What should be in your MBA budget

Knowing how much money you’ll need to see your MBA through is an absolutely essential part of preparing for a successful year of study. That said, putting together a realistic budget for you MBA can seem a little intimidating at first. The academic fees alone can be daunting, and then there’s everything else to account for: accommodation, travel, study materials, and so on. Phew!

Don’t let the numbers intimidate you, however. It’s important to remember that once you’ve graduated, you’ll be eligible for a much better position and a higher salary. In fact, it’s estimated that you’ll be able to make back everything you spent on your MBA in a few years. When you look at things from this long-term perspective, it becomes clear that pursuing an MBA makes financial sense.

Include the following in your MBA budget:

  • MBA tuition cost;
  • Books and other study materials or equipment;
  • Accommodation and living expenses;
  • Daily travel expenses;
  • Field trips, possibly including international travel;
  • Health and liability insurance;
  • A laptop if you don’t already own one;
  • Entertainment.

What each of the above line items amounts to will of course depend on which MBA program you undertake and where you will be living for the duration of your studies.

Find ways to cut costs while abroad.

Pursuing an MBA with an international focus makes a lot of sense in today’s hyper-connected business world. Not only will you have the opportunity to experience foreign businesses practices first-hand on field trips and company visits, you’ll also get to work side-by-side with classmates who have a diverse range of backgrounds and nationalities. You’ll come away with invaluable business knowledge and experience, as well as intercultural understanding and a global network of useful business contacts.

Of course, international experience comes with a price tag. Living, studying, and travelling abroad can be expensive. However, there are ways to significantly cut costs and keep expenses down, without compromising the experience. Food, transport, and entertainment are all areas where you can make significant savings by taking advantage of student discounts and other specials. Even the most notoriously expensive cities offer some great deals. Take the time to do thorough research into available discounted activities and deals in the cities or towns you’ll be spending time in during your MBA studies.

For example, through ALEGESSEC, ESSEC’s student housing association, ESSEC Business School offers comfortable and well-equipped rooms and studio apartments near the campus in France. While Paris is considered an expensive place to live, many students are able to enjoy great savings by taking advantage of various discounted services in the city. For instance, students with an official lease and a low income can be eligible for housing assistance through CAF (Caisse des Allocations Familiales) that can amount to a few hundred Euros per month. In addition, using apps like La Fourchette to book at selected Parisian restaurants can see you getting up to 50% off the r bill. When it comes to transport, getting a NAVIGO pass for just two euros per day gives access to all public transport in and around Paris. These are just a few of the ways MBA candidates can save money while still enjoying an incredible city like Paris.

Take advantage of scholarships and financial aid where possible.

Another way to ease the financial demands of an MBA is by applying for funding, bursaries, and scholarships. There are all kinds of scholarships available to MBA candidates, so make sure you research all your options. Some scholarships are awarded based on outstanding GMAT scores or perceived leadership qualities, while financial aid is need-based or only available to specific groups or minorities. Some schools even offer ‘early bird’ discounts to candidates who submit their MBA applications before a set date. This is a really simple way to lower your MBA costs.

By taking advantage of scholarships and funding and finding smart ways to cut costs during your studies abroad, MBA candidates really can make studying financially viable. If studying and living in Paris or Singapore appeals to you, check out the ESSEC Global MBA brochure. If you’d like to discuss financing your MBA studies, why not get in touch with one of our student advisors?  

Still not sure which MBA program is the best fit for you? Our free guide, How to find the perfect MBA, is designed to help prospective MBA candidates like you choose an MBA program that’s guaranteed to help you thrive in your professional life.

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