Columbia MBA vs. Wharton MBA Cost: For Finance Professionals

Q) I am considering Wharton and Columbia MBA program. Which is more cost efficient for a career in Finance

Location Cost

Location Comparison New York vs PhiladelphiaCost of Columbia or Wharton MBA program is relative to your Financial background, risk-taking appetite and affinity towards New York or Philadelphia. The cultural difference between the often-compared east coast powerhouses is a topic for another article, but if you evaluate the two cities on potential, NYC ranks #1 in Gross Profit Margin in the US, attracting Banking & Finance, Media, Advertising, Real Estate and Retail industries to the region.

Philadelphia ranks #4 in the US and #8 in the world on GDP. From a cost point of view, Philadelphia’s rent is 50% and consumer goods 20% cheaper than New York, but an interesting number is the local purchasing power. Despite New York overshooting Philly in restaurant, groceries, rent, and consumer goods cost, the local purchasing power is only 5% higher for the latter.

The difference is an indication of the remuneration difference between the two cities. Even though the average salary is similar - New York ($68,936) vs. Philly’s $59,735, the end of the year bonus that contributes considerably to the increase in salary per year is where Philadelphia(2.7%) is behind New York (3.1%). The problem is exacerbated in Financial Services and Investment Banking where performance-based and end-of-the-year bonuses are a bigger contributor to the total salary.

Location Cost Efficiency (Finance): New York > Philadelphia

Columbia MBA vs. Wharton MBA Cost

Wharton MBA vs Columbia Full Cost comparisonThe budget that you should allocate for one year in Columbia is $110,914, and for Wharton, it is $119,000, but on adding the transportation component of Columbia which is not included in the budget, the total two-year cost for Columbia is $1,000 more than Wharton Full-time MBA at $224,528.

Cost: Columbia Full-time MBA > Wharton Full-time MBA

The difference in cost of the MBA program is negligible for a Single student but can add up substantially for Columbia MBA if you have a partner or a family (with children).

Mitigating Cost – Wharton vs Columbia MBA Scholarships

To mitigate the cost, you have to consider the scholarships offered at the two MBA programs. Since the entry criteria (academic) for both the programs are similar – Average GMAT (726-730) and GPA (3.5 to 3.6), scores have to be above the average by 30 points (GMAT) and 2 or 3 points for GPA.

Columbia MBA offers financial awards in the $10,000 to $30,000 range based on your Financial need. This means you have to give proof of all financial resources (savings, retirement fund, trust funds, real estate, social security) including spouse’s income.

At Wharton, close to 30% receive Financial Aid with the most common remuneration in the $20,000 to $40,000 range. Do note that your GMAT score has to be above 750 to be eligible for any top award

For International students, Wharton has a no-cosigner loan through Quorum Federal Credit Union while Columbia has a broader option - Prodigy Finance, ReliaMax and MPower Finance.

You can always reach out to us for in-depth consulting. Start here for Free MBA Admissions Consulting.

MBA in the US - The Ultimate Guide
Wharton MBA Scholarships and Funding optionsColumbia MBA Scholarships
Wharton MBA Financial Aid
Columbia MBA Financial Aid

Cost (2-Year)*WhartonColumbia
Tuition and Fees $157,896 $148,800
Room and Board$44,700 $42,750
Books and Supplies$2,900 $900
Transportation$2,080 $3,600
Health Insurance, Personal$16,224 $8,960
Other Fees$7,386
Personal Expense$12,132

2019 MBA Research Guide - Choose your MBA

"I attended three MBA Tours in US and Canada. I could just scratch the surface compared to what the guide has included. Thank you guys for the amazing book"

F1GMAT's Comprehensive MBA Research Guide will teach you how to select MBA programs through a bottom-up approach. 

Articulating your Post-MBA Goals and Career Path is the FIRST step. Which program will give you that hike in Salary, Switch in Career, Change in Location or Job Satisfaction?

We cover them all through our extensive analysis. 

Pages: 500

+ How to Choose the Best MBA Program: Factors to Consider
Define Post-MBA Goals
Pick your Path: Generalize or Specialize
Use Moral Algebra Method 
Use Multi-Attribute Utility Theory
Understand the Top 5 Risks
Measure MBA Career Service Team's Effectiveness
Use Bookending to Calculate MBA Admission Chance
Use Net Present Value to Calculate MBA Return on Investment
Don't Fall for the Mere Exposure Effect
Best Practices to find the truth in MBA Information Session or MBA Tour

Comprehensive MBA Research Guide:
Top MBA Programs by 19 Specializations:
+ General Management
+ Finance
+ Consulting
+ Marketing
+ Strategy
+ Operations Management
+ Supply Chain Management
+ Luxury Management
+ Information Systems
+ Hospitality Management
+ Accounting
+ Energy
+ Non-Profit
+ Wine
+ Sports
+ Sustainability
+ Leadership Development
+ Military &
+ International

+ Top MBA Program Ranking
Top 20 MBA Programs - Tuition Fee (2018)    
Top 31 MBA Programs in United States – Total Cost & Salary (2017)    

Top 60 MBA – GMAT and GPA (Average & Median)
Top 20 European MBA Programs - Tuition Fee, Total Cost & Salary    
Top 20 European MBA Programs (Based on Actual Salary Increase)    
Top 20 European MBA Programs (Short-term return on investment)    
Top 20 Affordable European MBA Programs    
Top 10 MBA in UK – Salary & Fee (2018)  
Top MBA Destinations Based on Happiness Index    
Top MBA Destinations based on Innovation Index    
Top 10 MBA Job Markets based on Cost of living and Purchasing Power    
Top MBA Destination: By Economy    

+Comparisons - Top MBA Programs
Wharton vs. Columbia MBA (2018)  
MIT vs. Stanford MBA   (2017)
Haas vs. Ross MBA    
Kellogg vs Ross MBA    
Booth vs Wharton MBA    
MIT Sloan vs Tuck MBA    
IIMA vs. ISB   

Harvard vs. Stanford MBA (2017)

+ MBA in France (2018)
Top Industries in France   
Top MBA Programs in France  

  Class Profile   
  Post-MBA Salary

Scholarships in France
External Funding 

+ MBA in the UK (2018)
Top Industries in the UK   
Top MBA Programs in the UK

  Class Profile   
  Post-MBA Salary

Scholarships in the UK
External Funding 

New Visa Rules: Post-Brexit

Download F1GMAT's MBA Research Guide (2019)

Navigate F1GMAT

F1GMAT Services (MBA Applicants) 

F1GMAT's Books

MBA Salary(Latest Salary Data)
MBA Admission Interview Tips



MBA Application Essays

MBA Recommendation Letter

GMAT Tutorials

GMAT Question Bank

Top MBA Programs

Get F1GMAT's Newsletters (Best in the Industry)
Included in the Newsletter:

  • Ranking Analysis
  • Post-MBA Salary Trends
  • Post-MBA Job Function & Industry Analysis
  • Post-MBA City Review
  • MBA Application Essay Tips
  • School Specific Essay Tips
  • GMAT Preparation Tips
  • MBA Admission Interview Tips
  • School Specific Interview Tips
  • Funding Guidance and
  • Special Consultation Service (only for Subscribers)

Subscribe to F1GMAT's Newsletter