If you've thought about persuing an MBA, then you've probably asked yourself, "Is it worth it?" I asked the same question (A: Yes!) and now find myself asking it about all sorts of things related to back-to-school. Along with campus housing, MBA tech is a great place to find value with pain-free ways to save.
Whether you're looking for a simple user interface, all-day battery life or just the coolest looking notebook around, the MacBook Air is a great choice. But for UCLA Anderson purposes*, the MacBook Air presents a significant problem: it doesn't run Windows out of the box and installing Windows can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of your PC.
Yet, with a little price shopping and internet savvy, you can have your MacBook and eat it, too. I bought my new MacBook Air direct from Apple and all of its software and accessories online. Here's the cost breakdown:
Look at that! A brand new, Anderson-ready MacBook Air with a RAM upgrade, Windows 8 Pro, Office Home and Business and a sharp looking case, all for just $1422. For those of you keeping track, that's $323 less than the list prices and $578 less than Anderson's suggested computer allowance of $2000.
*Anderson uses Microsoft Office features and educational software that work best with Windows.
Every MBA student needs a mobile device. But do they really need the call and text plans that come bundled with their mobile contracts? Say it with me: No!
This year I'm choosing to free myself of my cell phone contract and save big by going 100% data. Here's how: I'm using my Nexus 7 tablet (or any unlocked mobile device) with my wireless provider's data plan and sending/receiving calls and texts via a free, permanent US phone number I registered online. (A number of Mac and Android applications do this, but I chose textPlus.) Calls are $0.02 per minute and texts are free. Here's the price comparison with a 2-year iPhone 5 contract from AT&T:
Prices will vary based on the device you choose and how many minutes/how much data you use, but the value in ditching the cell phone contract is clear. In this example, going 100% data saved $1,110 over the life of a traditional 2-year contract.
Between the MacBook Air and switching to a data-based mobile plan, we've just saved $1,433.77 on our MBA tech. Now that's worth it!
Daniel Genter, MBA '15 - Follow UCLA Anderson on Twitter.