Are The Benefits Of Business School And An MBA Worth It? (2023)

The thought of going back to business school appeals to those who want to boost their income and advance in their career. However, business school can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $150,000 per year, so it is critical that the benefits of business school will outweigh the costs. Even the average cost of $60,000 is too expensive to "find yourself".

If you're thinking about going to business school to get your MBA, you should do so with specific purpose and be working to realize specific benefits. You need to have a specific ROI on the investmentin your education.

Is going to business school and getting an MBA worth it? Maybe.

I received my MBA and I can honestly tell you that it was only worth it because it was partially-paid for by my employer. The true out-of-pocket cost of $80,000 would probably not have been worth it.

With that being said, these are the questions that you should answer before pursuing an MBA.

Will I Gain Credibility?

Many individuals choose to go to business school to gain business credibility in the corporate world. Businesses want employees who have proven strategic business skills and top shelf communication skills, and an MBA signals that you are the type of person who will ask the right questions and make sound decisions.

Having an MBA demonstrates your commitment to understanding the business perspectives of decisions, and it shows that you can communicate with a variety of people, even executives. The credibility that you gain from an MBA works far beyond the interview room. Consultants and technical salespeople will make quick inroads at companies when executives realize that these people know how to make strategic decisions.

(Video) Pros and Cons of Pursuing an MBA | Is Business School Worth It?

For many people though, credibility won’t be worth the cost. Small business owners and self-employed people know that their real value comes from serving their customers well.

Even within the corporate world, a top tier performer won’t need an MBA to bolster their claims of value. If an MBA doesn’t enhance your credibility, then it is just expensive initials behind your name. The value of credibility comes down to your circumstances and your career aspirations.

However, there are still some corporations whose "politics" will require a higher education degree. In these companies, make sure you really compute the ROI before you make your investment. Or better yet, make them pay for it.

Is This The Best Way To Bolster Business Skills?

Formal business training allows students to gain technical business skills that complement their real world experiences. Whether you need to learn a formal framework for decision making or how to keep pace in an increasingly digitized world, business school can offer you the theory, hard skills and know-how that you need to continue self-teaching on your own.

Business schools provide a basis of knowledge that will allow you to adapt to a changing marketplace, understand best management practices, make decisions in the face of ambiguity, conduct cost and benefit analysis, and perform advanced risk assessments. These are the types of skills employers want, but they can also help you if you’re self-employed or a small business owner. Careers in general and small business ownership in particular can be full of volatility, and having sound decision making frameworks can give you the skills you need to thrive.

On the other hand, with enough initiative, you may be able to gain these skills on your own. Subject matter experts offer online training through sources like Udemy, Khan Academy, and Coursera, and you can read books by experts or subscribe to Harvard Business Review. Self-paced learning isn’t the same as the business school experience, but in some circumstances it may offer even more value, since you can tailor your learning to your experiences. The skills you learn in business school are complementary to real world experience, but it’s worth considering if you can get the same skills at a lower price.

From my own experience, this is one of the main drivers behind my choice to go to business school. I wanted to gain more business technical skills than I had already. Sadly, I didn't get much use from the stuff I learned in business school. I learned so much more doing it myself in my online business and by watching and following other experts in the field.

I felt that my experience in business school was very much "how business was in 1985", and not enough "how business will be in 2025". I think this is changing at many business schools - especially those with a focus on entrepreneurship - but try to understand what you're getting when you apply.

(Video) Is Business School Worth It? How MBA Programs Are Revamping in 2019 | WSJ

Will My Professional Network Expand?

The digital revolution makes connecting with others easier than ever, but nothing replaces the value of a face to face connection like the kind you’ll make at business schools. Business schools brim with the best and brightest, and some of your classmates will go on to become Fortune 100 executives or start exciting businesses. Studying with this type of person may help you grow the type of professional network that will help you succeed.

In addition to networking with other students, Business Schools (especially top tier business schools like Harvard, MIT or Cornell) have engaged alumni networks that might help you land your first high paying job out of business school. When you properly nurture your network, it can be your most valuable professional asset, and an MBA program gives you unprecedented access to people who can connect you with opportunities.

However, having access to other MBAs is no guarantee that your network will improve. The network that you’re most likely to gain through an MBA are people with experience in finance and large corporations. If you want an entrepreneurial business partner or to meet top players in a niche industry, then an MBA may not be right for you.

Even if an MBA program offers you the right networking opportunities, you have to nurture those connections. If you’re too busy with a full time job, academic commitments, and other family and friends you may come away from business school with only a few weak links. Many people will find their best connections through attending industry specific conferences, and by connecting with people who live near them rather than through business school.

