What is the ROI of an MBA?

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If you’re considering an MBA, there’s a good chance you’re already thinking about your tuition and your education as an investment. And like any other investment, you should have questions about what your return will be. To answer those questions, you need to figure out how you’ll measure that return. Is it all about your future earnings? Maybe you’re more interested in the quality of work you’ll have the opportunity to perform once you’re done? Either way, the decision to pursue an MBA is personal, and so are the metrics by which you’ll measure its value. Let’s take a look at some of the factors you may want to consider.

Financial benefits of an MBA

If you’re considering an advanced business degree, you may wonder what level of salary increase you can expect from an MBA. The answer to that question will likely depend on where you work and in what industry. The Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC) 2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report makes it clear that MBA graduates will continue to command a premium salary, and notes that 52 percent of companies around the globe increased base salaries for MBA hires in 2018. To estimate your post-MBA earnings, check out mba.com’s interactive salary calculator.

Your professional network

One of the most powerful rewards of the MBA experience is the quality and size of the network you build while completing your degree. You have the power to directly impact the value of your network, and it can and should extend far beyond your classmates and peers to include your professors and even business leaders you meet. Your network is so influential to your MBA ROI that it should be a significant factor as you research and apply to schools. Ask admissions representatives about networking opportunities and the strength of their program’s professional associations to get a feel for this valuable benefit. 

Each year, GMAC surveys thousands of b-school alumni for details about their experience and to track career progression. Historically, 75 percent of alumni stated that their graduate management education helped develop their professional network. One indicator that schools are placing an even greater importance on network development is that in 2016 and 2017, the number of alumni who said their education influenced their network rose sharply to 83 percent. But perhaps the most compelling reason to believe in the value of an alumni network is that 95 percent of survey participants said they would recruit graduates of their alma mater for career opportunities.

When it comes to effective networking, understand that it’s not always about who you know, but how and where you go about meeting new people. Also, remember that a strong network is often about how you can help others, and not just about how it can help you. Being a generous member of an active professional network is often an overlooked way to increase the ROI of your MBA.

What’s important to you?

Questions about the ROI of an MBA mostly translate to questions about expected salaries and career advancement. But it’s also important to think about what motivates you. For example, could the type of work you get to do with an MBA provide satisfaction beyond the highest salary possible? Could the network you gain be more valuable than the amount on your paycheck? These are all things that you should think about when exploring MBA programs, and the mba.com School Search tool is the perfect way to get started.

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