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Cost of applying

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Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 05:48
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A lot of discussion takes places about the cost of an MBA, but often overlooked is the cost of even just applying. This will of course vary greatly based on a number of factors, but lets see if we can work something out.

Nothing I say below will be anything new to anyone here, if you take the time to figure out how much your applications will cost it will be a lot more accurate than anything I tell you. I just wanted to bring up the topic because going into the application process it never occurred to me that I would be paying upwards of five grand on my applications, and I just wanted to get people thinking about it.

Costs can be broken down into several categories:
    GMAT
  • Study Materials
  • Classes
  • Exam Fees

    Wardrobe
  • Suit
  • Shirt / Ties
  • Shoes

    Visits (per school)
  • Flight / Travel
  • Hotel

    Interviews (per school)
  • Flight / Travel
  • Hotel

    Application (per school)
  • Application Fees
  • Consultant Fees (if applicable)

I'll start by describing my experience, and then maybe try to break down where others may have had other experiences.

For me:
    GMAT
  • Study Materials - $250. I bought most of the Manhattan books and a couple others.
  • Classes - $0. I studied alone and just went over my study materials religiously.
  • Exam Fees - $250. I took the test once and decided it would be a waste of my time to take it again for a 10-20 point increase.
  • Total - $500.

    Wardrobe
  • Suit - $0. I was pretty much set on this.
  • Shirt / Ties - $0.
  • Shoes - $400. Bought a new pair because my other pairs of shoes were getting a bit ragged. You can get a decent pair of shoes for much cheaper than this.

    Visits (per school)
  • Flight / Travel - $200 average. I visited every school I applied to, flight costs will vary depending on city, timing, etc.
  • Hotel - $150. I generally only stayed one night, except for two schools. Sometimes the only option is an expensive but close hotel. About $150 average per visit.
  • Total - $350

    Interviews (per school) - If you're invited to interview, you can expect to pay all the same costs as your visit, except potentially with much higher airfare since it will likely be on shorter notice.
  • Flight / Travel - $300 average. Had a "hilarious" experience where I paid $900 for a ticket DC -> Chicago -> DC. Interview was the monday after Thanksgiving, and I accidentally booked the ticket so I'd be leaving for Chicago on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and returning to DC the day after Christmas (double-whammy Holiday fare). After arriving to the airport to fly home on Monday, I realized my mistake and was charged $150 to move my flight up to. (I had suffered a loss in the family several days before booking my ticket so I wasn't quite all there)
  • Hotel - $150. I generally only stayed one night, except for two schools. Sometimes the only option is an expensive but close hotel. About $150 average per visit.
  • Total - $450

    Application (per school)
  • Application Fees - $200. Most application fees are somewhere in this range.
  • Consultant Fees (if applicable) - $0.
  • Total - $200.

So I spent $500 on the GMAT and then on a per-school basis I spent $550 plus another $450 if I was invited to interview.

I applied to six schools in total, and interviewed everywhere except MIT Sloan. I also interviewed at Kellogg and Tuck on the same trip I visited, so there were no extra costs associated with those.
Grand total ends up at about $5500. In reality it was closer to $4500-5000 because I was able to drive to both Darden and Fuqua.

Main areas that will set your costs apart significantly:
GMAT Courses - these may cost several hundred dollars, but may also reduce the amount of study materials you need. Overall will probably increase your costs though.
GMAT Fees - taking the GMAT costs $250 each time, so if you take it two or three times that will add up.
Wardrobe - If you don't already have a nice suit this will be a serious cost. Prices will vary significantly based on your budget.
Admission Consultants - This could cost you anywhere from several hundred to several thousand depending on what package you choose.
Airfare / Hotels - This will likely be significantly cheaper or significantly more expensive depending on where you are in relation to your schools.
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 06:37
I think you covered pretty much everything jko! Gotta be honest, it pains me to see this as I hadn't really ever laid out how much money I spent applying to all my schools! Coupled with the huge amount we are about to spend to even go to school, yikes! The only positive (I guess) is that since I literally did not hang out or do anything social with people for MONTHS, I saved a lot of money by not going out to dinner, drinks, shopping, and ski trips!
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 07:03
I spent just over $5,000 however I used a consultant($2,850) and took an online GMAT course (Kaplan Advanced was about $800 and more than worth the price!). The military was nice enough to pay for my first GMAT test so at least I didn't have an extra test cost. I was also fortunate enough to link my school visits with business trips and just flew a day early or late so I had no travel costs to get to Chicago or NYC, just paid for the hotel for a night. You could easily spend $10,000 if you visited all your schools and used one of the more expensive consultants like Stacy Blackman, etc.
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 23:36
For me it was quite cheap, less than 1.5K as I got most of the materials from few of my friends.

