5 cheapest countries to get an MBA

cheapest countries to get an mba
Germany and France are among the cheapest countries to do an MBA. Source: Ludovic MARIN/AFP

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is the world’s most popular postgraduate business degree. It’s easy to understand why. Over a post-MBA lifetime, graduates earn hefty seven-figure salaries — and they don’t even need an MBA from the likes of Harvard and Stanford. The PayScale survey found that MBA graduates from the top 50 business schools in the US get a median cash compensation of US$5.7 million after graduating and working for 35 years.

Compared to those with a bachelor’s degree, they earn US$2.3 million more. That’s a solid return on investment — on top of all the other perks and privileges that come with the degree first introduced by Harvard University Graduate School of Administration (now Harvard Business School) in 1908. Back then, only men could join. Today, women do too — and they reap the rewards gained from expanding their minds and network, as well as plenty of memories.

The downside, though, is an MBA can be costly. You’ll have to take time off work, which means you’ll lose your salary for up to two years.

But choose the right country to pursue your MBA and you just might have the best of both worlds: a useful degree without breaking the bank. 

The five cheapest countries to get an MBA:

Germany

Depending on the institute and programme, MBA tuition fees in Germany range from 3,400 euros (US$3,860) to 44,000 euros (US$49,990) per year. This is because most universities in Germany are owned by the state.

A German master’s programme is categorised as either consecutive (pursuing master’s after obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Germany) or non-consecutive. Consecutive courses are the most common master’s programme in Germany and they are often free. Whereas non-consecutive courses focus on a more highly specialised subject area and are most likely to charge fees. 

That’s not all. Although tuition fee costs are low, international students can still apply for a wide array of scholarship options that can help further reduce tuition fees. 

Check out this list of cheap German universities to do your MBA

Malaysia

Tuition fees in public universities range between RM20,000 (USD$4264.00) to RM31,000 (USD$6609.20 at time of writing). Private university fees start from RM30,000 (USD$6396) up to RM265,000 (USD$56498). 

Malaysia is home to several branch campuses of universities such as Australia’s Monash University and UK’s Heriot-Watt University, where international students can gain an international, accredited MBA at a significantly lower cost too

Still in need of financial help? The Malaysian government offers these scholarships to international students: Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) Scholarship and Malaysian International Scholarship (MIS).

China

Not only is China rising as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, but many of China’s higher education institutions have also been attracting hundreds of thousands of international students. Home to over 40 globally ranked universities, China also has an affordable study cost making it one of the cheapest countries for an MBA.

Don’t worry about not knowing the language. Most universities offer programmes taught in English.

Again, MBA costs vary across institutions and programmes. It is good to check the individual universities for their tuition fees. Check out these top 10 MBA programmes in China and their 2023 application deadlines. 

For students who need more financial aid, read this guide for more information on how to apply for scholarships in ChinaEstimate your expenses using this cost calculator

France 

While the MBA programme was first introduced in the US, France was the first country to offer such programmes in Europe. 

Unlike Germany, MBA programmes in France are only partially taught in English. Hence, it is advisable for international students to meet the basic French proficiency level. Learning the language would also help in communicating with the locals. 

cheapest countries to get an mba

France was the first country to offer MBA programmes in Europe. Source: Joel Sarget/AFP

Paris may be expensive for travellers but French universities are well-funded by the government which makes it another one of the cheapest countries for an MBA. On average, MBA tuition fees cost around 14,930 euros (USD$14476.13) to 89,000 euros (USD$86294.40 at the time of writing) annually. The best business schools in France are listed here. Looking for scholarships? Check this out

Canada

An MBA in Canada is more expensive compared to European countries but still lower than the likes of the US, UK and Australia.

Canadian universities prioritise candidates that have at least 12 months of work experience. While it isn’t compulsory, those equipped with relevant experiences will have a better edge over others. But there are universities offering MBAs that don’t require work experience — read more here

The average range of MBA tuition fees in Canada falls between 10,000 to 35,000 Canadian dollars. A full breakdown of costs for the best business schools in Canada can be found here

Though fees are considered slightly more expensive compared to other European countries, they are very generous with financial aid. There are financial aid and scholarships offered to international students to offset tuition fees.