The Cost of an International MBA Experience

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Getting an MBA abroad is one of life’s most rewarding ventures. It can also be one of the most expensive—what should you consider before making the move?

Questions. You’ll need to answer many of them if you’re serious about an international MBA degree. Consider these to get your best cost estimate:

  1. In what country will I study?
  2. How much does that country’s program cost?
  3. What is the currency exchange rate?
  4. Do I want a 1-year or 2-year program?
  5. How long do I plan to stay in that country?
  6. How much will living expenses cost (either for myself or with my family)?

Beyond these are costs you’ll also need to factor in before you leave, such as airfare, insurance, and visas. The best way to determine the total cost of your international business masters degree is to contact the International Students department at your sponsoring institution or program.

Global tuition fees at a glance

Tuition costs vary widely, depending on the country and university you choose. While an MBA in US universities can run as high as $384, 200 (including lost wages), there are more affordable MBA degrees in the United States and abroad. For example, Chinese universities are much less than the United States, with an MBA costing approximately Yuan 11,480 to 20,880 ($1,700 to 3,000) per academic year.

While exploring your international business masters degree options, check with each university for the most accurate information about tuition and fee structures. Then consider these key points about financing:

  • The kind institution you’ll get a loan from.
  • If the loan is collateral-based or not.
  • The loan’s interest rate and how it is calibrated.
  • When loan payments start, and how long the repayment term is.

Fortunately, you have many financing options. The most recent Graduate Management Admission Council’s™ Prospective Students Survey shows your peers funding their graduate degree in a variety of ways from a combination of grants, fellowships, scholarships, and loans.

Financial aid options

If you’ve been admitted to an international MBA degree program but face economical obstacles, there are many resources to tap. For instance, NAFSA is an association of international educators that provides a wealth of student funding, scholarship, and grant resources. Many universities offer financial aid and need-based grants, so it’s important to determine all of your options before you apply. Other financial sources include scholarships, and grants from loans and trusts.

Exploring educational loans

Once accepted to your chosen university, there are many loan options to consider. The two main categories include federal student loans and private student loans.

Federal student loans are made by the government with terms and conditions set by law and include benefits like fixed interest rates and income-driven repayment plans. There are several federal loan options available through the US Government.

Private loans are available through organizations such banks, credit unions, and state-based or state-affiliated institutions, and have terms and conditions set by the lender. They are generally more expensive than federal student loans, but include benefits such as tax-deductible interest and no prepayment penalties.

Is an MBA worth your investment?

As with any future event, it’s impossible to determine the exact outcome of getting a graduate business degree abroad. But with a comprehensive approach to calculating the worth of your MBA endeavor, you can get a comfortably accurate picture of an MBA’s ROI (return on investment).

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