Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Stanford MBA price tag hits $185K: Highest in the world

December 7, 2012: 1:53 PM ET

The total cost to attend Stanford's prestigious business school has jumped by $18,242 in just two years, besting Columbia as the world's most expensive MBA program.

By John A. Byrne

(Poets&Quants) -- Stanford's Graduate School of Business has leapfrogged the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and Columbia Business School to become the most expensive two-year MBA program in the world, according to an analysis by Poets&Quants.

This year, Stanford is telling applicants that the estimated cost of its two-year, full-time MBA program is a whopping $185,054, a new record. That is some $18,242 more than Stanford said it would cost an MBA student only two years ago, when Columbia was the school with the most expensive MBA program in the world. At that time, Columbia estimated that the cost to attend its MBA program was $168,307, while third-place Stanford's price tag was $166,812. In just two years, Stanford's estimated cost of the degree has risen by 10.9%, though the estimate includes a $4,000 global study trip.

Harvard Business School, Stanford's No. 1 rival, now costs over $20,000 less in estimated charges, even though it is in pricey Boston. The Stanford program is also $25,860 more than the cost of an MBA for a non-resident student at nearby UC-Berkeley's Haas School of Business. The actual difference between Harvard and Stanford is even greater because Harvard hands out an average $26,745 in annual fellowship money for its MBA students, far more than any other business school.

The total cost of the Stanford program includes two years worth of tuition, fees, books and supplies, mandatory medical insurance, the estimated costs to live and eat in Silicon Valley, and the $4,000 cost for a global study trip. Stanford says that its $23,391 estimate for rent, food, and personal expenses is for a "moderate lifestyle."

But as often is the case, these estimated numbers by the business schools tend to be conservative. They rarely include the inevitable 3% to 5% increase in tuition during a student's second year. And they tend to underestimate the "personal costs" of attending an elite MBA program, from expensive dinners out with friends to traveling to ski resorts over long weekends with new student friends. More

Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.