Do budget MBAs exist in Europe ?
Fees vs ROI: Which is more important in deciding where to study an MBA? Source: Shutterstock

Getting an MBA from a top school isn’t cheap. Financial support from companies is almost non-existent, unless you work in consulting or the military (as we wrote about here). With student debt rising, the thought of self-financing another degree can be more than off putting.

The average cost of attending one of the programmes listed in Poets & Quants’ list of leading US schools is US$196,067, up from $185,747 last year.

MBAs from European universities, which typically run for just one year compared to two years in the US, are usually quoted as more affordable alternatives.

Still, the fees for places like London Business School, INSEAD, IESE and IE for one year of study can be higher than some of the US’s most expensive. For example, the total cost at Stanford – the most expensive in the country – is US$231,672 (US$$73,062 for annual tuition and US$32,712 for annual room and board), roughly US$115,836 per year. London Business School’s fees for one year isn’t too far off at US$104,936.

A budget-friendly MBA at a top European school would be more than welcome for aspiring international MBA candidates. But do they exist? According to CEOWorldthey do!

Business School Cost  (€)
MIB Trieste School of Management, Italy 25,000
Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece 22,000
Zagreb School of Economics and Management, Croatia 10,400
Poznan University of Economics, Poland: 11,400
Mannheim Business School, Germany 39,500
The Lisbon MBA 38,000

The Executive MBA Poznań-Atlanta at Poznan University of Economics, Poland, charges the second lowest fees in the table above at €11,400. Taking place over four semesters and a total of two years, it’s a course that is accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA). Breaking down the costs, candidates must pay a PLN500 (€117.80) application fee and a PLN12,000 (€2,827.12) tuition fee per semester. This comes to a total of PLN48,000 (€11,308.48).

According to Numbeo, the average living costs for a person per month in Poznan, including rent in a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre, is around PLN3,796.73 (€894.48). For the entire two-year course, this comes up to €21,467.52‬. (1 Poland złoty equals 0.24 Euro at the time of writing).

These figures are tempting, but candidates might want to consider the return on investment perspective in their decision-making process. The programmes above may offer the lowest costs but do they really offer the most bang for your buck?

Mannheim Business School in Germany has some of the lowest fees, but highest ROI. Source: Shutterstock

Crunching data such as self-reported salaries of graduates three years after graduation, how long graduates say it took them to pay back their loans, as well as the cost of an MBA in the year they studied it, Poets & Quants calculated their cost-to-earnings ratio for top European business schools.

Coming out on top for one-year full-time MBAs was Lancaster University Business School. The North England institution had a ratio of 3.2, followed by Mannheim and Durham, both with a ratio of 2.9.

One common trait among the schools with the best ROIs is that they have a relatively low-cost MBA, such as Durham’s, which costs US$$35,900, and Lancaster’s, which costs US$33,000. A weaker pound explains why schools like Lancaster and Durham have higher ROIs now than before.

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