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Year over year, our alumni share that the investment in a Booth MBA continues to pay dividends well beyond their time as a student—whether that be in the Booth brand, strength of the global network, or demonstration of career success. 

With that in mind, it’s important to begin by planning your finances, inclusive of the cost of the program.

Here’s some advice from our office of Financial Aid to help you plan how you can finance your future MBA.

Think beyond the “sticker price”
There’s no denying that there is a cost associated with an MBA. That said, there is significant return on investment for your degree. Chicago Booth was recently ranked #1 on Forbes’ look at the best American business schools—a ranking that focuses solely on the return on investment for graduates. This helps you to contextualize the distinct advantages of a Booth MBA and the salary expectations you may experience in your future career. Within three months of graduation, 96 percent of the Class of 2018 had received a job offer. This can help set your mind at ease when it comes to understanding the position you will be in upon graduation.

Know what expenses to expect
A good place to start is by looking at the current tuition rate. Even if you aren’t planning to apply in this cycle, you can begin to calculate a close approximation of costs now. It’s helpful to see estimates for things such as renting an apartment, buying a computer, food, textbooks, and health insurance. These are all expenses that will need to be factored in.

Plan for the unexpected
Your MBA costs won’t be limited to tuition and the necessities mentioned above. The program will offer ample opportunities to connect with the community through trips and other travel, including:

  • Career Treks to meet alumni and industry leaders in cities across the US and internationally during academic breaks
  • Random Walk trips with fellow incoming classmates before school begins
  • Student-led excursions during spring and winter break with fellow Boothies, such as the annual Ski Trip and trip to Colombia

You may also incur fees associated with student groups. Not to mention the endless possibilities of exploring the city of Chicago. So, make sure you’re able to take full advantage of the full experience by planning ahead for these less expected, yet life changing opportunities!

Be in the driver’s seat
How far your money will take you ultimately depends on you and your choices. Those choices are vast once the program kicks off, but also include your decision to begin setting aside a portion of your salary as savings for your MBA experience. The sooner you develop a thoughtful, proactive savings plan, the more flexible you can be in Booth’s choice-rich environment. While the choices are endless, be mindful in finding the right balance for you and be strategic with your spending. One way to save some money, for example, is to live with a roommate, which will give you significant savings in housing costs. You may also be able to take advantage of frequent flier miles, already owning a laptop, and even making use of Chicago’s great public transit!

Research other funding options
In addition to applying for federal or private student loans, doing the work to find other funding options will pay off. Does your employer offer MBA sponsorship, or any type of tuition assistance? If so, is it in your best interest to utilize such funds? Are there agencies or associations you know of or are connected to that offer scholarship or fellowship? Many students have found success doing a broad scholarship search using big aggregate databases like scholarships.com or fastweb.com.

Getting a handle on your financing doesn’t need to feel daunting. There’s no one right way to fund your education, only a right way for you. For more questions, visit our website or reach us at financial.aid@chicagobooth.edu.

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