When Can I Expect to See a Return on My Investment for a Business Master’s Degree?

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A business master's can often be the key to a higher salary, but how soon can you expect to see a return on your investment?

The benefits of graduate management education are longstanding and far-reaching. Your degree can take you to the cutting edge of business and to greater heights in your career. But completing a business master’s degree is no small commitment, and you may be wondering when you can expect to see a return on your investment (ROI).

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What factors influence the ROI of a business master’s?

Before we can discuss the pace of your return, we must first establish what influences the outcome of your business master’s education. First, you need to evaluate the out-of-pocket costs to attend your chosen institution, which include both your tuition and living expenses, as well as the opportunity cost of lost wages. Second, estimate the salary—and signing bonus—you expect to earn upon graduation and throughout your career. In general, if your salary is lower than the cost of your education, it will take you longer to see a positive ROI, and vice versa. Learn more about the salary expectations for business master’s degrees.

In the most recent Alumni Perspectives Survey, b-school alumni reported that it takes, on average, fewer than four years to recoup the cost of their graduate management degree.

How long does it take to see an ROI on your business master’s degree?

In the Graduate Management Admission Council’s™ latest Alumni Perspectives Survey, b-school alumni reported that it takes, on average, fewer than four years to recoup the cost of their graduate management education. It takes full-time, two-year MBA alumni about 3.5 years to recoup their investment, followed by 2.5 years for one-year accelerated, part-time, online, and executive MBA graduates. Specialized business master’s programs reported faster ROI times when compared with MBA programs.

Opportunity costs are a major factor that contribute to longer ROI times since you must recoup these as well as the cost of your education in order to realize a positive return. The rate of your return can also be affected by external circumstances, such as the time period when you graduate and current economic conditions. Consider these alongside your projected growth as you weigh the ROI for different schools and programs.

Beyond increased earning potential, what is the value of a business master’s degree?

What’s not present in the numbers, however, are the non-monetary gains achieved by business master’s students. You can expect to realize an incredible amount of personal growth when undertaking a graduate business degree. Not only will you develop your interpersonal “soft skills,” but you’ll gain a sense of pride, confidence, and independence from successfully completing your degree. You can begin to reap these skills as early as the application phase and expect them to last throughout your career.

What does a business master’s degree get you?

Is a business master’s worth it? The short answer: yes. B-school alumni earn a median cumulative base salary of $2.5 million over 20 years after graduation. With careful consideration, the right program can produce a positive ROI on your business master’s. Start your b-school search today when you complete your profile on mba.com.

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