I stupidly purchased two books of questionable quality in my excitement!!
The additional cost was my GMAT retake as my first one was not "good to go"

What pinched me the most is the application fees. I paid almost $800 as application money. In one school, to pay $100ish application fees, I had to spend additional $60ish as the bank charges as that school did not had an online payment!!

I think more than money was 2 parts

a. Had to cut down many family thingi and the entire family was required to compromise and sacrifice for about 3+ months, 2 months for first GMAT and 1 month for the retake
b. The second was, I definitely neglected my work during that period.
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2013, 08:13
I'm guessing you didn't visit any schools you applied to? Also, only $800 in application fees is pretty cheap. Every school I applied to had a fee of $200-$250 per application. If you think the school that charged $100 was expensive you got off lucky.
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2013, 09:02
I probably spent $3,400 total ($1,100 planes and hotels associated with all visits, interviews, etc. Visited 11 schools & interviewed at 4), $900ish on applications (applied to 5 schools, but Duke's fee was completely waved for me), $300 for GMAT including prep materials, and $1,100 for the Darden deposit + background check fee for the deposit I will never get back :P

I know I beat myself up a bit for not saving more for school, but it can be tough to save much the year you're applying due to all these costs! And I only took the GMAT once without a course...that piece alone can really do you in.
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2013, 16:47
I've spent $280 so far for the GMAT + one book, and I'm not looking forward to paying those application fees. Four schools would already be between $800 and $1,000! Thankfully, I'm a consultant, so I plan on using my hotel points and flex flights to visit schools.
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2013, 17:57
mappleby wrote:
I'm guessing you didn't visit any schools you applied to? Also, only $800 in application fees is pretty cheap. Every school I applied to had a fee of $200-$250 per application. If you think the school that charged $100 was expensive you got off lucky.


Thats why I said it was quite cheap for me.

$800, bcoz I ruthlessly cut down my applications. I just focused on 7 schools only. 2 out of the 7 were free application. I had to drop LBS and HEC for their high application fees. I could have dropped another 2 schools but my family were mesmerized by their brand name and they sponsored the fees!!

I think it is very important to focus on schools, rather than wasting money on each and every ranked school.

$100 application fees was not the pain, the pain was additional $60 that I had to pay to the stupid bank to do a bank transfer to the school!! That was ridiculous but the school did not offered any other alternate option.
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 05 Apr 2013, 18:02
This is a very interesting discussion thread. Many candidates do not consider this as part of the application process, nor do they set aside a budget for this.

I'd like to toss my two cents in the ring on this topic. I would argue that using a qualified MBA admissions consultant can in fact save you some time and money. Hear me out.

An MBA is one of the biggest investments you will make personally and professionally. Why not have an expert assist you through the process to create efficiency and enhance your chances of success? In this way, you won't have to be distracted from your regular job, and your consultant can easily guide you through the process.

When you are buying a house, you are not expected to be an expert in the house buying process. You hire experts to help you evaluate the property, navigate through the real estate procedures, attorneys who ensure that all of the documents are properly filed. Why consider an MBA application any differently?

As a final point of evidence, I can point to a candidate who I've worked with throughout the entire process this year. She was offered a scholarship of $20,000 from her top choice school. I coached her on how to negotiate her scholarship in an appropriate and professional manner. The school just called her back yesterday and doubled her award to $40,000. I can say with absolute confidence that she feels that hiring an MBA admissions consultant is worth every cent.

