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How much does an MBA Cost in India, USA, Europe: A basic comparison

[Editor’s Note: Article updated in August 2021 to reflect the latest data]

Some time back, we had written a post outlining the contours of what are the various costs involved while going for an MBA here –> How much financing would you need?

On popular demand, in this post, we’ll give you a realistic estimate of the kind of money we are talking about. And while you are doing that, here’s another thought – Is higher education worth the investment (RoI)?

While all the international MBA blogs talk about MBA financing in Dollars and Euros, we’ll stick to a currency that is giving us newfound respect to everything from onions to MBA degrees – the Indian Rupee.

As you will see from the table below, this is based on a variety of sweeping assumptions so don’t be too surprised if your MBA cost calculations are different from ours.

As with the other GMAT and MBA related posts on our blog, use this to build your own MBA costs calculator that cover all the important accounting heads from MBA tuition fees and the cost of living (which can vary substantially in India, USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany).

MBA cost in India USA UK

MBA Cost in India, Europe, USA

The intent is to give you’re a send of ‘range’ rather than one number. For this purpose, I have ‘randomly’ chosen 3 kind of MBA schools.

An Indian GMAT based college, a European 1 year program and a full scale, 2 year course in the USA, albeit one of the pricier ones.

No prizes for guessing, but think on the lines of ISB, INSEAD, Stanford, Stern, Columbia, Harvard and the likes.

Most of the information is taken from the school websites. So here’s the math on how we’ve worked out how much an MBA can cost for 1 year and 2 year programs.

All Figures in INR

Low Range

High Range

High Range

Pre MBA Expenses












Application Fee




Program Fees



















Personal Expenses




Travel (Local + Flight)











incl in acco

Exchange/Job Search




Miscellaneous MBA costs






Opportunity Cost
Average Incoming Salary




Total Cost




Average Outgoing Salary




  © MBA Crystal Ball  $1=INR 74; 1EUR=INR87

A few noteworthy assumptions that you may want to adapt depending on your own case:

Travel: The assumption is that you will travel once to the campus, and then make 2 trips back home. So this can vary depending on where is home as well as your inclination/requirement to visit it

Exchange/Job Search: The job search component is relevant for most international school as many of them do not have a formal in-campus placements week, the like we are more accustomed to in India. The Exchange is completely discretionary but definitely a good idea in general if manageable.

Average Incoming Salary: The assumption here, which could be big one, is that the average incoming salary is the same for Indian, European and US schools. So you may want to tweak this to your own favorite number.

Socialising/Entertainment: This is a big omission from the calculation. The reason is because this tends to be extremely subjective and hugely variable. Putting a number on that is akin to estimating the number of stars visible on a moonless night – well I exaggerate, but you get the drift. Depending on what kind of person you are, this could be a big expense or it could be relatively modest. So take a pick on this one.

How to use this MBA cost calculator

You are now probably thinking what next and how do I use this information. One of the uses of this information will be to attempt a potential ROI and Payback calculation.

Taking a stock of your incoming and outgoing salaries, you can get a sense on which schools would potentially give you the best ROI. Do however be aware of the perils of averages. The average or median salary can be quite misleading on a case by case basis. So proceed with extreme caution.

If you willing to look beyond the top B-schools, the calculations would look quite different.

Use this kind of analysis to get an indicative sense and don’t make a decision based on a decimal point differential between two schools basis these numbers.

For Indian MBA applicants who don’t want to shell out so much, the value of MBA scholarships can’t be underestimated, as they can bring down the MBA costs significantly.

If you don’t get a significant financial aid / scholarships from the bschool, you could explore options such as non-cosignor student loans and MBA education loans that don’t need collateral. Also read Crowdfunding higher education – MBA and Masters Degrees.

Top MBA programs in USA
Top MBA programs in Canada
Best Business Schools in Europe
Difference between MBA in India and abroad
Student loan statistics in India
Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for college education

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Manish Gupta
About Manish Gupta
Chief Consulting Officer at MBA Crystal Ball, ex-McKinsey, IIT & ISB topper. MG can help you get into the top B-schools. Read more about this top MBA admissions consultant. Connect with MG on Linkedin, Facebook or Email: mcb [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

51 thoughts on “How much does an MBA Cost in India, USA, Europe: A basic comparison”

  1. Hi..Manish

    This post is really shocking…1 Cr is really too much…Do yo think a middle class indian guy should dream about US MBA dream ? ..i was thinking that it would cost 25- 40 locs..but ur estimates are really different..please comment…i am losing hope…

