The Real Cost of an Executive MBA

Hari Ranjeva

I have been contacted by several people from my network about my experience at the INSEAD Executive MBA, especially regarding the tuition and the question of the company sponsorship. Although I acknowledge the importance of the financial factor, I would rather advise any subsequent candidates to think deeply about the non-financial costs as well.

No more personal time (or almost)

All of my INSEAD colleagues will agree with me: the programme is extremely demanding and requires lots of personal involvement, at the expense of your hobbies and your family. Indeed, most of us are seasoned professionals in our late thirties and quite engaged in our personal life. Consequently, the first thing before applying into an Executive MBA programme is to ensure that it is a family decision and not a personal one. You will spend most of your free time reading, doing homework and networking - evenings and weekends included. The picture below illustrates quite well the amount of pages I had to read, excluding megabytes of soft copy documents.

"The Extreme MBA"

You may miss some family key moments

You may miss some family key moments

Secondly, you will be required to spend more than 60 days out of your hometown, all around the globe. While living in the South-West of France, I spent most of the programme between Fontainebleau and Singapore, but in Sao Paulo and in San Francisco as well - in addition to my business trips. I personally missed some important moments of my family life due to the academic schedule.

No more holidays

Thirdly, when you are not sponsored by your company, you will normally do the programme during your holidays time, meaning that neither you nor your family would have holidays during one year and a half. And if you are company-sponsored, you may be required to do your business tasks along with the intense academic requirements when you will be physically at INSEAD.

Health management is key

Finally, do not forget that you will enter into an Extreme Executive MBA journey. Mental and physical fatigue will accumulate along the programme. In addition to your regular job, jetlag, weather fluctuations, food (and beverage) excess, absence of physical activities and holidays will definitely impact your health. Hence, while your brain will be intensely solicited, do not neglect your body. Know yourself and manage your batteries properly!

"Mens Sana in Corpore Sano"  

"Mens Sana in Corpore Sano"


Remember, time is scarce and health is priceless. Mitigating these non-financial costs will allow you to enjoy fully the experience. Because let’s not miss the point: the INSEAD Global Executive MBA journey is really AWESOME* but extremely demanding as well. It would be a pity to waste a part of it due to unpreparedness.

However, the benefit fully justifies the costs!

"Scit eum sine gloria vinci qui sine periculo vincitur"

Scit eum sine gloria vinci qui sine periculo vincitur"

For those of you that are considering doing the INSEAD Executive MBA, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at [email protected]. I would be happy to share more of it.