[[Editor’s note: Article updated in July 2021]] The tuition fees for the elite business schools coupled with the other expenses, put them out of reach for many cost-conscious international students.
Read this related post on MBA costs at the best bschools.
It also doesn’t help to create a list of global MBA programs with the lowest fee structure.
The ‘cheapest’ colleges in the world offering the ‘lowest’ fee will usually have other baggage to deal with – like low ranking, bad faculty, sub-par quality of teaching, and the biggest one – very low market value of the degree.
It’s all about striking the right balance – a good ranking MBA with low fees. We stick to the 100 best business schools (FT100) and then filter out the top 40 based on their affordability.
The 40 most affordable business schools in the world
High quality MBA programs with low fee structure
An international MBA program comes with a steep price tag. The tuition fee alone shoots over $155,000 for The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, over $143,000 for Columbia Business School and above $137,000 for the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Does that mean that the higher the fees you pay, the better the takeaway? Well, not really. In fact, it’s the other way around if your primary focus is on getting ‘value’. Read this article on the best value programs in the world.
It’s also a fact that not everyone can make it to these elite MBA programs. And obviously not all international students can afford to shell out such a huge amount as the total expense adds up and goes much higher after adding the various other associated costs like living expense, health insurance, travel, books, international trips and so on.
However, there are many more business schools that have a good reputation and can give you a good quality, international MBA degree at a much lower cost.
We have listed below some (not exhaustive) of the business schools that have performed well in the FT global MBA rankings and which offer low tuition fees less than $100,000.
|FT Rank 2021||Business School||Approx. Total Tuition fees|
|94||IIM Indore (India)||$23,000|
|35||IIM Bangalore (IIMB) PGP (India)||$31,000|
|48||IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA) PGP (India)||$31,000|
|67||Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (China)||$31,000|
|94||University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (South Africa)||$35,600|
|44||Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (India)||$36,000|
|35||Sungkyunkwan University GSB (South Korea)||$43,500|
|74||Durham University Business School (UK)||$46,000|
|96||Lancaster University Management School (UK)||$46,000|
|37||Nanyang Business School (NTU) (Singapore)||$46,000|
|90||EMLyon Business School (France)||$46,000|
|78||EADA Business School (Spain)||$46,300|
|82||The Lisbon MBA (Portugal)||$47,000|
|58||University of Mannheim-Mannheim Business School (Germany)||$47,000|
|54||WHU Beisheim (Germany)||$48,000|
|14||National University of Singapore (NUS) (Singapore)||$49,000|
|23||Indian School of Business (ISB)||$49,000|
|58||Singapore Management University, Lee Kong Chian (Singapore)||$50,000|
|53||Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Antai (China)||$51,000|
|80||ESMT Berlin (Germany)||$52,000|
|98||Copenhagen Business School (Denmark)||$52,500|
|81||Essec Business School (France)||$55,000|
|32||Warwick Business School (UK)||$61,000|
|39||IE Business School(Spain)||$61,000|
|40||University of Florida, Hough Warrington (USA)||$62,000|
|79||AGSM at UNSW Business School (Australia)||$62,000|
|30||University of Manchester, Alliance Manchester (UK)||$63,000|
|32||Fudan University School of Management (China)||$65,000|
|64||University of St. Gallen (Switzerland)||$65,000|
|73||University of Texas at Dallas, Jindal (USA)||$65,000|
|87||Melbourne Business School (Australia)||$68,300|
|12||SDA Bocconi (Italy)||$70,000|
|48||CUHK Business School (Hong Kong)||$72,000|
|22||HKUST Business School (Hong Kong)||$75,300|
|29||HKU Business School (Hong Kong)||$75,600|
|63||Erasmus University-Rotterdam School of Management(RSM) (Netherlands)||$78,000|
|91||McGill University, Desautels (Canada)||$80,000|
|16||University of Cambridge (Judge) (UK)||$85,000|
[Note: Tuition fees taken from bschool websites (and converted into USD) on 2nd August, 2021]
As the list includes both one year and two year programs, it’s obvious to see the shorter duration programs dominating the list. Most of the US based MBA programs have a duration of two years (which means two years of tuition). The b-schools in India, UK and Europe offer shorter one-year MBA programs. Each of these programs has varying minimum work experience requirement, so select your business schools accordingly.
The shorter the duration of the MBA program, the lower will be the living expense and the opportunity costs (forgone income during your study period) as well. Select the college taking into account your financial scenario as well as a decent brand that can offer you a good ROI (return on investment).
The tuition fees tend to increase each year, so verify the latest updated tuition amount while considering your MBA costs. Also explore the various options for financial aid including the ease of obtaining loans, MBA scholarships and various assistantship opportunities.
There may be many other good, economical programs that we haven’t been able to include in the list (for the sake of brevity or plain oversight). Let us know in the comments if you have any favorite business schools that applicants should consider while applying.
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While we’re on the topic of saving money, before you pump all your money into any full-time degree, try out these free online business courses from top universities.
GMAC owned news site, BusinessBecause recommends MBA Crystal Ball for cost-conscious applicants looking for affordable MBA admissions consulting.