MBA & Business Education Guide 2006: A return on your investment

The cost of your MBA can vary widely. Are you better off paying big bucks to a top school or pennies to a remote but solid establishment? We take you through the options ...

An MBA is just like any other product or service. You pay more for the top brands. But is price a true indication of quality? Is a £25,500 MBA from Cranfield School of Management three times better than an £8,420 MBA from the University of Leicester? Is London Business School's £43,490 MBA twice as good as Bath's £20,000 course? Many factors determine price, including the type of institution offering the MBA, the local economy, the make-up of the faculty and the mode of delivery. But with such variety in fees, prospective students need to be sure that their MBA is good value for money and a sound investment.

'The "top" business schools spend a lot of money on internationally renowned faculty members and that is reflected in the cost of the course,' says Jeanette Purcell, chief executive of the Association of MBAs (AMBA). 'You pay more to sit at the feet of management gurus. Some schools are able to charge higher fees because of their prestige, profile and reputation. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the schools with cheaper fees are offering courses of a lesser quality.'

Purcell advises prospective MBA students to consider only accredited schools. There are currently 117 business schools in the UK offering MBAs, 38 of which are 'kite-marked' with accredited status. This gives students an invaluable way of separating out the good apples from the bad. 'It narrows down your choice but it also gives you a guarantee of quality and return on investment. Providing you have chosen an accredited school, you can be sure your MBA will retain its value,' he says.

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