I can safely say that the professional network I build during my time in business school was the most valuable aspect of my program. Years later, I'm still in contact with my cohort, and they provide invaluable connections and knowledge whenever I need it. It's amazing. Was it worth $80,000? I don't know. But it clearly was the biggest value-add of my experience.

Can I Expect A Pay Raise With An MBA?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with professional degrees (like an MBA) can expect to earn almost $28K per year more than those with just a bachelor’s degree ($1,639 per week vs $1,101). Many of the highest paying corporate jobs are reserved for people with MBAs, and in some cases an MBA will translate into years of meaningful experience in the eyes of people offering you jobs.

Of course, a pay raise isn’t a guarantee. Some people will graduate from business school with tons of student loan debt and no increased opportunity. The key to obtaining a pay raise is the ability to market your new skills to the right people, and consistently applying your learning in the business setting. Small business owners, self-employed people, and people who intend to stay in their previous field are less likely to experience a significant pay bump than those who use the MBA as a bridge to a new career.

According to a recent US News survey, the average MBA holder earns $115,000 per year five years after graduation. It also depends on what school your graduate from.

(Video) Should You Apply to a Top MBA Business School in 2022?

If you get an MBA from Harvard, the average salary is $225,000 five years after graduation, but when you look at the bottom of the list of schools, you'll see salaries in the $84,000 per year range. That can be a tough pill to swallow if you only earn $85,000.

Do I Need To Know The Language Of Business?

Within the corporate world, each business function from sales to finance has its own language. To achieve corporate success, you need to know those languages, and business school teaches you these languages, so you can communicate with all teams in a business. You will also learn how to read and interpret business statements which is a skill that will allow you to better manage your team to achieve your business goals. Like learning any language, learning the language of business requires intentional practice, and business school offers the opportunity to learn that language in a way that corporate experience never offers.

However, your career aspirations may not require that you know the how to speak effectively with every business function. For some people, gaining communication expertise within their business function will allow them to accelerate their career while other people may see the most success by learning the business language of their clients or customers.

Remember too, that each company uses its own language as well. You might be better off getting a job at a great company and working for a couple years, versus spending a lot of money to try and learn something you could get paid to do.

Who Will Pay For Your MBA?

If your company will pay for most or all of your MBA program, then the benefits are likely to outweigh the costs. When the only cost to you is your time, then pursuing an MBA offers huge potential benefits at a low personal cost. My company partially paid for my MBA via tuition reimbursement, and I think the fact that I didn’t have to pay for all of my degree made the experience worth my time. People who receive significant scholarships or other forms of funding may see business school as more worthwhile than those who don’t.

On the other hand, people who quit their jobs to pursue business school will need to see some compelling financial ROI for business school to be worthwhile. In addition to the high cost of tuition (often more than six figures per year), full time students sacrifice their salary and side business opportunities to obtain their degree.

If you need to borrow, make sure you look at the best student loans to pay for your MBA. There are specific loans that make sense to use when getting an MBA.

How To Calculate The ROI Of Your MBA

If you're reading this, you're likely thinking of getting an MBA, and you're also probably more analytical than most. You may be wondering - how can I calculate the ROI and decide if business school is worth it.

(Video) Is the MBA worth it? (2022)

Well, you can do some basic net-present value equations to determine the ROI. Here's what to consider:

  • The out-of-pocket cost of getting an MBA (this is your net price minus financial aid such as scholarships or tuition reimbursement). You should be counting any money borrowed as a cost.
  • The potential increase in your earnings as a result of your MBA.

For example, let's say your out of pocket cost of getting an MBA is $100,000. Let's say you currently earn $80,000 per year, and getting your MBA will increase your salary to $120,000 per year.

In this simple example, your MBA is likely worthwhile because you see an earnings jump of $40,000 (which will likely equate to about $800,000 or more over your lifetime), while the cost is $100,000. In fact, your MBA will pay for itself within 2 years.

However, if you currently earn $80,000, and you will only see a pay increase of $5,000 after graduation (to make your salary $85,000), spending that same $100,000 out of pocket is probably not worth it. Your lifetime earnings as a result of the MBA will likely only increase by $100,000 to $150,000, and spending $100,000 today to break even isn't great. If you borrow that money (via student loans), you'll likely see a negative ROI.

The key here is that you need to do the math.

So, Is An MBA Worth It?

Well, like everything in life, it all depends. Who pays for business school may be the most important consideration in deciding whether or not business school will be worthwhile for you. But there could be other issues that play a huge role in it for you.

