Deciding where to apply for your MBA is such an emotional process. Much of it is tied up in ego and self-validation – you don’t want to apply somewhere lesser-than, as that would indicate that you don’t think you’re good enough. If some guy at work got in at Booth, then you’re gonna try for schools in the same category – ‘cuz he’s a dolt, and you don’t want to have to tell the office that you couldn’t get in somewhere as good as he did.
We get it. You want to go to a good school.
You do recognize, don’t you, that those “good schools” are also pricey?
Before you get too far down the process of shortlisting your schools, you may want to take an honest look at what this
ordeal education is going to cost you. (We’re completely skipping the part about how expensive it is just to APPLY to bschool – the GMAT test and traveling to schools and taking a sick day to study for the GMAT and the GMAT test again and all those application fees… definitely it adds up.)
Let’s look at just the actual cost of the MBA. This should be part of the process for you in determining whether an MBA is worth it – and if so, an MBA from which school. Cost should not be the only criteria (after all, the MBA has pretty dramatic ROI for most people) but you need to go into this as an educated consumer.
The nut attached to an MBA varies radically, not just in terms of cost of attendance – tuitions are all over the map, as is cost of living based on what part of the world we’re talking about. Exit salaries for post-MBA jobs are quite different from school to school as well.
We found an article on US News & World Report that’s just absolutely awesome in terms of providing you a framework to use to evaluate whether the MBA from a certain school is worth it. They give you a very straightforward way of calculating the ROI. You probably could’ve figured out how to do that yourself but this article walks you through it. No excuses; they map it out for you in how to come up with a value on the degree that you get.
Again, we’re not suggesting that the dollars-and-cents evaluation is the only way to choose a bschool. There’s lots and lots (and lots) of other factors that you need to consider. Many benefits to the MBA are incalculable. The alumni network that everyone touts. The lifelong friendships you’ll make. The, uh, actual EDUCATION.
But we do hope that you’ll at least look at those tuition figures before you apply. The sticker shock that some people experience is a little laughable – they get accepted and then realize that this thing is actually going to cost them some MONEY. You can’t count on a fellowship or other forms of free financial support. Sure there’s loans available and most people are able to pull off the finances when the time comes. But walk through that mental exercise now. Make sure this is the right thing for you.
For many people it is – just go into it with your eyes open.