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Does Getting Your MBA Have a Promising Return on Investment?

Getting a master’s of business administration (MBA) is a major investment—not only of money, but also of your time, effort, and intellectual capacity. In addition to the expenses of tuition and related fees, getting an MBA generally means investing more than a year into intensive study and practical training.1

So, before future candidates submit their applications, many want to know: Is an MBA worth it? 

Like any business-oriented individual, applicants want to know they’ll receive a return on their investment before diving into an MBA. And, generally speaking, they will—an MBA can broaden graduates’ horizons, open up new fields of employment, and help them achieve personal, academic, and professional goals.

If you want to become an MBA student, read on to learn about the professional advantages that graduates can benefit from.

How Much Does an MBA Cost?

The exact cost of an MBA varies widely based on the school, candidate, and specifics of the program. Factors that may affect the cost of tuition and related fees include:

  • A school’s reputation
  • The area it’s located in
  • Whether or not it receives state funds
  • The activities and fields of study explored during the degree

A 2022 report from the Education Data Initiative found that the prices of MBAs can range by around 300%. That means degrees on the higher end of the spectrum cost about three times more than those at the entry-level price.2 Furthermore, MBAs are generally twice the median cost of a master’s degree when prices are averaged across all disciplines.

Therefore, when considering which MBA programs to apply for, most students have a few monetary concerns, including:

  • Keeping costs down
  • Securing funding
  • Earning their money back after graduation

For the former two, there are a few useful techniques that can help alleviate students’ financial burdens, including:

  • Applying to an MBA that offers paid curricular practical training (CPT) as part of the program3 
  • Seeking out and obtaining as many scholarships and grants as possible
  • Getting funding from an employer that’s willing to invest in the education of its employees

If you do the latter of these three, you’ll likely have employment secured upon graduation as well. That’s because employers usually contract their employees for a few years after they obtain their MBA as compensation for the fees.4 

Whether or not you get funding from an employer, you’re likely curious about what jobs await an MBA graduate. 

What Jobs Are Available to an MBA Graduate?

Earning an MBA instills confidence in employers that you’re a savvy and resilient individual. According to a 2022 Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey of corporate recruiters:5

  • 87% trust MBA graduates to succeed in their organizations
  • 92% expect to hire new MBA graduates within the year
  • 61% see MBA holders as more competitive than candidates with micro-credentials, such as professional qualifications and certificates

Put simply, prospects look overwhelmingly positive for those graduating with an MBA. 

However, the corporate world isn’t the only place where an MBA is appreciated. Obtaining one can open doors in fields such as:

  • Consumer marketing
  • Finance
  • Commercial banking

In fact, candidacy for senior positions in these sectors sometimes requires obtaining an MBA.6 So, if your aspirations have always been to climb the ladder in one of these fields, an MBA may be necessary.

Furthermore, these aren’t the only fields that an MBA can grant access to. Getting a graduate degree in business may support you in other related sectors, such as:7

  • Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Human resources
  • International business
  • Non-profit management
  • Public administration
  • Supply chain management

There’s likely no shortage of career opportunities awaiting an MBA graduate upon receiving their degree. And, if one of these fields aligns with your career goals, an MBA can be a relatively quick way of breaking into it. That said, if you invest a large amount of money, time, and effort in pursuing a graduate degree, potential opportunities might not be enough. 

A high salary is a common goal for MBA applicants, and if you’re considering graduate school, you may wonder: How well do these types of opportunities pay?

How Much Do MBA Graduates Get Paid?

Like workers of all educational backgrounds, pay for MBA graduates can vary based on the specific role, contract, and performance. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), employees holding graduate degrees may earn, on average, 25% more than when they only had an undergraduate.8

However, HBR also found that graduates of MBA programs can generally make 60-150% more than they did with a bachelor’s degree alone.9 Thus, the prospective earning potential for students about to finish MBA programs is likely much higher than when they started.

MBA Salaries

Starting salaries for MBA graduates vary based on the position they acquire. If you received funding from your employer to pursue graduate studies, you’d likely be contracted upon graduation—meaning your salary will be set before you finish your MBA.

If you’re job hunting upon completing your graduate degree, an MBA can prepare you for roles in numerous high-paying fields. Likewise, GMAC projects that both the starting salaries and median salaries of MBA graduates will continue to rise year after year.10

MBA Bonuses

Bonuses are a key component of many employees’ take-home pay. In fact, they represent about 11% of the average worker’s salary. Large companies and corporations, at which MBA graduates often find themselves working, are also more likely to offer bonuses. In general, such organizations may award extra pay for:11

  • Holidays
  • Completing a year of employment
  • Profit-sharing
  • Referrals
  • Reaching performance benchmarks, such as hitting sales figures or securing key investors
  • Signing a contract

 

Signing bonuses are particularly common for new MBA graduates. GMAC reports that most corporate recruiters expect to offer highly-enticing bonuses to acquire newly-qualified candidates.12

MBA Benefits

Higher earnings aren’t the only potential way that getting an MBA can pay returns on your investment. Companies are investing in robust benefits packages to offer new MBA graduates that include:13

  • Professional development – While an MBA may prove your intelligence, 80% of companies provide continued training to better adapt employees to the nuances of their roles.
  • Educational assistance – While a master’s is enough for some, many MBA graduates have an unquenched thirst for education and may want to pursue further studies, such as a PhD. 
  • Corporate volunteering – Volunteering can enrich people’s lives and, sometimes, involves getting free trips to exotic locations. Roughly 62% of organizations surveyed offer such opportunities to their employees.
  • Student debt repayment assistance – Some companies that really favor a candidate may even offer to help them repay the loans they incurred from acquiring their MBA or other degrees. In fact, 13% of companies surveyed have programs that help employees pay back their student debt.

