Cost of Studying MBA in Singapore

Studying for an MBA is a financially significant undertaking, prospective students have to consider 1) the tuition fees of the program (the cheapest ones cost about S$20,000, while on average, most students can expect to pay about S$30,000 and above), 2) the lost in income if they take on full time studies, and 3) for international students, the accommodation and living expenses from studying overseas.


Look for MBA Funding

The bulk of the students expenditure will be from financing his/her tuition fees. The cheapest MBA programs in Singapore start at S$15,000 - e.g. Anglia Ruskin University MBA; but for students who have a mind to join the most prestigious business schools, they should be prepared to afford at least S$80,000 to S$100,000 in tuition fees - e.g. INSEAD.

Given the significant monetary cost of an MBA program, it's advisable that prospective students explore the different avenues of receiving additional funding for their education - this might come in the form of a scholarship, or receiving study grants from the organisation or company that they currently work in.

Related: Scholarships for MBA Education in Singapore


Getting Funding from Your Company

One avenue of funding you can explore would be having your company help pay for your tuition fees. No company or organisation would fund your education without expecting anything in return - there might be a bond attached to their agreement so that when you graduate, you can make contributions back to the company - in turn, providing for a good return on investment for the company.

Multinational organisations usually require that their staff have an MBA or other equivalent post graduate degree before they're considered for high level managerial positions; many of these big companies also have learning and development programs in place that employees can leverage on to fund further education - e.g. http://www8.hp.com/sg/en/jobsathp/working-at-hp/learning-development.html. The scope and specifications of educational funding differ with each company, it is your job to contact your HR and find out the different programs that are available to you.

Enterprise development agency, Spring Singapore, also offers educational funding that encourages employers to send their employees back to school for higher education - see Management Development Scholarship. This program provides coverage of up to 70% in tuition fees (up to a maximum qualifying cost of S$52,000), while the remaining cost is borne by your sponsoring company.

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Minimising the Lost in Income

For the locals who take on a full time MBA program, one factor that they have to take into serious consideration would be the duration of the program. MBA programs from Singaporean universities usually take a little over a year to complete, thereby quickly allowing the students to re-enter the workforce - e.g. SMU 1 Year MBA program.

There are also full time MBA programs that are not delivered at an accelerated pace, in these cases, the prospective student would have to really factor in the amount of lost income alongside the cost of the tuition fees when they're calculating the total cost of their MBA programs.


A simple example would illustrate that even a year's worth of education would amount to a significant lost in income. If you earn S$2,500 monthly, going back to school full time for a year would mean S$30,000 in lost income; this is also a conservative estimate which assumes that you are able to find employment immediately after graduation.

A practical expectation for an MBA graduate would be to earn back the lost income through their increased salary, but unless you're from an Ivy League business school, an expectation for significant and immediate increase in salaries might set you up for disappointment. An MBA investment should be looked at from a more long term point of view, about 3-5 years, before it starts to pay for itself.


International Students and their Living Expenses

By far, the group of students who would have to pay the most attention to their finances during their MBA programs would be the international students who come to Singapore to study. In addition to the tuition fees and lost income, international students would also have to factor in travel expenses, accommodation and additional living expenses.

With regards to student accommodation, here's a helpful guide that'll provide you a good reference to the options available and their respective expenses - http://www.singaporeedu.gov.sg/doc/res/stb_students.pdf.

Related: 5 Reasons to take your MBA in Singapore

To minimise the cost of studying abroad in Singapore, it's advisable that international students do the research thoroughly before they embark on their endeavour. They should visit the forums to ask other international students for advise and also their experiences studying abroad - one popular forum that you can visit is http://forum.singaporeexpats.com/.

There are also a number of helpful articles that you can read before making your way down to Singapore -

Study Abroad in Singapore
Planning for Long Term Study
Students' Study Abroad Experiences
International Student Admissions: General Information on Studying in Singapore
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