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Actual cost of a Columbia MBA

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Actual cost of a Columbia MBA [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2014, 17:29
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EDIT: I decided since I have some time to kill to update this post with my numbers from year 2. Again the same caveats from below apply. Overall the 2 years is very expensive but completely worth it! The first year covers 1 Aug 2013 - 31 Jul 2014, the second year covers 1 Aug 2014 - 31 May 2015. In most cases the earliest you'll start work would be 1 June so I consider May as part of the MBA related expenses, most people probably won't start until later but the summer is really up to you so I'm not counting it in my calculations.

For the headline number, total cost for 2 years = $263,506

So how much does an MBA at Columbia really cost? This was a big question for me when researching schools but one for which nobody seemed to have a good answer. Obviously everybody’s situation is different but it’s safe to say that the school budget is absurdly low. So I thought I would share my results from my first year, with a little help from Quicken and a lot of OCD.

Some notes up front. Orientation starts in mid-August so you’ll likely move in starting beginning of August so that is how I chose my starting date. Additionally I’m married with no kids. So my rent and grocery bills are higher than average but my bars and travel spending are lower so they probably balance out roughly. I didn't take any international trips or pre-MBA trips but did travel some inside the US during the first year. Second year I traveled on one international trip, still well below the MBA school norm.

Ok here are the numbers including a per month average for categories where it makes sense:




















CategoryYear 1Per Month Year 2Per Month
Tuition$ 60,720.00N/A $63,148.00N/A
School Fees$ 3,124.00N/A $2,642.00N/A
Health Insurance$ 3,149.00N/A $2,508.00N/A
Agent Fee$ 3,562.50N/A $ 0N/A
Application Fees$ 759.00N/A $ 0N/A
Household items$2,425.33$202.11 $1,451.16$145.12
Student Orgs$714.61$59.55 $772.77$77.28
Rent$ 28,500.00$ 2,375.00 $ 23,750.00$ 2,375.00
Metro Expenses$1,635.50$136.29 $1,112.60$111.26
Groceries$8,447.26$703.94 $7,541.74$754.17
Eating Out$1,830.22$152.52 $2,399.72$239.97
Entertainment/Bars$2,959.06$246.59 $2,756.69$275.67
Utilities/TV$2,605.93$217.16 $3,031.55$303.16
Insurance$1,866.77$155.56 $2,104.28$210.43
Healthcare$1,401.81$116.82 $1,234.98$123.50
Miscellaneous(dry cleaning/barber/etc)$1,451.82$120.99 $2,697.10 $269.71
Gym$1,719.93$143.33 $3,316.96$331.70
Travel$8,107.56N/A $8,058.20N/A
Total$134,980.30$4,628.86 $ 128,525.75$5,216.97


Hopefully this will help folks get a starting point for a budget. As you can see I overshot the school’s estimate by about 35%.

Last edited by Class2015CBS on 05 Jun 2015, 10:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Actual cost of a Columbia MBA [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2014, 06:41
Great resource, thanks for taking your time to share it with us!

$700 monthly for eating out sounds really high to me. Is that for two persons, incl. your wife?
Your calculation increases the necessary 2y budget to $250k, actually that's more than I was expecting.

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New post 05 Jun 2014, 07:36
Good catch. I'll fix the chart, dining out and groceries got switched. Should be $700/month for groceries and $140/month eating out.

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Re: Actual cost of a Columbia MBA [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2014, 08:07
Class2015CBS wrote:
Good catch. I'll fix the chart, dining out and groceries got switched. Should be $700/month for groceries and $140/month eating out.

Posted from my mobile device


Fixed the chart. Thanks for posting.
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Re: Actual cost of a Columbia MBA [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2014, 05:22
If you don't mind my asking, did Columbia give you any fellowships/aid?

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New post 06 Jun 2014, 20:00
Yes but not much. Columbia is unfortunately very stingy with aid. Dean Hubbard acknowledges it but all the fundraising has been focused on the new building so nothing much has happened to change it.

