As with all higher education, getting your MBA is a financial and personal investment — but does the return on investment, or MBA ROI, make it a wise one? Only you can determine the final answer to that question. But as you consider whether going back to school for an MBA is the right decision for you, make sure you weigh all the factors to determine what the ROI of your MBA degree is likely to be.
It's not just whether an MBA itself will advance your career — so much of your MBA ROI depends on which school you choose.1 Make sure to individually evaluate every program you're interested in, and don't hesitate to ask questions when deciding which MBA program is right for you.
How do you determine your MBA ROI?
Continuing your education has a price tag up front, but how long will it take to recoup your costs? Talk to the schools you're considering to see if they have data on alumni salaries after graduation.
- Short-term/entry-level salary increases: Statistics show that many recent MBA grads see an immediate salary growth of $30,000 to $40,000 a year depending on whether they enrolled in a part-time or full-time MBA program.2 And that value often continues to rise, doubling within three years after completing their MBA.3
- Career-long salary projections: The benefits of earning an MBA continue long after graduation. Alumni from some universities, including Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business, report mid-career salaries that are double their early-career salaries.4 If you complete a part-time or executive MBA program, you can continue along your career path while you go to school, which puts you in a perfect position to take full advantage of your MBA when you graduate. You'll have additional professional experience and the degree, as well as proof that you can successfully juggle responsibilities.
An MBA is a versatile degree, helping candidates develop a skill set with broad applications beyond a particular narrow area of expertise.1 Whether you want to move up in your current position with your company or pursue other career options, earning an MBA can open doors. You'll be able to move into positions that encourage communication between departments or rely on leadership skills.1 A program with a good MBA ROI should be able to back that up with alumni success stories.
- At your current employer: People with MBAs and related graduate degrees in business report getting more promotions than others without an advanced degree.2 In some cases, getting an MBA may be even considered a prerequisite to advance into management roles.
- With a new employer: An MBA can make your résumé stand out, especially if you earn your MBA from a highly ranked university with a respected business school. Employers report that hiring candidates with MBAs is on the rise,5 and an MBA can qualify you for positions with greater responsibility, potentially doubling your current salary.6
You won't just build your skill set in an MBA program. You should also expect to expand your professional network significantly. Part of the value of getting an MBA is that you will connect with people in your field, both your peers and classmates as well as more experienced professionals. This can take the form of guest lectures, internships or coursework.7 Seventy-five percent of students with MBAs or graduate business degrees report that their degree program helped them grow their network.2 A good MBA program, whether online or in-person, should provide you with networking opportunities to connect with people in your field. And you should graduate into an alumni network that will support you throughout your career.8
University-level career resources
Whether as a current MBA student or as an alum, you won't be on your own. You should be able to depend on support provided by the business school and the university. This can include job postings, résumé help, and alumni events.
Improved soft skills
While a great deal of the ROI of an MBA can be seen objectively, subjective benefits are harder to measure but just as important. An MBA doesn't just deepen your knowledge of good business practices. For the best MBA ROI, look for a program that cultivates communication skills, strategic thinking, creative problem-solving, and leadership — soft skills that are in high demand by employers.9 And it doesn't stop with increasing your value to employers; alumni of graduate business programs report not just professional satisfaction but also greater satisfaction with their own personal growth.2 Earning an MBA also can increase your confidence and exposes you to a broader perspective of the world.
An MBA from a top school with a good reputation, high ranking, and excellent connections will continue to increase in value over time, but those programs often come with a higher price tag. If you're willing to do a little research, you will find schools outside the most expensive tier that are still highly ranked and have excellent results at a more affordable price.4 Your future deserves putting the time and effort into choosing the right business school with the best MBA ROI.
If you’ve gone through these steps and found that you’re ready to apply to MBA programs, consider how the Online MBA program at Santa Clara University could provide the type of MBA ROI that makes getting an MBA a worthwhile endeavor. For additional application advice, check out our blog posts on securing the best letters of recommendation and improving your personal essay.
1. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/articles/2019-02-04/how-having-an-mba-on-your-resume-affects-your-career-prospects
2. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from gmac.com/market-intelligence-and-research/market-research/alumni-perspectives-survey.aspx?WT.svl=HPC2014alumni
3. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from ft.com/content/a2813230-d69b-11e7-a303-9060cb1e5f44
4. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from poetsandquants.com/2018/01/29/the-highest-paid-mba-alumni/
5. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from gmac.com/why-gmac/gmac-news/gmnews/2017/june-2017/companies-plan-to-hire-mba-graduates.aspx
6. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from wsj.com/articles/looking-to-double-your-salary-try-an-m-b-a-1544187623
7. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from princetonreview.com/business-school-advice/why-get-an-mba-career-prospects
8. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from onlinemba.scu.edu/media/blog/alumni-network9. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from poetsandquants.com/2015/01/12/to-employers-the-perfect-mba-looks-like-this/