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Financing your International MBA

When one applies to study at a top global business school, they put in a lot of thought into crafting the best application which would allow them to secure a seat at the MBA program. However one of the biggest, and critical decisions to make comes after you’ve gotten the admit; how do you pay for your MBA program?


MBA programs can cost up to 120K USD per year!

What are the Costs?


When you move to a foreign country to complete your MBA, there are many types of costs that come up, including,

  • Tuition

  • Accommodation

  • Food & drink

  • Academic provisions (books, laptop etc.)

  • Travel expenses (for exchange programs, semester abroad programs)


While many of the costs are quite variable depending on how lavishly or frugally you choose to live, the one definite cost is the tuition fees. So how much does it cost to get an MBA today around the world?


  • Harvard Business School: $111,818 per year (including on campus boarding)

  • Insead: €87,000

  • London Business School: £87,900

As you can clearly see, the cost to attend any of these schools is extremely high, with the US schools being among the highest due to the fact that they are 2 year programs. So when the costs are so high, what options do students have to finance their studies?


There are many, and we explore them below.

  • Need-based scholarships

  • Merit-based scholarships

  • Savings & Family Support

  • Company Sponsorships

  • External Loans


Need-Based Scholarships


Some business schools, particularly in the US, have huge grants of funds which they used to award need based scholarships to their students every year to assist them in their MBA journey. As the name suggests, they are based on a student’s financial position and not on merit. These are typically awarded by the school themselves without a separate scholarship application.


The amounts awarded can be quite significant as well - Harvard awards its students an average of $84,000 over the course of its 2 year program.


Merit-Based Scholarships


Business schools always look to reward their best candidates, and one of the most common ways it does so is through the granting of merit based scholarships. These could be given to students on the basis of academics, work in a particular sector, or just the overall strength of your application.


Students are normally automatically considered for merit based scholarships offered by the school directly, however there are also many external/specific merit based scholarships which students have to apply for separately. These could be based on your country of origin/the program you’re applying to/the country you’re studying in etc.


A few examples of famous external scholarships are,