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MBA Salaries and Other Value Considerations

Understanding the Value of an MBA: The MBA ROI

Risk vs. Reward

As you weigh your options and decide whether an MBA will benefit your personal and professional goals, try this: do a quick online search for your dream job. Or, evaluate your current workplace and try to determine the level of experience and education your peers have—the peers who are in the role or title you hope to have someday.

Chances are, corporate recruiters or executive leaders in your industry are looking for, or have, an advanced degree. Have you noticed that others are getting promoted before you, or have been given the “dream” projects at work that you’d love to get involved with? It’s true—the cost of an MBA can be intimidating. But earning an MBA is a long-term investment in your personal and professional growth—an investment that will pay off. Not only will it elevate your level of experience when seeking a new professional opportunity, but it will develop you in ways that can’t be replicated anywhere else. You’ll be challenged by peers from a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences; you’ll refine your focus and dedication to mastering a skill set; and you’ll immediately begin applying your acquired skills through rigorous, real-world course work and case applications. You’ll benefit from the experience and expertise of your professors who have “been there, done that” and who can challenge you to think differently every step of the way.

If you’re new to the workforce or are interested in making a career switch, earning an MBA can oftentimes offset a shortfall of professional experience. Some employers may require seven to 10 years of experience or a graduate degree in the profession, opening the door to new opportunities for you and your career. Earning an MBA provides you with more options, more chances to explore and experience new industries—all thanks to the core foundation of business acumen the degree entails.

The January 2015 Salary Survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, showed that starting salaries in the field of finance were improved by more than 35 percent between those holding a master's degree or a bachelor's degree in the field.1 Overall, studies have found that those who hold a master's degree have potential for a higher salary.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2014, a Harvard MBA graduate has an average salary between 94,375 USD and 139,777 USD, depending on the industry. Jobs in the financial sector are earning more than jobs in the nonprofit sector.2 Another differentiating point is based on the school a graduate attended. Business schools that are highly reputable, such as those at Harvard, Yale, Duke, or Columbia show higher salaries for business graduates than schools that are much smaller or lesser known. Also, graduates of higher-quality schools in general are paid more. For instance, for-profit, non-regulated programs, such as many of the online business schools, have graduates with lower salaries and higher unemployment rates, versus business schools that are supported by a country's government or larger sector., accessed June 19, 2015., accessed June 19, 2015.