    • hi manish..
      I’m doing electrical and electronic engineering now…this is my 3rd year. after one year I will look for mba course question is that how can a middle class guy think doing mba in abroad if 1cr or 2cr is required. .and is there any gyrenty after 2yr students r getting a huge package of salary. ?And also age matter for mba ? means in my case after I passed out If I will get a job and do tht job for 2 or 3 yr ..than after I want to do mba . is it possible? or for mba any job experience is important for campus selection?? I want to know from you that where is the best part for mba ? abroad or in India…(money matter also there)…so plz comment and guide me

  2. I will not go to any US B School or any abroad school without substantial scholarship.. This post reiterated that fact.. Looking for 80% or possibly a full ride is essential.. Thanks a lot for an informative post!!

  3. Some more “Pre MBA Expenses”:

    1) Multiple GMAT attempts (16250 x N) (Only handful can get a 750 in first attempt to get into top 15)
    2) Multiple Applications (17875 x N) ( Obviously you are going to apply in 3-4 schools)
    3) MBA consultants fees (MBA MAP, essay writing/editing, profile evaluation) (1.5 to 3 Lakhs)

  4. Not worth it! unless you want a job as a Consultant or a I-Banker. But I wonder if you guys could ever be flexible with your jobs, post the MBA, having a 2 crore loan on your head?

    Total Rip off. Instead take a 2 crore loan put in the markets and live happily ever after 😀

    Lucky i dint get into any of the B-Schools last year, was dissappointed initially buy has been a blessing in disguise.

  5. @Anirudh: 1 Crore is at the higher end. Indian bschools like ISB, IIMA PGPX offer a good quality education at a fraction of the cost. But then there are pros and cons to doing an MBA in India or abroad.

    @Naveen: MBA Scholarships and other MBA cost reduction options like graduate assistantships can make a huge difference to the affordability and RoI.

    @MBA Hopeful: Thanks for additional heads. Multiple applications can’t really be avoided unless you have a single bschool on the list.

    Multiple GMAT attempts + MBA consulting fees are optional. However, they can help in offsetting other bigger expenses. A high GMAT coupled with a strong application could get huge savings on the overall MBA cost in terms of MBA scholarships.

    Elsewhere on this site, you’ll find stories of folks who’ve got scholarships ranging from $10,000 to 100% fee waiver (plus stipend). That can be one heck of a deal to justify the additional (optional) costs.

    Of course, blindly pumping money into admission consulting without having the ‘raw material’ (good GMAT score, diversity of experience, practical goals) can be a waste of good money. So it’s a judgement call.

    @SNayak: You wouldn’t have a 2 crore loan. The opportunity cost is a ‘notional’ number (how much you could’ve earned if you hadn’t quit your job) not an actual one.

  6. Oops! Sorry Sameer, but even without the opportunity costs, the two year MBA still comes up to 1.95 crore .. phew!! I have my own start up and my mouth waters when i think of what all i could do with that sort of money.

    I do agree with your point that the Indian schools have some good options. Another thing i would really appreciate is for you to dissect on the average salaries Indian grads would earn post the MBA. I have heard that the median salaries are quite misleading and more accurately reflect what American grads are paid. Indian students do not quite make that much. For instance, an Indian grad from Stanford might make around $90,000 not the $125,000 median that is usually advertised.

  7. @SNayak: You are right about the fact that the overall financial jolt (even without the opportunity cost) can be crippling. Trying to get MG bhai (the author of the article) to take a break from his overload application assistance work and add some more clarity and analytical perspective on some of the numbers.

    Getting the big education loan sanctioned by an American bank (thanks to the non-cosigner loan schemes offered by the top MBA programs) is only part of the process. Unless your post MBA goals will get you high paying jobs, it can get very difficult to pay back the loans.

    Which brings up the point you raise about MBA compensation figures. You are right again that these numbers can be misleading. Long back we wrote a (small) post on average MBA salaries and what they mean.

    I wouldn’t agree that Indians will always get lesser than the median. They could get more as well (for instance, if they stick to their area of expertise and reach out for senior roles). Or it could go lower as well (radical career transitions that force experienced folks to start a new career at a lower rung).

    For an entrepreneur like thyself, the numbers get even more hazy, as your earning potential can vary dramatically before and after the MBA.