I think, like everything education and money related, you need to do a real Return on Investment calculation about how much you're going to spend, and what you think your post-graduation salary is going to be. Luckily, business school still tends to be a real salary booster for most people. If you're debt free going into business school, and plan on spending $60,000 - you should expect your salary to increase by at least that over the first 5 years post graduation. If it doesn't, the ROI might not be there.

Once again, though, look for alternatives to paying, like tuition reimbursement. It makes an MBA much more reasonable for the price free.

(Video) Warren Buffett gives his thoughts on whether business school is worth it

Readers, what are your thoughts on the benefits of business school?


Is it worth it to go to business school? ›

In The End, Is Business School Worth It? For many, the answer is a resounding yes. The time-tested, cross-functional and leadership-focused curriculum of an MBA transcends business trends to arm executives with skills to move business forward.

Is it worth it to get an MBA? ›

According to a 2022 survey of corporate recruiters, the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) projected that MBA graduates working at US companies would earn a median annual salary of $115,000 in 2022. Non-MBA degree holders were projected to earn much less: $75,000 for bachelor's degree holders [1].

What are the advantages to going to business school? ›

An MBA can enhance your marketability as a professional and increase the quality and quantity of job opportunities. Over 98% of Wharton MBA graduates are extended full-time job offers. An MBA also helps you build business leadership skills, as well as a professional network.

Is MBA necessary to be successful in business pros and cons? ›

Yes – MBA is necessary.

1. Management of two P's – MBA is important because every successful business man in the country should manage both the product and people in an efficient manner. People those who do not possess any managerial skills, should take up MBA course to improve the knowledge of management. 2.

Will an MBA increase my salary? ›

Overall, MBA holders enjoyed median salaries in the range of $115,000 per year in 2022—more than double what graduates with only a bachelor's degree in business administration earned. However, factors such as your location, seniority, industry and organization can all affect your potential salary as an MBA graduate.

What are the disadvantages of MBA? ›

Advantages and Disadvantages of an MBA
Increased job opportunitiesCost of study
Personal and entrepreneurial skill developmentTime commitment
Specialized in the field of interest with management skillsLack of practical and applied learning
High salaryRisk of ROI
1 more row
16 Nov 2022

Is an MBA still worth it in 2022? ›

Is an MBA worth it in 2022? The potential for career progression and higher earnings, along with the advanced skills earned in this master's program, mean an MBA is still broadly valuable.

Is MBA still respected? ›

Nearly 90 percent of employers said they plan to hire Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduates in 2021. Despite a global pandemic, and economic and political uncertainty, the demand for MBA-level business professionals continues to rise across industries.

Is MBA worth it at 30? ›

30 somethings enroll in MBA programs for the same reasons that their younger counterparts do. They want the experience that a full-time MBA program offers students. They also want to earn more once they do earn their MBA degrees. Finally, most of these students want to belong to an exclusive MBA alumni network.

What is the starting salary after MBA? ›

Average MBA Salary as per specialization
MBA SpecializationAverage MBA Salary*
MBA FinanceRs 2,00,000 to Rs 14,70,000
MBA Human Resource ManagementRs 4,50,000 to Rs 15,50,000
MBA Information TechnologyRs 10,000 to Rs 6,00,000
MBA Logistics ManagementRs 6,25,000 to Rs 8,50,000
1 more row
29 Oct 2022

Is MBA difficult for average students? ›

Many potential students ask why MBAs are so difficult to graduate. But they ask the wrong question, the truth being: for the average student, MBAs are quite easy to graduate. But as you'll probably learn during your Master's in Business Administration: your attitude makes up over 50% of your professional success.

What can I do with an MBA and no experience? ›

  • Lecturer jobs.
  • MongoDB jobs.
  • Business Intelligence Analyst jobs.
  • Marketing Analyst jobs.
  • Strategy Consultant jobs.
  • Engagement Director jobs.
  • Program Developer jobs.
  • NVIDIA jobs.

Is an MBA more valuable than a business degree? ›

The same website reports that people with an MBA earn nearly $20,000 more on average than people with a bachelor's degree in business. Professionals with a B.A. in Business Administration earn an average salary of about $69,000, compared to MBA holders at roughly $88,000.

Which MBA job has highest salary? ›

Investment banking is the one of the highest MBA salary in India you can get. MBA graduates who wish to pursue this career path would have to choose their subjects with a focus on finance.

Why do employers prefer an MBA? ›

MBA Graduates for Hire

The degree is comprehensive, and it helps the student have a better grasp of the industry they will work in. The MBA graduate has a high level of education, and they are suited to training people below them who have not been through such a program yet.

Why MBA students are paid so much? ›

MBA graduates creatively solve problems while managing people. Such skills that an MBA program teaches are highly sought after by modern-day employers. Recruiters see that the demand for innovation and strategic thinking will grow in the next decade.

