The Tuesday Q&A: The Price of B-School

MBA FAQ, MBA frequently asked questions, bschool questions, mba questionsQuestion:

The acceptance letters are coming in! I’ve got a question, though. When I’m looking at which b-school to attend, should I take the price of a program into account?


This is what I like to call a “first-world” problem. Congrats on all of the offers, it’s a conundrum that PLENTY of your fellow applicants wish they were facing. Now, there’s a very simple and straightforward answer to your question, so let’s drop it on you.

Should price play a role in your choice? Absolutely not. Ignore costs. First of all, all schools preeetty much cost the same. Are some more expensive than others? Of course. But in the top 30 or so, their relative tuitions are preeeeeeety close to one another.  So what are we arguing about? $5K? Nah, forget all that.

Now, the question behind the question – are you getting offered money to go to any of these programs? What if you get a scholarship? That’s “real money,” right? So, you know what you do? IGNORE IT. You’re getting a scholarship because you’re likely overqualified for that particular program. Like the 12th ranked school is offering you money, but you got accepted without scholarship to the 2nd ranked school. Do you want to be a first-tier student at a second-tier program? Nah, dude.

So when it comes to the scholarships helping to make your choices, ignore them. You’ll make back that $10K or whatever in a year (or six months) if you go to a great school. “But Jon, they offered me a free ride!” So what?! That’s just $60K. You’ll make it back in TWO years if you go to a great school, not a bad one.

Picking up a pattern here? Ignore money, go to the best school you can get into.

By the way, good chance you get MORE money than you think (even if they’re slow to offer it). Just because it didn’t come in your offer, you may get money later. Just sit tight and go to the best school you can get into, man. I got $5K every semester, but didn’t find out until later, from HBS.

Long term, an extra $20K here or there won’t make a difference. You’ll make 10x that much, even 100x that much, if you go to a GREAT school instead of a good one.

–Jon Frank

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