How valuable is an MBA today?

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Earning an advanced degree, like an MBA, takes plenty of commitment, time, and of course, money. It’s for these reasons that many would-be MBA students question the degree’s worth. While their fears are understandable, they’re also mostly unfounded. Most people who pursue an MBA find that there are numerous benefits that accompany a degree of this prestige.

As the bachelor’s degree becomes commonplace and is, thereby, devalued due to its raging popularity, a post-graduate degree has transitioned from superfluous to increasingly vital. Here’s a closer look at a few of the reasons why an MBA degree is so valuable today in this day in age.

Is there a networking benefit?

A large percentage of undergraduates go on to receive an MBA because they want to give their salary a boost. However, that’s not the only reason why aspiring graduate students will brave the waters of business school.

Many would-be MBA students are interested in this particular degree because they believe that the degree, or more specifically, where they get the degree, will increase their networking opportunities. This is why so many prospective MBA students are willing to apply to Ivy League schools, like Harvard, even despite the discouraging Harvard acceptance rate of 30% or less—depending on a variety of factors.

The risk of applying to more competitive schools, facing denial, and wasting the cost of admission fees is deemed worthwhile due to the potential reward: mentorships from the most esteemed professors in the nation, a stamp of prestige in the application process, and connections to high-paying positions.

According to Investopedia, big-name schools are attractive to ambitious students because once those students are within the school’s hallowed walls, they’ll come into contact with other high-performing students. Building relationships with their fellow students often means the difference between making connections at a top firm or not.

Many times, the opportunities that result from these interactions aren’t advertised. With the right contacts at your disposal, you’re likely to be invited to a networking opportunity at a local community fundraiser or charity event. It’s often these informal meet-ups where the real job hunt begins for many enrolled MBA students.

How much does it cost to earn one?

For many potential MBA students, assessing their return on investment (ROI) is one the first points of concern. The financial sacrifice associated with an MBA degree is a legitimate worry for most aspiring students. According to the website Money Under 30, it costs anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 to earn an MBA. In order to determine if it’s worth it or not, students will have to perform self-reflection and assess the likelihood of their advanced degree increasing their salary.

For example, if earning an MBA costs a student $80,000 to earn, but increases the MBA grad’s salary by $25,000 a year, then most would consider this postgraduate education worth the initial sacrifice. With these figures, it will take the MBA graduate just over three years to pay off the cost of their degree. After that three-year mark, any money that’s earned goes into the MBA graduate’s pocket, into their bank accounts, and into other investment properties.

How many MBA graduates are employed?

Nearly 90% of MBA graduates are employed. Of those, nearly 30% work at publicly-traded companies, another almost 20% work at Fortune 500 firms. What’s more, most MBAs report feeling very satisfied with their choice to pursue a Master in Business Administration. Many say they’d embark on this educational path again if they were given the opportunity for a redo.

However, these numbers only tell part of the story. The reason why so many MBA graduates are gainfully employed is that they learn valuable skills while enrolled in their institution of choice. MBA students engage in coursework in management, operations, marketing and advertising, economics, and more.

These courses give graduates the skills they need to compete in the business world. Many MBA graduates even go on to work in international business, due in part, to the training they received in business school. Whatever their specialty, an MBA graduate won’t be scavenging for a job, no matter how competitive the job market.

Final thoughts on earning an MBA

Earning an MBA does come with a variety of benefits, including increased networking potential, higher pay, and more job satisfaction. However, many MBA students should examine the possible drawbacks associated with earning an MBA before making their final decision and committing to thousands of dollars in student loan debt.

Most will review the cost before any other factor. After all, many MBA programs do cost a great deal of money. For the businessperson stationed in the early or mid-stages of his or her career, paying off the debt in the allotted time shouldn’t be an issue.

However, for the older MBA student, it can be. The businessperson who earns an MBA in his or her 20s or 30s still has a number of years to pay off that big debt. The mid-to-late-career MBA graduate may not be as fortunate.

Eighty-thousand dollars in college debt looks very different to a 29-year-old than it does to a 49-year-old. In light of this, it’s best to earn an MBA early on in a person’s career in order to maximize the benefits of an MBA and take advantage of all the perks that accompany this particular postgraduate degree.

That being said, any cost, emotional or financial, that stems from a degree is often outweighed by all of its advantages. Most MBA-earners report that they’re very satisfied with their degree path after they earn their degree. These MBA holders are likely to wind up in better jobs, many times due to the degree itself but also because they’ve attended a top school, which is known to open up doors to a number of opportunities. Don’t rule out a Master in Business Administration without careful calculation.