Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How I Graduated With Zero Debt

With 2013 quickly approaching, this is the certainly the time of year that people around the world are creating New Year's resolutions. Since "manage debt" and "spend less, save more" are some of the most common resolutions, I thought that this would be an ideal time for me to outline how I graduated from my MBA with zero debt. I hope that my story enlightens you and teaches you that it is possible to obtain a high quality education without sacrificing your financial status.

It is thanks to the Canadian education system that I was able to do the unthinkable. Though I have heard that many American MBA students can go up to $230,000 in debt to obtain the same degree as me, I was able to benefit from the lower priced schooling in Canada. As an American who resided in Montreal for eight years prior to beginning my Master's degree, I had established Permanent Residency in Canada, particularly in Quebec. Though students were recently protesting tuition hikes in Quebec, Quebec still maintains the lowest cost for education in Canada (and this is of course significantly lower than American schools).

Since I knew that I wanted to take advantage of the low education costs in Quebec, I applied to HEC Montreal for my MBA. Not only was the program one year, enabling me to lose only one year's worth of salary and pay less tuition, it was a public institution (not to mention a well-ranked school). Though McGill University recently privatized their MBA program, HEC Montreal has steadfastly remained public. Therefore, I paid local Quebec fees (as a Quebec resident) which totalled approximately $7,000 for my entire MBA studies.

Because I had previously saved enough money to cover these tuition costs, as well as my living costs for the year, I was able to graduate from my MBA with zero debt. For those of you who might have financial worries and/or dreams of obtaining an MBA, I hope that my story has demonstrated that it is possible to get an MBA and live debt-free.

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