The value of the MBA goes beyond purely financial estimates, as the degree also offers great potential for personal and professional development, satisfaction, and achievement. GMAC collected data from nearly 4,000 alumni, as well as thousands of this year’s graduating students and the employers planning to hire them and their feedback attests to the value of an MBA* degree.
Of course, your decision to earn an MBA is a highly personal one and frankly, the most compelling reasons for doing so lie not just in the statistical data, but also in the personal stories of students and alumni who can tell you about their experiences in an MBA program and beyond. Scroll down further to read two such personal stories from current second-year MBAs.
Three Dimensions of MBA Value
The personal, professional, and financial rewards post-MBA alumni have reaped since earning their graduate management degrees abound.
On the personal rewards:
- 93% of alumni from the classes of 2000 to 2011 say their MBA* was personally rewarding, a proportion that doesn’t vary more than a percentage point or two by graduation year
- Strong majorities of MBA alumni also report their degree helped improve their job satisfaction (87%) and enabled them to manage work/life balance (79%)
On the professional rewards and career outcomes:
- 77% of class of 2011 MBA alumni viewed their degree as essential for obtaining their first job after graduation
- 86% of full-time MBA alumni from classes of 2000–2011 say their promotions came faster than or when they expected
- A majority of MBA alumni report good to outstanding career outcomes from their degree in terms of qualitative (96%) and quantitative (93%) skills, opportunities for faster career advancement (88%), and leadership positions (92%)
On the financial rewards:
- Although salaries vary substantially by industry, experience, job position, and geographic location, class of 2012 MBA grads who participated in the Global Management Education Graduate Survey expected to see an average salary increase of 71% over their pre-degree salaries
- The salary premium employers expected to offer new hires with MBA degrees in 2012 over a new bachelor’s degree recipient is US$40,000
- The MBA’s return on investment is high: Across all MBA program types, alumni typically recouped the full investment in their degree after approximately 4 years
Two Personal Stories
Nick Quan, a second-year MBA student in the class of 2013 at Arizona State University, is married with three children and spent his professional career pretty much with one company. He says his choice to quit his job and go back to school full-time was a big leap of faith but a decision that his family decided “would be a great long-term decision, giving me the tools for a career change.”
Erin Whalen at the University of Texas, a second-year MBA who successfully launched two businesses in her career, realized that an MBA was a necessity to get her to the next level.
“The decision to leave the ‘real world’ and spend two years back in school was not an easy one. I had to balance the things I was giving up against the opportunities an MBA would provide.”
Your Story, Your Choice
Every choice you make in life involves tradeoffs. When you spent a few minutes reading this blog you gave up other uses of your time, like texting a friend, eating a snack, or going for walk. As Nick and Erin may tell you, going back to school means weighing the tradeoffs involved—taking time off from work or juggling a study/work schedule, living on reduced income, putting other personal and financial plans on hold—versus earning an advanced degree that can pay dividends over a lifetime. [And let’s be clear, factoring in the financial costs of going back to school full-time for a year or two will be a big part of your decision to pursue an MBA degree.]
The true value of the MBA can be found in assessing the cost of what you are foregoing today—short-term goals—in favor your long-term career goals.
Make the choice to hear more personal stories from our other student video bloggers. They’ll show you how they chose to turn a challenge into an opportunity. And be sure to check out the advice from post-MBA alumni who can help you find the right business school, explore your industry options, and launch your career.
* Reference to MBA programs in the data above includes full-time, part-time, and executive MBA programs. Data for flexible MBA and online/distance MBA programs are not included in graduating students or alumni data. Employers and corporate recruiters are not asked to distinguish recent MBA new hires by program type. Data published in Graduate Management News and the GMAC NewsCenter on August 13, 2012.