their MBA and take the business world by storm.

Career Benefits of an MBA

A four-year business degree is one of those degrees that can take you just about anywhere. You can work in administration, finance, banking, health, education, sales, marketing, and so forth. And with an MBA, the career options just keep coming. For some business majors, an MBA degree is the single most important tool for advancing the corporate ladder, and some even view these degrees as recession proof. Of course, that’s a matter of opinion.

Needless to say, there are no guarantees. However, an MBA can give job applicants a competitive advantage, as this program teaches leadership skills, managerial skills and resolutions skills – all the skills needed to manage an organization or start a company. But while there’s no denying the long-term benefits of business school, there is one important factor that we can’t ignore – the cost.

The Cost of an MBA

A Master of Business Administration isn’t cheap, and the more prestigious your school, the more you’ll pay. As of 2013, the average cost of a two-year MBA from the 10 top business schools in the U.S. is approximately $111,000, says US News and World Report. And that’s just the average. The actual cost is higher after factoring expenses for rooming, board and books. Include the cost of an undergraduate degree on top of grad school tuition and total educational costs can exceed $200,000.

Of course, you don’t have to attend a top business school. As a matter of fact, by staying closer to home and pursuing an MBA from a public university, the tuition for a two-year program may cost just over $60,000.

Getting an MBA for Less

  • Apply for scholarships. Many business schools and professional groups offer MBA scholarships. Visit your school’s aid department to learn options available to you, plus an online search can connect you with organizations that offer financial assistance. To improve your chances, keep your undergrad grades up, and submit a stellar application.
  • Employee-sponsored tuition program. Some employers will pay the cost of your tuition, or a percentage of the cost, if you agree to work for the company a certain number of years upon completion of your MBA.
  • Part-time MBA program. If you attend school full-time, you can complete an MBA in about two years. But if you’re not in a rush to finish, consider a part-time program. This way, you can work full-time to cover some of your costs and limit your student debt.