    Just for hypothetical discussion, if you had to extrapolate what you could do with the money, what’s the likelyhood that you’d earn more than the median published by the top bschools ($100,000 – $130,000) in a 3-5 year horizon?

  8. Let me make a few additional comments to what Sameer has already mentioned.

    One, as I have mentioned, the costs are on the ‘higher’ side. The idea is to give you a sense of range varying from lakhs to crores. Many international schools (2 year programs) could be 30-50% cheaper than the one in the example above. So please take this with dollops of salt.

    Two, it is prudent to avoid a tendency of only looking at a ‘converted’ figure. We used INR to get everything in numbers that most of our audience could relate to. It is way more important to consider the payback/RoI figures than the absolute numbers. Yes the salary figures could be misleading at times – but well, we are doing the above analysis on an ‘average’ basis.

    In summary, my intent was not to deter MBA applicants from India, but to create awareness of the kind of investment we are talking about. There are half a dozen ways to defray that cost and still launch a global career which is worth the effort. Scholarships are definitely one of these ways. Hopefully we’ll do a post on that topic soon enough.

    Till then, keep the faith!

  9. hello sir my self vikram i have a doubt,i don’t know whether it is right place to ask or not but plz help me

    up to how much percentage can we get the loan from top school like stanford ,harvard . ,and should we put the remaining amount remaining amount from our own pockets is the only way we have do it ,if not is there any alternative to receive aid for that remaining amount also ,from indian banks or other sources

    plz help me sir
    thanking you in advance

  10. Hey Manish/Sameer,

    This is quite an interesting and apt post for me right now. I don’t clearly get the Exchange/job search part, costing abt 80 to 90% of tuition costs. Can u brief more on that?

    I think most top schools have their career management centers. So the exchange costs should not be likely. Isn’t it?

  11. @Ravi. That actually has two factors built into it. One is the Exchange part. This is the ‘student exchange’ meaning, say if you are doing your MBA at School A, and go for a term to School B. Many students opt for that.

    The second factor is the job search. Most schools have careers center yes, but unlike the Indian model where there is almost zero search cost, most programs in USA entail some or the other kind of your individual search. Campus placement/Campus days are rarer overseas. Plus this also includes part of your living expenses while you are searching for a job.

    Hope this clarifies things

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  13. hi Sameer
    I am planning to give my GMAT sometime in May, 2014. Should I be worried about fees, scholarships and loans right now or can I think about it after my GMAT score is out?

  14. @Anand. You should think of finances before you take the plunge Anand. It will be too bad to be in a situation when you have an admit say from your dream college and then you realize you have to let go because you dont have the financial means.

  15. Hi Manish,

    I have done my graduation (BScIT) from SMU distance learning in 2010. I would like to pursue regular MBA. Can I apply for a regular MBA through CAT/GMAT? I mean am I eligible for a regular course?

  16. @Rashmi. Most schools ask for 15/16 years of in-classroom education. Read herefor more on this. Most schools do not recognize a distance course – but it’ll be ideal to check directly with the school(s) you are targeting.

  17. Hi Manish,

    I am law graduate, B.Com and CS (Company Secretaryship Course), I want to pursue 1 year MBA from abroad, please guide whether it would be useful for me and which area I should choose? any revert would be really helpful!

  18. Hi Manish,

    Thanks a lot for the information you’ll provide. I find this blog very helpful.

    Harvard is my Dream Business School. Going by the data you’ve collected and provided,
    i am guessing an MBA from Harvard will cost somewhere between a crore or two.

    Is that correct?

    Are there any scholarships availbale for HBS, since i am not aware of any.


  19. @Safwan – that would be the figure depending on your opportunity cost. Harvard Business School (HBS) like most other schools offers scholarships to a select few. In addition, you can check out other blog posts on our website on various scholarships available to candidates.

  20. Sir i wanted to,do mba international marketing over there i want top 100 business school over abroad i m nt too much financially sound i m able to give 25-30 lakhs frm taking a loan . So is it possible..

  21. Hi MG!

    Gm Sir,

    I am a software Engineer and have 3 plus years of experience in IT industry. Earlier my plan was to go abroad to pursue my MBA but seeing above figure i am totally shocked. As I can not afford spending that huge amount.
    So requesting you to please let know which are the good B-Schools in India which accepts GMAT score and also have good placements and carrier opportunities.