I'm just one of the many great admissions consultants active on this board. I'm confident that many here would support this argument. Hiring an MBA Admissions Consultant is money well spent.
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2013, 02:42
MBAAdmissionsCoach wrote:
This is a very interesting discussion thread. Many candidates do not consider this as part of the application process, nor do they set aside a budget for this.

I'd like to toss my two cents in the ring on this topic. I would argue that using a qualified MBA admissions consultant can in fact save you some time and money. Hear me out.

An MBA is one of the biggest investments you will make personally and professionally. Why not have an expert assist you through the process to create efficiency and enhance your chances of success? In this way, you won't have to be distracted from your regular job, and your consultant can easily guide you through the process.

When you are buying a house, you are not expected to be an expert in the house buying process. You hire experts to help you evaluate the property, navigate through the real estate procedures, attorneys who ensure that all of the documents are properly filed. Why consider an MBA application any differently?

As a final point of evidence, I can point to a candidate who I've worked with throughout the entire process this year. She was offered a scholarship of $20,000 from her top choice school. I coached her on how to negotiate her scholarship in an appropriate and professional manner. The school just called her back yesterday and doubled her award to $40,000. I can say with absolute confidence that she feels that hiring an MBA admissions consultant is worth every cent.

I'm just one of the many great admissions consultants active on this board. I'm confident that many here would support this argument. Hiring an MBA Admissions Consultant is money well spent.


A double scholarship carrot is a very innovative idea.
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2013, 10:33
:-D
You guys are counting only monetary expenses, but what is about slepless nights, not visited parties, lack of sport and other fun or life activities? Whats about your nerves? Or 3-7kg of additional weight, which you get during the preparation and essay writing and not doing sport?
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2013, 10:49
Ha ha! Great point!

Perhaps it is more agreeable if you think of making some sacrifices now for great success later! :)
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 19 Apr 2013, 05:29
PTK wrote:
:-D
You guys are counting only monetary expenses, but what is about slepless nights, not visited parties, lack of sport and other fun or life activities? Whats about your nerves? Or 3-7kg of additional weight, which you get during the preparation and essay writing and not doing sport?


No joke, my fitness level definitely took the biggest hit. It's easy to make money, but it's hard to get back into shape once you're out of it.
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 19 Apr 2013, 06:07
Expert's post
MBAAdmissionsCoach wrote:
Ha ha! Great point!

Perhaps it is more agreeable if you think of making some sacrifices now for great success later! :)


I agree with the overarching theme of this thread: It can cost some money to apply to these schools, so you have to be somewhat smart about it. Of course, if you go to 5 interviews in 5 different locations, you also get to travel and have unique experiences that you can draw on during your B-school experience or even later in life.

I can think of a simpler (and cheaper) parallel example where you're looking for a car and you go to 5-6 dealerships to take test drives. It's a waste of time and money since you only end up getting one car from one dealership, but don't you feel happier that you tried them out and picked the one that was best suited for you? And if nothing else, hey you took a Mercedes out for a test drive on the highway! :wink:

Think of this experience as an investment. An investment that may cost you a little money but will nonetheless make you richer for it.
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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2013, 15:15
Expert's post
I think everyone on this board has had some great points. One additional bucket I would like to throw out there is the cost of "thank you"s. To all the people who have provided recommendations or reviewed your essays, these are the people in your network who have confidence in you and have given up their time to help you through the process. These relationships are valuable and worth cultivating. The cost of this bucket can vary based upon how many people you engage, how close you are, and what level of effort they put forward. A small gesture can go a long way to cementing a relationship!

Another point I would like to make is the importance of the school visits. Yes, it is a significant cost but it can be the difference between a good essay and a great essay, which, in turn, can be the difference between a ding and an accept. It gives you the connections and stories you need to make your "Why <Insert Program Name>" stand out. It tells the adcoms you are interested and excited!

Just my $0.02! Good luck all!

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Re: Cost of applying [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2013, 20:20
Here is a link for gift ideas

gifts-for-recommenders-105925.html
Re: Cost of applying   [#permalink] 25 Apr 2013, 20:20
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