This is Expensive

An MBA is an expensive investment in your career.


The New York Times has a great story from 2014 about MBA students dropping $1k to go skiing in Park City, UT for a weekend- to, you know, bond...this may be something you're into and can afford to do, but before we even get to school these are the fees to be aware of:


  • The GMAT

    • GMAT study materials (happy to share mine if you email me)

    • A GMAT prep course

      • Can be a formal course such as Manhattan GMAT (they're owned by Kaplan btw)

      • Hiring a tutor I found 2 of the three I used on good old craigslist

      • Self-Study my two favorites were Magoosh and Target Test Prep

      • A new cool FREE GMAT mentor program- I used it and improved my score significantly!

    • Registering for the GMAT

      • Taking the test more than once is quite possible

      • Sending score reports to schools after the fact (you can send your score to up to 5 programs when you sit for the exam) after that it is $35

        • Note: if applying to the Consortium, you send a single score report to the organization rather than one report to each school 

  • Application Fees

    • $200 for each program adds up

  • Consultant or Essay Support

    • Depending on your decision to use an admissions consultant or essay service you can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your application expenses.

  • Visiting Programs 

  • Transportation and Lodging for 24-48 hour visits to campus to demonstrate your strong interest in a program and get on their radar by sitting in on a class or going on a tour. It is important to note that some programs offer diversity days which provide a day or two focused on inclusivity efforts by the program. More details to follow soon!

  • Interviewing on Campus

    • Once you get the interview invitation you probably want to go visit if its a top choice program for you


All told, I spent upwards of $3k just applying. Sure I could have done it for much cheaper, but I was looking to maximize my choices.


Looking to maximize my application options, I made sure to turn to the Consortium for 6 of the 8 applications I ultimately submitted. It was the single greatest tool in my MBA toolkit. A common application which allows one to apply to up to 6 programs for one low flat rate AND be eligible for the incredible fellowship which covers 2 years of tuition and fees AS LONG AS you meet the criteria of the mission.


Aside from the Consortium, there are numerous scholarships and fellowships to offset and/or completely cover the cost of attendance (NOT living expenses) including:

Once admitted into an MBA program a deposit of $1000-$3000 is required by a certain deadline. Before this deadline, you will be invited to an Admitted Students weekend where you will be wined and dined into accepting their offer of admission- some schools cover the cost of attending this weekend especially if you are a minority applicant. But beware you may have to fly out to your top choice schools again.


Once you put down the deposit for school you are going to have to figure out how to move (assuming you are leaving your current location) which will likely involve, apartment hunting, organizing movers and way more. Figuring out how to pay for an apartment when you will have $0 in income is also a thing.

Finally you will receive your first tuition bill for tens of thousands of dollars and need to make sure you account for health insurance and other costs (Pro Tip: if you currently receive health insurance from your employer try to determine the last possible date you must work to remain insured for the month you are transitioning into an MBA program because COBRA is expensive!)


NOW that you are a tuition-paying MBA candidate the big money spending begins! DO you fly to Utah for the ski weekend with your potential future business partners or spend the weekend at home catching up on financial accounting homework and eat ramen in your pajamas? Opportunity costs are complicated so is the time value of money. I like to YOLO, but I also really want to be fiscally solvent at the end of all this.


Don't forget the recruiting process involves travel as well. Recruiting is not only about waiting for big name employers to come to campus. If your school treks out to Silicon Valley and you really want a job in tech, it probably makes sense to bite the bullet and go.

Holiday trips back to visit the family plus saving for summer rent in the city you do your summer internship in are all things to remember.

Depending on the school you ultimately attend, there may be side hustles in your future including assistantships and supporting professor research, but they are likely to be competitive and not pay as much as you may need to sustain your MBA-ing.

Yep, business school sure is an expensive proposition. It is exhausting to think about all the potential costs in my future, but hopefully, I will be able to figure out and share ways to do it all on the cheap.

Stay tuned.