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MBA ROI: Is getting an MBA worth it?

20 Dec

As with all higher education, getting your Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a financial and personal investment—but does the return on investment (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. A great deal of your MBA ROI depends on the reputation of the school you choose,1 so make sure to evaluate every business administration degree program you're interested in individually, and don't hesitate to ask questions when determining which MBA program is right for you.

How do you determine your MBA ROI?

Financial Success

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

As Fortune Education reported in October 2022, “MBA students quickly reap the rewards of earning their master’s degree shortly after graduation. The current [average starting] salary for MBA graduates is $115,000, GMAC data shows, while the median for bachelor’s degree holders is slightly more than $54,000. That gap widens year after year as MBA grads rise the ranks in their companies and nab bigger paychecks.”2

Career-long salary projections

The benefits of earning an MBA continue long after graduation. MBA alumni from some universities, including Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business, report mid-career salaries that are more than double their early-career salaries.1 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, management skills, and the degree, as well as proof that you can successfully juggle responsibilities.

Career Mobility

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.3 According to a 2022 survey by the Australian public purpose institution UTS, MBA graduates received an average of two raises and two promotions during the last year.4 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 are increasingly interested in hiring candidates who are MBA graduates,5 and an MBA can qualify you for career opportunities with greater responsibility, potentially doubling your current salary.6

Professional Networking Opportunities

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.3 Top MBA programs, whether online or on campus, 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.

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, time management, creative problem-solving, and leadership—soft skills that are in high demand by employers.8 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.3 Earning an Master of Business Administration can also increase your confidence and a high-quality MBA program exposes you to a broader perspective of the world.

Online MBA ROI: Even Better

What if you could not only save money but continue to earn your full-time income while completing your MBA program? Consider how that would strengthen your financial position in the immediate and the long-term future.

In addition to the benefits of an on-campus MBA education—world-class business expertise, sought-out soft skills, professional opportunities, earning potential, lifelong networking connections, career support—top-ranked Online MBA programs deliver significant financial ROI long before graduation day. By eliminating the costs of relocation and commuting, and by empowering you to keep your full-time job and salary while pursuing the degree, a high-quality Online MBA curriculum pays you back from the moment you enroll.

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'll find top business schools, outside the most expensive tier, that are still highly ranked and have excellent results at a more affordable price.3 Your future deserves putting the time and effort into choosing the right business school with the best MBA ROI.

Make the MBA Investment That Pays Off

The Online MBA program from Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business creates SVPs: Silicon Valley Professionals equipped with the most current, relevant industry knowledge and expertise, and empowered with the worldview and ethos for which Santa Clara University is acclaimed.

Learn from uniquely experienced industry professionals who are deeply entrenched in Silicon Valley. They teach from what’s actually happening in the heart of creativity and innovation, going far beyond academic theory to what’s current and what’s coming next. You’ll be immediately able to apply your new knowledge to your professional life.

For additional application advice, check out our blog posts on securing the best letters of recommendation and improving your personal essay.

Launch your career success at Santa Clara University. Learn more about the Online MBA program by reaching out to an Admissions Advisor today.