  22. @ Akshay: If that’s the amount you have, with a loan, you should be able to easily finance your MBA. Do keep in mind that this includes the ‘opportunity cost’ which isnt a real cost that you will incur. Plus there is a LOT of variability in the ‘Personal’ Expense section – depending on what you do, that can bring down the costs significantly.

    @ Vikash: It is not an easy financial decision – but make sure you understand the comments I have made to Akshay above. In India, the only good one at your tenure will be ISB.

  23. Hello Sameer,

    I am working as sales manager for last 4 years. Had worked in financial domain for 4 years prior to that. Currently I am earning over 18 lakhs p.a.. I am contemplating to do 1 year MBA either from top MBA institutes abroad or from IIM A (PGPX).
    Finances are only bit of constrain. Settling/working abroad is no issue at all.
    Could you please advice whether I should do MBA or look for work opportunity elsewhere

  24. Hello,

    Can anyone explain clearly what does Average incoming salary under opportunity cost means.

    thanks in advance

  25. Dear Sameer/Manish,

    I have 3 years experiance in R&D and now i am planning for MBA either in ISB or abroad.
    Few important queries are:-
    – My present designation and role is in core design(R&D mechanical), so what is best MBA course — atleast 3 options in ranking order please.
    – What would be an approx. amount that needs to be arranged from pocket directly (approx is ok)
    – What is the best material to follow for GMAT exam.

    Please help me in these queries and any contact person for further queries please.

  26. @ Nikhil: Difficult to give a verdict within the constraints of a blog post. Either post on our Free Career Counselling forum or check out our Career MAP offering for this

    @ Yashwanth: Opportunity cost is not a ‘real’ cost. For the 2 years that you are doing an MBA, you are not earning the salary that you come to with when you enter the school. That is the opportunity cost referred here.

    @ Sunil: You havent mentioned the sector here. The choice of school is dependent on a LOT of factors and not just on what you are doing now. What do you want to do after MBA, what’s your GMAT, what’s your educational pedigree etc etc etc.
    The funding requirement (apart from loan), can be anywhere between 15-100% – vague I know but that’s the variability really. For GMAT, check out our GMAT related posts on tips/tricks and suggestions

  27. I am planning to pursue my MBA from one of the colleges in SOUTH AFRICA.
    I will be writing my GMAT in a couple of months. I have 2 years of working in IT firm.
    The totals fees may be around 20L
    how much i can i expect my salary to be post MBA. As the university is in top 3 African B school universities.


  28. @Suhail. The numbers will really depend on which schools you are talking about. If the information is not provided on the school websites, you should reach out to the adcom/placements cell directly to seek this Suhail.

  29. Hi, thanks for the informative article. I’m planning to pursue my MBA. These institutes have been iconic for decades and are the first options to feature on an MBA aspirants list. A number of B schools are increasingly featuring as the best B schools of eastern India. Can I consider them?

  30. I agree to all that is stated above! The ratio of MBA course fee, charged abroad and the return from investments is a matter of concern. It is worth the pain I believe, but only if we hold a chance at the top B school such as the Harvard or Princeton.

  31. Hello!

    Actually i am finding this post the most apt for my situation right now.
    Now i have a few queries over it :

    1) like it is mentioned that a 2 year MBA program can cost up to like 2 crore’s.. i mean how a middle class person can even think of doing an MBA abroad but on the other hand i have heard that tier 1 college’s fees generally vary from $50000 to $70000 and if you can manage to get part time jobs than it can lead to a great help.. so how much reality is involved into this?

    2) the second thing i heard from some of my senior’s abroad is that they say it’s really difficult to get a job abroad being an indian student as their are some work visa issue’s and generally they have to come back to india and then they don’t get good salaries as in india these students are given less priority and chances to be in leading firms??

    3) the third and the last thing is that like i have a degree in Computer science from an average college in india and i could not manage to get into an it firm.. instead i have almost 5 years of experience in HCL BSERV. I started as a custome care executive and now i am the Team Leader on my floor. But i have also been the top performer in my role. Now i am thinking of taking my GMAT and i am targeting some the very best schools. so would this experience count for me any how??

    If you can answer my questions,then it would be of a great help.// as i have been a regular follower of your articles,this is my first time i am putting up a question..

  32. @Karthik. Like I have mentioned in the previous responses, you have to make sure you read this correctly. There is a big portion of opportunity cost incorporate there. Plus other stuff that may not necessarily be there. So the range really is between say 80L – 2Cr. The job scene really depends on the sector/function you are targeting. If you can show leadership and achievements, you can still stake a claim.