Why are MBA salaries so high? ›

The core curriculum provides a cross functional view of learning business skills and tools necessary in today's companies. A graduate brings old and new knowledge into the company and the MBA provides the additional time to acquire expertise for higher salaries.

Is it better to get a Masters or an MBA? ›

While the MBA is suited to students from any academic or professional background who want greater career flexibility, management roles, or business ownership, Masters programmes are the better option for students who want highly specialised knowledge in a specific area.

Why has MBA lost its value? ›

The main reason is that curricula have not kept pace to match the requirements of today's industries. Professor Bones says that MBA programs have hardly changed from 10 or even 20 years ago. Current programs, according to him, don't address the needs of 21st century business.

Is it possible to fail an MBA? ›

Yes, students can fail an MBA program. Students with low grades or those who fail to complete coursework may not complete their degree. MBA programs reserve the right to expel students for poor academic performance.

Is MBA life stressful? ›

Earning an MBA is intense, and there will be stressful moments no matter what you do. Making your MBA experience a success depends upon a thoroughly researched understanding of how your program's resources can help you achieve your professional goals.

At what age is MBA too late? ›

Although most incoming MBA classes have an average age in the late 20s, you're never too old to apply to business school. Age is not a criterion considered in the admissions process. If you have the academic and professional experience required, you're old enough to apply for an MBA.

When should you not get an MBA? ›

Here are 10:
  • You won't make more money. ...
  • The value of an MBA depends greatly upon the rank of the school. ...
  • The debt puts you risk averse at a time you should be trying things out. ...
  • Earning an MBA is a time suck. ...
  • An MBA may not be relevant to the job you truly want. ...
  • The value of an MBA doesn't last forever.
2 Feb 2016

Is MBA over hyped? ›

MBA is one of the finest degree to have if you are looking for a job or wants to rapidly increase your business. Almost every management colleges which is above average gives 100% placement to their students and too to the top most multi national companies with handsome salaries.

Are MBA students happy? ›

Not all new MBA grads were as happy, according to the survey. The number of MBA students who said they were satisfied with their job offers fell to 32 percent, from 45 percent one year ago. The number of students who said they are dissatisfied with their offers doubled, to 14 percent, from last year.

Is an MBA impressive? ›

The master of business administration (MBA) has become one of the most popular and prestigious graduate degrees.

What is the best age to do MBA? ›

Studies suggest that the best age for pursuing a normal MBA course in India is 25-27, and for an Executive MBA, it is 28-30. However, these are just numbers, and remember that you can do an MBA at any age! You can reach out to MBA degree holders and visit B-schools for additional information.

At what age do most people start MBA? ›

Full-time program students average about 27 years old when starting their MBA programs. This fits in with the three to six years of work experience most graduate students have before starting their MBA.

What is the average age to do MBA? ›

Average Candidates Age at Top B-Schools
11 more rows

Who earns more MBA or engineer? ›

160,000 per year. According to Universum India Talent Report 2019, the average salary expected by engineering graduates is nearly equal to that expected by MBA graduates. This report also says that while the expected remuneration of an IT graduate is ₹945,852, the salary expectations of an MBA graduate are at ₹924,660.

Which is the most demanding MBA course? ›

Here is a list of the top MBA courses and their career progression.
  • MBA in Digital Marketing.
  • MBA in Business Analytics.
  • MBA in Data Analytics.
  • MBA in Entrepreneurship.
  • MBA in Finance.
  • MBA in Strategy.
  • MBA in International Business.
  • MBA in Human Resource Management.
11 Oct 2022

Can I become CEO after MBA? ›

You don't have to absolutely get an MBA to become a CEO. But, a Master of Business Administration degree will provide you with knowledge and networking skills that are important for the job role.

What is the hardest subject in MBA? ›

The hardest part of an MBA program – Prioritizing
  1. Time management. Learn to use different tools to organize your time. ...
  2. Business course preparation. The International MBA curriculum is meant to challenge you to learn new skills and expertise. ...
  3. Career connections.
8 Dec 2017

How many hours a week should I study for MBA? ›

On average, most students will need to study for around 150 hours to complete each MBA subject. That means you will need to be able to schedule 20 MBA hours per week in your calendar. Keep in mind that some weeks you may need a little more time and some weeks you may need a little less.

Which is the easiest MBA? ›

CAT is the toughest because its score is used by legacy IIMs which are the best B-Schools in India. In India, based on MBA aspirant's feedback, CMAT is the easiest MBA entrance examination.