In general, GMAC reports the number of companies bolstering the benefits packages they offer to new MBA graduates increases annually. 

What Type of MBA Programs Prepare Students for the Workforce?

When preparing for a career in the world of business, it’s pertinent to pick a school that offers practical training in conjunction with theoretical classwork. That’s because a lack of practical experience was the most-cited reason that companies may distrust recent MBA graduates.14

Many full-time MBAs don’t necessarily offer practical work experience as part of their programs.15 Part-time and executive-style programs that include CPT within their curriculum, on the other hand, provide several advantages, such as:

  • Allowing students to work during their degree—potentially helping them earn back the tuition fees that went toward their MBA
  • Providing valuable experience that may make for a more attractive CV
  • Having a less demanding structure that allows students to balance ongoing career and life obligations with their study

Students entering part-time and executive-style MBA programs generally have longer work histories than those pursuing full-time degrees.16 CPT allows them to build upon this ongoing history, potentially making them even more attractive candidates for premium jobs.

Gain Valuable Practical Experience During Your MBA at Alliant International University. 

Alliant International University’s MBA program is split into two tracks—evenings/weekdays and executive style, which only meets for one weekend a month. Both allow students to balance work, life, and study as they pursue their degrees. Equally importantly, they both offer valuable experience by incorporating CPT as a central component of their curricula.

CPT can be practical projects, internships, or relevant work experience. It’s often paid, and Alliant helps all students secure a productive, educational CPT placement from the first day of the program.

If you’re set on pursuing an MBA, consider a program that can:

  • Help you gain valuable practical experience
  • Teach you the theoretical skills necessary to succeed in a related career
  • Potentially help you pay back your tuition fees by letting you work as part of your degree

For all of this and more, consider the MBA program at Alliant International University.


Sources: 

  1.  “Master’s Degree in Business Administration Overview.” Alliant International University. Accessed April 17, 2023. http://lkb0.marziodangelo.com/business/business-administration/mba.
  2.  Hanson, Melanie. “Average Cost of a Master's Degree: 2023 Analysis.” Education Data Initiative, December 29, 2022. http://educationdata.org/average-cost-of-a-masters-degree. 
  3.  “Master’s in Business Administration Evening and Weekday Track Overview.” Alliant International University. Accessed April 14, 2023. http://lkb0.marziodangelo.com/business/business-administration/mba/evening-we….
  4.  “How to Pay for an MBA? Business School Financing Tips.” Sallie Mae. Accessed April 17, 2023. http://www.salliemae.com/student-loans/graduate-school-information/way…;
  5.  “Corporate Recruiters Survey.” Graduate Management Admission Council. Accessed April 17, 2023. http://www.gmac.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/employment-outlook/202…;
  6.  “10 Smart Mba Stats to Know before You Apply.” The Princeton Review. Accessed April 16, 2023. http://www.princetonreview.com/business-school-advice/mba-facts-and-st…;
  7.  “Careers after Business School.” The Princeton Review. Accessed April 17, 2023. http://www.princetonreview.com/business-school-advice/careers-after-bu…;
  8.  “Should You Go to Graduate School?” Harvard Business Review, January 12, 2020. http://hbr.org/2020/01/should-you-go-to-graduate-school. 
  9.  “Should You Go to Graduate School?” Harvard Business Review, January 12, 2020. http://hbr.org/2020/01/should-you-go-to-graduate-school. 
  10.  “Corporate Recruiters Survey.” Graduate Management Admission Council. Accessed April 17, 2023. http://www.gmac.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/employment-outlook/202…;
  11.  “30 Average Bonus Statistics [2023]: What Is the Average Bonus Percentage?” Zippia, March 1, 2023. http://www.zippia.com/advice/average-bonus-statistics/. 
  12.  “Corporate Recruiters Survey.” Graduate Management Admission Council. Accessed April 17, 2023. http://www.gmac.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/employment-outlook/202…;
  13.  “Corporate Recruiters Survey.” Graduate Management Admission Council. Accessed April 17, 2023. http://www.gmac.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/employment-outlook/202…;
  14.  “Corporate Recruiters Survey.” Graduate Management Admission Council. Accessed April 17, 2023. http://www.gmac.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/employment-outlook/202…;
  15.  Kagan, Julia. “What Is a Master of Business Administration (MBA)?” Investopedia. Investopedia, September 30, 2022. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/mba.asp. 
  16.  “What an MBA Degree Is and What You Need to Know.” US News. Accessed April 17, 2023. http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-business-sch…;

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