  33. Hi Manish,

    Thanks for the wonderful informative blog, it really helped me to understand the eternal gist and insight of the probable cost in persuing MBA from abroad.

    However I would like to know if persuading MBA from B schools from Ireland( UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and School of Business:Trinity College of Dublin) would be wise option or not.

    Below are my further other queries regarding these colleges :
    1. As I want more information about these 2 B-Schools, also would like to know about their reputation and probable cost(Fees and Personal Cost)
    2. I have 3 years of experience in IT and looking for 1 year of MBA programme from abroad. Is there any other good B-School in Ireland
    3. I have financial constraints, so are there any scholorships which I can get?
    4. Can I do a part time job along with my studies in Ireland, what kind of job opportunities I can get after completion of my MBA from above mentioned schools?
    5. How are the VISA policies in Ireland, will I get enough time to search a job after MBA

  34. @ Navneet – I am guessing that you have a geographical constraint for Ireland? Those are the best known school within Ireland – not outside though. For financial aid and visa, we aren’t the experts really. You should check out the school website, talk to current students and also interact with the admissions committee to get your questions resolved on those front. The question of part time MBA really depends on the kind of experience you have and the intent of doing an MBA. Feel free to reach out to us or post your query on one of our forums.

  35. Thanks for the informative post 🙂

    As highlighted by one of the readers earlier, Rs. 65 Lacs towards Job search/exchange looks on the higher side to me. As this expenditure needs to be funded entirely out of the student’s pocket, request you to split the cost for job search and exchange separately and if possible, kindly provide a range – lower limit/mandatory expenses ought to be incurred in this regard.

    Appreciate your help.


  36. Hi MG,

    My son is IITans from Bomaby and with GMAT score of 720 with 3.5 years of work experience in Financial consulting Co. in Singapore.
    What are are his chances of getting him in top 5 Finance MBA institure such as Wharton, Booth, Columbia, Harward, NYU Stern, Kellog etc.?

  37. Hi,

    I have done my MBA in Finance & Marketing , having an experience of 3 yrs in sales profile. I am not finding any growth after MBA .

    Going for a GMAT will be a good decision?? As I am a student of Commerce.

    Wanting to change my profile from sales to it possible now..

  38. @Yogesh – Well the data here has been taken from various bschool websites but is in no way supposed to be an exhaustive resource. The intention behind this post is to ensure that candidates also factor in the financials before plunging directly into the MBA preparation. We recommend every candidate to do their own research since the expenses also vary from school to school

    @Sunil – I would recommend you post your detailed query on my Free Profile Evaluation thread ( The information you have provided is too sketchy to do an objective assessment

    @Ankur – Same response as that for Sunil above. You may find our Free Career Counselling thread more relevant though ( Check it out

  39. Hi Sameer/MG,
    Great post. I wish I could give Kudos/Thanks here, like GC/BTG 🙂

    BUT, guys one info appears to be shocking to me: INTERSECTION of High Range (2Yr) and Exchange/Job Search – INR 65 Lacs ??

    I really don’t get this – EXACTLY where and how this HUGE amount would be consumed in top 20 US full-time MBA ? It’d be REALLY helpful if you could elaborate kindly what I’m missing out…

    Thank you for your cooperation!

    • Nice observation SD. If you see we have provided an explanation of what this is. If you decide to go on a student exchange to say an international location, the living/travel expenses can rocket up pretty quickly. Ditto for the job search phase. It is not uncommon, even at the top schools, to be looking out for a job 3-5 months after graduation. This number factors in your living expenses during that period. And yes, quite a lot of it can be discretionary so can be optimized depending on individuals needs/preferences.

  40. Hello Sir,
    I am a mechanical engineer and have 3 yrs of work experiance at Godrej as a Quality Engineer.I had recently quit my job to prepare for CAT.Recently i have also started to study for GMAT and give it a try..I can manage fee upto 20-25 lacks(with loan),but as per the above post and also as per feedbacks from some of my collegues this amount is not enough..Should i give MBA from abroad (US,UK,Singapore,Canada) a try..also my work experiance is in fabrication industry,can i apply for bschools(for marketing) with this experiance.

  41. Manish Sir,

    Thank you for all your replies above. Right now i am pursuing MBA, I am in a dilemma, whether to study from Abroad or India itself. Finance is anyways an issue, but i have heard of scholarships and bank loans, can you please help me out by providing details of scholarships both in Indian & Abroad B-Schools.


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