The 10 Most Expensive Business Schools In America

When college graduates are thinking about which business school to apply for, it’s highly likely that cost is a factor in their decision. With mounting student debt in America, cost of education is more important than ever, and it is often a major sway between one school or another.

While there are more affordable public and private business schools, students still look with bright, wide eyes to the top schools in the nation. However, many of the best are also the most expensive. Annual tuition for the top 10 on this year’s list costs anywhere from $56,530 to $63,288, which is up to nearly $19,000 more than the average U.S. annual salary as of 2012.

These figures are based on the annual U.S. News & World Report, which also reports that the average yearly costs for tuition at the top 10 most expensive business schools rose from $56,059 for the 2011-2012 school year to $58,928 for the 2012-2013 school year. That’s an approximate increase of $2,869, or about five percent. The 2012-2013 figure was also about a $6,150 increase from 2010, or about 11 percent. The costs of higher education generally increase by about 3 to 5 percent each year, and business schools are no different.

At business school, students learn the ins and outs of not only business, but also the business world, and part of what they are paying for is connections, prestige and the name attached to their MBA certificates. Right out of these business schools, many graduates are making more than $100,000 per year base salary. The stakes are higher, and competition is fierce this close to the top, but in the end, students have to ask themselves if the high price tag of the education is worth it.

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10 Yale University – Yale School Of Management

Yearly Tuition:$56,530

Ranked No. 13 on the U.S. News best business school list, Yale School of Management remains at No. 10 on the U.S. News’ list of most expensive business schools for both school years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.  Year over year, Yale increased its tuition by $2,630, or 4.9 percent.

The class of 2015 has 291 students, an increase of 42 students over the Class of 2014. Of these 291 students, 39 percent are women, 22 percent are U.S. minorities, and 32 percent are international students. Their average GMAT was a 714 out of a range of 690 to 740, and their undergraduate GPA was a 3.57 out of a range of 3.36 to 3.8.

As for employment statistics, of 230 students in the Class of 2013, 203 students, or 88.3 percent of the class, were seeking employment. Out of those 203, 91.1 percent received job offers three months post-graduation, and 85.2 percent accepted job offers three months post-graduation. Of the 25 students not seeking employment, 10 were starting their own business, seven were company-sponsored, five were postponing their searches, and three were continuing their education. In terms of overall salary data, the median annual base salary was $110,000, with the 25th percentile being $100,000 and the 75th percentile being $128,750.

9 Northwestern University – Kellogg School Of Management

Yearly Tuition: $56,775

Northwestern University, currently ranked as the No. 4 best business school in the country by U.S. News, maintains its position at No. 9 on the most expensive business school from school years 2011-2012 to 2012-2013. Year over year, the school increased its tuition by 4.7 percent.

For the MBA Class beginning in 2013 (the Class of 2014 or 2015, depending on program chosen), 5564 applicants were narrowed down to 652 enrolled students, who enrolled in either the two-year or one-year MBA programs, the MMM program or the JD-MBA. Of these enrolled students, 36 percent are women, 20 percent are U.S. minority students, and 36 percent are of international citizenship.

The average age of this MBA class is 28. They scored an average of 715 on the GMAT: 5 percent scored up to 640, 15 percent scored 650 to 690, 60 percent scored 700 to 740 and 19 percent scored 750 to 800. Their work experience ranged from two to 12 years.

8 Cornell University – Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School Of Management

Yearly Tuition: $56,811

Ranked No. 16 on the U.S. News best business school list, Johnson at Cornell comes in at No. 8 on the list of most expensive business schools. Johnson did not appear on U.S. News’ list of top 10 most expensive business schools for the 2011-2012 school year. Based on what it would have cost to be on the list last year, Johnson must have raised its tuition by no less than 5.4 percent year over year to be where it is on the list this year.

