Getting an MBA is a significant investment on several levels. Aside from the obvious cost of MBA tuition, pursuing an advanced degree also requires serious investments of time and personal energy. These investments become even more challenging to make if you plan to continue working full time while you complete your graduate studies.
It makes sense, then, to consider the potential return on your investment in your MBA from multiple angles. A typical MBA ROI should certainly include a financial return, but it will also increase opportunities for personal and professional growth, and the exact kind of returns you receive will vary depending on where you choose to pursue your MBA.1 Learn more about everything that goes into your MBA ROI and how to determine where to achieve the right kind of MBA ROI for you.
What Makes Up Your MBA ROI?
Since you are making a significant financial investment in an MBA program, it makes sense that the most immediate return should be to your bank account. The statistics bear this out: MBA graduates can expect a significant starting salary premium over other types of new hires. While the median starting salary for new employees direct from a bachelor’s program is $65,000 and for hires from another industry role is $85,000, the median starting salary for MBA graduates is an impressive $105,000.2
This advantageous starting position for MBA graduate salaries is augmented with expected continued salary growth in the medium and long term. In three years after completing an MBA program, the average graduate sees an increase of around $70,000 over their pre-MBA salary.3
And if we're talking about ROI in a purely financial sense, some universities are confirmed to offer more than others. For instance, “Public Ivy” institution William & Mary, home of the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, has been rated the No. 7 Public University That Pays Off the Most by CNBC, a quantitative ranking that takes into account total expected net costs and 5- and 10-year salary outcomes.4
Greater Career Mobility
The true value of an MBA is greater than just the degree. The knowledge and skills you gain along the way are of equal importance to the professional credential itself, and they can open up important and exciting doors for you as your career evolves.
If you are looking to advance at your current employer, the leadership skills you develop in an MBA program can position you well to move into a management role. MBA alumni corroborate this, reporting that they receive more promotions after earning their advanced degree than they did prior to attending business school.5
An MBA can also equip you with the broader skills set you need to look outside of your current organization to a wider range of career options. Employers are planning on hiring MBA graduates at an increasingly high rate,6 meaning the time is now to capitalize on the available opportunities.
A Broader Network
MBA programs are not just about what you do in them, they’re about the people you meet along the way as well. One of the most valuable parts of the MBA experience is the professional network you will develop in your courses. Your cohort of classmates will be composed of professionals who are all just as intelligent and driven as you are, and any one of them could form the connection you need to take your career in an exciting new direction. And your faculty will be comprised of seasoned business professionals who would love to assist you either with career advice or by putting you in touch with their own vibrant professional networks. In fact, 75 percent of MBA or graduate business degree graduates report that their degree program helped enhance their network.5
While it may seem counterintuitive, online MBA programs are often particularly effective at promoting the development of a strong network. Online MBA programs expand the reach of traditional on-ground MBA programs to incorporate professionals from all over the country and even the world. The best online MBA programs feature novel, custom-built digital interfaces designed to enable collaboration and conversation between online students.
Dedicated Career Resources
All business schools understand that the promise they make to their students in terms of a meaningful MBA ROI is one of career advancement. They typically offer an impressive suite of career resources, often provided by both the university and by the business school. When you’re investigating which MBA program you might want to apply to, make sure to research the career resources they provide to get an idea of the level of commitment they are willing to offer toward your success.
Stronger Soft Skills
While hard, quantitative skills are an essential component of any successful business leader’s professional toolkit, the communication and leadership traits commonly referred to as “soft skills” are in increasingly high demand by employers.7 The ability to lead effectively hinges on your capacity to make well-reasoned decisions, to collaborate with coworkers and to compellingly convey your strategic recommendations to all stakeholders.
Truly forward-thinking MBA programs may even feature a thematic core that ties together all of the program’s coursework to help you grow into a well-rounded and effective leader. The “Renaissance Manger, Revolutionary Leader” curriculum in the Online MBA program at William & Mary emphasizes curiosity, collaboration and the synthesis of new ideas to grow your leadership potential in unique and powerful ways.
If you’ve considered each of these potential benefits and determined your MBA ROI outweighs the cost, consider the revolutionary Online MBA from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary. If you’re ready to begin your application, check out our advice on crafting a killer essay for your MBA application and acing your admission interview.
1. Retrieved on May 9, 2019, from usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/articles/2019-02-04/how-having-an-mba-on-your-resume-affect
2. Retrieved on May 9, 2019, from blog.gmac.com/gmac-advisor/mba-grads-command-salary-premium
3. Retrieved on May 9, 2019, from ft.com/content/a2813230-d69b-11e7-a303-9060cb1e5f44
4. Retrieved on November 6, 2019, from cnbc.com/2019/07/16/cnbc-make-it-the-top-50-us-colleges-that-pay-off-the-most-2019.html
5. Retrieved on May 9, 2019, from gmac.com/market-intelligence-and-research/market-research/alumni-perspectives-survey.aspx?WT.svl=HPC2014alumn
6. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from gmac.com/why-gmac/gmac-news/gmnews/2017/june-2017/companies-plan-to-hire-mba-graduates.aspx
7. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from poetsandquants.com/2015/01/12/to-employers-the-perfect-mba-looks-like-this/