Can an introvert be an MBA? ›

It's the introverts who are better at thinking through possible scenarios and making better long-term decisions. Cain points to Warren Buffet as an introvert who exemplifies sound business decisions. So don't fear, MBA introverts. You may not be the loudest voice in the classroom, but you're in good company.

Is it easy to get a job after MBA? ›

Since MBA covers various domains, it opens up to massive job opportunities. Some top job roles include marketing manager, investment banker, product manager, chief technology officer, retail manager, and many more.

How do you survive an MBA life? ›

7 Ways To Survive The First Year Of MBA
  1. More is less: Hide. ...
  2. If you're not networking, you are not working. ...
  3. Birds of the same feather, flock together: ...
  4. There will never be enough time: ...
  5. Help will be given to those who ask for it: ...
  6. Survival of the fittest: ...
  7. You're never too important.
9 Mar 2017

Can you make millions with an MBA? ›

However, the real return on investment of an MBA lies in your lifetime earnings. An analysis of salary data collected through Poets&Quants and PayScale shows MBA graduates will earn $5.7 million after graduating and working 35 years, $2.3 million more than individuals with undergraduate degrees.

What's next after your MBA? ›

Pursue another degree

D. programs. You might also choose to pursue another master's-level degree in another discipline after completing your MBA. You might choose this option if you are interested in specializing in another academic area or if your line of work calls for additional graduate-level coursework.

How much do MBA graduates make after 10 years? ›

DegreeLifetime Median Cash PayEarly Career Median Pay
Top 10 MBA Degrees$8,045,000$133,000
Top 50 MBA Degrees$5,655,000$93,500
All MBA Degrees$4,110,000$68,000
All Bachelor's Degrees$3,320,000$55,000
1 more row
5 May 2021

Does an MBA look good on a resume? ›

Adding an MBA to your resume is a great way to impress recruiters and pique their interest. Generally, you should list an MBA in your resume's Education section. All general education rules apply for your MBA, too. MBAs work great with the reverse chronological resume format.

Is business school really hard? ›

The b-school curriculum is challenging, and students must work hard to keep up. But the bottom line is that the goal of every business student is to get a challenging, high-paying job after graduation.

Is business school better than university? ›

A business school is just as good and accredited as much as a university, it is just more specialised. They both offer business courses for both bachelor and masters degree levels. They both have admissions and often taxes that students have to pay.

Is business school actually hard? ›

In general, a business degree is not hard. However, your course load may be heavy, which I'll discuss further in a moment. And some courses will be harder for some than others. But the depth of study in each area is not as great as it would be for a specialized Business Major.

What GPA do you need to get into a good business school? ›

Generally speaking, a 'good' GPA is anything between 3.0 and 3.5. However, what a good GPA is differs depending on the business school you're applying for. At some of the world's best business schools like Harvard Business School, Stanford, or Wharton, a GPA score of higher than 3.5 is commonplace among MBA students.

Is an MBA math heavy? ›

Although most of your MBA math courses will not require a great deal of mathematical calculations, it is important to understand that you will have to work with numbers and apply mathematical principles such as averages, percentages and ratios throughout your online MBA program.

What is the hardest MBA class? ›

Here, in broad strokes, are some of the most difficult classes involved in an MBA program:
  • Accounting & Economics. ...
  • Management Communications. ...
  • Capstone Courses & Practical Projects.

Is an MBA only worth it from a top school? ›

Earning an MBA can enhance one's career path or help land a high-paying job. Typically, however, the expense is only offset if the degree is earned from a top-tier business school and if the career path sought is business-related.

Is Ivy League business school worth it? ›

An Ivy League education can give you a head start in highly competitive fields like finance, law, and business consulting. Top global companies understand that the Ivies house some of the best and brightest students, so they'll hire directly from the source more often than not.

What GPA is too low for MBA? ›

There is no one particular answer to this question, but generally, a score lower than 3.4 GPA may be considered a low GPA. If you wish to target the top MBA programs, you may want to have a safe ground at 3.4 and above. The average GPA score to join an MBA course for the top 50 universities lies between 3.4 and 3.7.

Is a 3.7 GPA good for MBA? ›

At most top 20 schools, the average GPA hovers around 3.5, making a 3.5 a solid baseline GPA for admissions. For very high-ranking MBA programs like Harvard and Stanford, average undergraduate GPAs are closer to 3.7.

Is a 3.8 MBA GPA good? ›

A good GPA score usually ranges anywhere between 3.0 and 3.5, and the GPA scale ranges between 1.0 and 4.0. Students in the top MBA programs in the US tend to have higher average GPA scores, which reflects the academically rigorous curriculum at the best schools.


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