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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.


Reference
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

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