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Re: Actual cost of a Columbia MBA [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2014, 13:10
A question. How did you come up with the Metro expenses?

A 30-day unlimited MetroCard is currently $112, or $113 if you get a new card. Two people should be double that. But I guess your spouse doesn't work (and doesn't venture out to other hoods everyday) or you live in a walking distance of Columbia?

Citi bikes are less than $100 A YEAR though the fee is rumored to go up quite a bit in the near future, that's IF you can brave the NYC car traffic and parked cars whose doors can swing open in front of you with no warnings what so ever.

I suspect that your food expenses may be slightly less than those of a single person. Cooking for two people may be saving some. I spend $400 a month in groceries and cheap street-vendor / bodega food like a morning egg and cheese sandwich, without counting real dine-outs on weekends. And I only consume 1000-1200 kcal a day which is perhaps less than what the average person needs, though I only buy organic when it comes to veggies. Cooking just for myself does not save anything in my case (maybe because I don't eat much to begin with) when you take into consideration the monthly gas service fee plus gas.

Your rent for 2 people? seems to be a brownstone studio rent. A single person may need more than one half of that even if they share an apartment with another student, unless the person goes to Queens/ Brooklyn/ the Bronx. I think that Columbia's room / board estimate is 1. for 9 months or so (during the two semesters), not an entire year, and 2. they assume that you share a 1BR or a 1BR converted into 2BR with another person, or 3BR with two other people, each getting a room slightly larger than a jail cell.

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Re: Actual cost of a Columbia MBA [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jun 2014, 03:59
NoriNYC wrote:
A question. How did you come up with the Metro expenses?

A 30-day unlimited MetroCard is currently $112, or $113 if you get a new card. Two people should be double that. But I guess your spouse doesn't work (and doesn't venture out to other hoods everyday) or you live in a walking distance of Columbia?


Yes I live walking distance to campus so the unlimited would be a waste. If you don't commute 5 days a week on the subway it is more cost effective to pay as you go.

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Citi bikes are less than $100 A YEAR though the fee is rumored to go up quite a bit in the near future, that's IF you can brave the NYC car traffic and parked cars whose doors can swing open in front of you with no warnings what so ever.


Unfortunately Citi bikes don't go anywhere near campus. They currently stop at 59th St, if you want to bike to school you'll need your own bike.

Quote:
I suspect that your food expenses may be slightly less than those of a single person. Cooking for two people may be saving some. I spend $400 a month in groceries and cheap street-vendor / bodega food like a morning egg and cheese sandwich, without counting real dine-outs on weekends. And I only consume 1000-1200 kcal a day which is perhaps less than what the average person needs, though I only buy organic when it comes to veggies. Cooking just for myself does not save anything in my case (maybe because I don't eat much to begin with) when you take into consideration the monthly gas service fee plus gas.

Yeah this can vary a lot depending on what you eat, type of groceries you buy etc. Although I've never known a situation where eating out is cheaper than cooking.

Quote:
Your rent for 2 people? seems to be a brownstone studio rent. A single person may need more than one half of that even if they share an apartment with another student, unless the person goes to Queens/ Brooklyn/ the Bronx. I think that Columbia's room / board estimate is 1. for 9 months or so (during the two semesters), not an entire year, and 2. they assume that you share a 1BR or a 1BR converted into 2BR with another person, or 3BR with two other people, each getting a room slightly larger than a jail cell.

Rent can vary wildly. I have a ~600 sq ft 1BR however I live in Harlem which is much cheaper. Some people have issues with that or don't feel safe doing that so it's up to you. I would tend to agree though that a single person will pay more than half my rent. If you have a roommate you should be able to have a decent place for under $2,000 though.

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New post 05 Jun 2015, 10:13
Bumping this back to the top with the addition of year 2 numbers. This was an expensive 2 years but you won't regret it.

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Re: Actual cost of a Columbia MBA [#permalink]

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New post 27 Aug 2017, 09:26
yes, Manhattan is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but you should think of it as a long term investment.

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Re: Actual cost of a Columbia MBA   [#permalink] 27 Aug 2017, 09:26
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