For the Class of 2015, Johnson enrolled 279 students with a median GPA of 3.3 and a median GMAT of 700. Of these students, 30 percent are women, 34 percent are minorities, and 28 percent are international students representing 31 countries. Also, 5 percent are military. Students had worked an average of 5 years by time of admission.

As for employment following graduation, out of 282 graduates for class 2012, 255 were seeking employment and 90 percent of those graduates were accepting offers as of graduation 2012. Of those accepting jobs, 90 percent reported their base salary, which was a mean salary of $106,100. Also of those accepting jobs, 74 percent of graduates reported earning a signing bonus, which was a mean bonus of $25,940.

7 University of Chicago – Booth School Of Business

Yearly Tuition: $56,931

University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business ranks at No. 6 on U.S. News’ list of best business schools in the U.S. and comes at a comparable No. 7 spot on the most expensive schools list as well. This is one spot higher than 2011-2012, when Booth was No. 8 with an annual tuition of $54,252. For 2012-2013, annual tuition increased by $2,679, or about 5 percent.

For MBA Class of 2015, 35 percent of enrolled students are women, 24 percent are minorities, and 36 percent are international students who represent 52 countries. The average GMAT score is 723, the average GPA is a 3.57 out of a range of 3.2 to 3.9, and the average work experience is five years.

Booth performs consistently well in top rankings of business schools in the country and sometimes even the world. Several media have placed Booth in their top 10 or higher: BusinessWeek at No. 1 in 2012, Forbes at No. 2 in 2013, Financial Times at No. 6 in 2013 and The Economist at No. 1 both nationally and globally in 2013.

6 Stanford University – Stanford Graduate School Of Business

Yearly Tuition: $57,300

The cheaper alternative of the No. 1 U.S. News best business school rank (tied for No. 1 with Harvard), Stanford University still carries a hefty price tag of $57,300. It fell from its position at No. 5 in 2012, when it was at $55,200, but still increased its annual tuition by $2,100 from year over year, or 3.8 percent.

For its MBA Class of 2015, Stanford enrolled 406 students, which is the largest class in the history of the business school, out of 7,108 applications. This includes 36 percent women and 21 percent minorities, both of which are increases from the previous year, and 41 percent international students, which is a record number as well. Enrollment numbers have slightly increased each year since at least the Class of 2012 (based on data given).

As for enrolled students in the Class of 2015, the average GMAT score was 732 out of a range of 550 to 790. The average years of work experience was four years out of a range of zero to 12. Fifty-one percent of these students have degrees in humanities or social sciences, 35 percent in engineering, mathematics or natural sciences and 14 percent in business. Fifteen percent hold advanced degrees.

5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Sloan School Of Management

Yearly Tuition: $58,200

MIT’s Sloan School of Management enjoys a No. 4 U.S. News rank for best business schools. Sloan actually did not rank at all in the top 10 most expensive business schools for the 2011-2012 school year, but it jumped to No. 5 for 2012-2013. To not be on the list in 2011-2012, MIT’s tuition must have increased no less than 8 percent year over year.

Sloan’s admissions selectivity is 13 percent. In 2015, the demographics of enrolled students include 34 percent women and 41 percent international students, and the average age is 28, with a range of 22 to 37. The average GPA of all accepted students is a 3.6, and the GMAT average is 713, with the range of the middle 80 percent being 670 to 760. Work experience ranges from zero to 13 years, but the average is five years.

As for employment upon graduation, MIT’s website states, “We are committed to connecting students with a diversity of opportunities—resulting in approximately 75% of graduates finding full-time work through the School (Our personalized approach to meeting the needs of the wide variety of firms that recruit MIT Sloan students and graduates ensures you will receive the attention you desire from MIT Sloan).”

4 Dartmouth College – Tuck School Of Business

Yearly Tuition: $60,510

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College ranks No. 9 on U.S. News’ best business school list. Dartmouth remained at the No. 4 position for most expensive business schools for both the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years. Annual tuition rose from $56,555 in 2011-2012 to $60,510 in 2012-2013—a jump of $3,955, or 7 percent year over year.

