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Elite MBA Programs' Record-Breaking Costs

According to an analysis by Poets and Quants, Stanford's Graduate School of Business outranks every other business school in the world when it comes to one important factor: the price tag for its MBA program. The cost of a Stanford business degree has risen by $18,242, or 10.9 percent, in just two years, causing it to jump from third to first place as the most expensive MBA program in the world. This year, the school's estimated price for its two-year full-time MBA program is a record-breaking $185,054.

Currently, a Stanford MBA is likely to cost over $10,000 more than an MBA from its top rival, Harvard Business School, despite Harvard's pricey location in the Boston metropolitan area. The actual gap between Stanford and Harvard MBAs is even wider, reports Poets and Quants, because of the average $26,745 in annual fellowship money that HBS students receive. Stanford also outprices nearby UC-Berkeley's Haas School of Business by $25,860 and ousts Columbia School of Business from its former place as most expensive MBA program.

While MBA tuition at Stanford is only $57,300 per year, the overall estimated price tag includes additional costs such as books, supplies, fees, medical insurance, living expenses, and $4,000 for a global study program. Poets and Quants notes that the estimated figures given by business schools "tend to be conservative," often underestimating the personal expenses incurred by students at elite MBA programs and discounting the expected 3 to 5 percent tuition increase in a student's second year.

Fortunately, starting salaries for Stanford MBAs after graduation can be high enough to mitigate the cost of the degree. For graduates fresh out of the elite MBA program this year, Poets and Quants reports that "median total compensation" was $185,000.