For the Class of 2015, 277 students enrolled at Tuck School of Business, including 33 percent women, 16 percent U.S. minorities and 31 percent international students, for a total of 30 nationalities represented. Students’ average years of work experience was five years, 100 percent full-time in a variety of business sectors. The average GMAT test score was a 718, and the enrolled-student range was between 530 and 780.

Tuck generally ranks high on best business school lists. In 2013, it ranked well in several of these lists: The Economist at No. 2, Forbes at No. 6, Financial Times at No. 10 in the U.S. and No. 16 worldwide, and Bloomberg Businessweek at No. 12. Since 2000, Tuck has ranked No. 1 eight times in 60 rankings and has been in the top 10 85 percent of the time. For The Wall Street Journal rankings between 2001 and 2007, Tuck consistently placed in the top three spots.

3 Columbia University – Columbia Business School

Yearly Tuition: $60,896

U.S. News ranked Columbia Business School as the No. 8 best business school in the country, and it comes in as the third most expensive. Columbia dropped from its rank as No. 2 most expensive business school in 2012, but year over year, Columbia’s annual tuition rose $2,546 for a 4 percent increase.

For the class entering in 2013 (January and August), the school received 5,765 applications and admitted 1,044 students, for an acceptance rate of 18 percent, and 749 students enrolled for a yield of 72 percent. This included 36 percent women, 34 percent minorities of U.S. origin and 36 percent international citizens. For the doctoral programs, the total average of students accepted for all departments was about 2 percent.

The school’s average GMAT score was a 716, and the middle 80 percent score was 680 to 760. The student average for work experience was five years and three to seven years for the middle 80 percent. Ninety-nine percent of students had at least one year of work experience. Students’ average age was 28, and the middle 80 percent ranged from 25 to 30.

2 University Of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School

Yearly Tuition: $62,034

The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania is ranked as the No. 3 best college by U.S. News. It rose from its position as the No. 3 most expensive business school in 2011-2012. Year over year, Wharton added nearly $3,800 to its annual tuition, for a 6.5 percent increase.

For the Class of 2015, out of 6,036 applications, Wharton enrolled 837 students. Of this class, 42 percent are female, 30 percent are minorities, and 35 percent are international students, representing 71 countries. The average GMAT was a 725 out of a middle 80 percent range of 690 to 760, though the overall range was 630 to 790. The average years of work experience was five years out of a range of zero to 13 years.

As of October 2013, Wharton has 1,737 students in its MBA program, 424 students in its MBA program for executives and 193 in its Doctoral program. Its academic departments include Accounting, Business Economics and Public Policy, Finance, Health Care Management, Legal Studies and Business Ethics, Management, Marketing, Operations and Information Management, Real Estate and Statistics.

1 Harvard University – Harvard Business School

Yearly Tuition: $63,288

Tied for the No. 1 U.S. News business school rank with Stanford University, Harvard Business School also maintains its No. 1 position as most expensive business school for both 2012-2013 and 2011-2012 school years. Year over year, the school added more than $2,600 to its annual tuition for a 4 percent increase.

Harvard Business School’s Class of 2014 had 913 MBA candidates out of 8,963 applicants, and Class of 2015 has 932 candidates out of 9,315 applicants. The school accepted 13 percent of applicants for the Class of 2014 and yielded 89 percent of admitted students in actual attendance. For the Class of 2015, with more applicants, the percent of applicants admitted dropped to 12 percent though yield stayed the same at 89 percent. For the Class of 2014, HBS accepted 40 percent women, 24 percent minorities and 34 percent international students, and for the Class of 2015 those numbers increased to 41 percent women, 25 percent minorities and stayed the same at 34 percent international students.

HBS offers DBA programs in Accounting and Management, Management, Marketing, Strategy and Technology and Operations Management. They also offer PhD programs in Business Economics, Organizational Behavior and Health Policy (Management).

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