An MBA can catapult your earnings, possibly into six figures and beyond. A study of graduates who got their degrees between 2009 and 2018 found an average salary bump of $36,472 for mean earnings of $116,248.
Despite the potential for a significant pay increase, many still wonder if the cost of tuition for an MBA program is worth it. You may be surprised to learn how quickly you’ll start to see a positive return on investment. With the average cost of an MBA program being around $60,000, the degree pays for itself in less than 2 years. SNU’s MBA program is around $27,000, which means you could potentially pay off your student loans with your extra earnings within the first year.
The benefits of an MBA extend well beyond earning potential, too. No matter where you work or what you hope to do, a deep understanding of the inner workings of business immediately makes you a more valuable employee. It can also equip you with the skills you need to climb the corporate ladder or even start your own business. Here’s how the right program could change your life.
Regardless of which role you choose, an MBA can increase your earnings. The specific dollar value depends on the industry you select, as well as the specific skills with which you leave the program. For example, careers in finance and IT offer very high earnings for people with MBA training. That’s why it’s important to choose a school with industry connections and a commitment to helping you master skills that can serve you in the real world.
Some employers also offer signing bonuses to new hires with an MBA. In some cases, these bonuses are as high as $30,000 or more. For new graduates hoping to start families or pay down debt, this sudden influx of cash can immediately affect lifestyle and boost financial stability. These bonuses are usually based on the value the company thinks you will bring to the workplace. The training you receive during your MBA program can help you highlight this value, interview more effectively, and confidently display your skills.
Even if you don’t select a highly lucrative role, an MBA can raise the ceiling of your potential lifetime earnings. Some employers will only hire or promote people with master’s degrees, while others offer automatic salary increases to employees who have advanced degrees. The higher your earnings are to start, the higher they can become, especially if your employer offers annual cost-of-living raises.
More Job Opportunities
An MBA opens doors to jobs that might not have previously been attainable. In one 2016 survey, 96 percent of employers said that business school graduates bring value to their companies. Seventy-nine percent of employers said they planned to hire business school graduates in the coming year, and 58 percent said they would increase salaries for an MBA alumni at or above the rate of inflation.
Unemployment rates drop as educational attainment rises. In 2018, the unemployment rate for master’s degree holders was a mere 2.1 percent, compared to 4.1 percent with just a high school diploma, 3.7 percent with some college, and 2.2 percent with a bachelor’s degree.
Skills That Are Applicable Virtually Anywhere
MBA programs teach flexible, business-oriented thinking that can apply to virtually anything you might do. You'll become a master of leadership, creative thinking, communication, analysis, cross-cultural business customs, and more. These skills can help you become a better manager, a more effective communicator, and even a more thoughtful parent.
People with MBAs work in a wide variety of settings like human resources, finance, tech, retail management, international trade and commerce, and much more. Even in professions seemingly divorced from business, the training of an MBA may prove invaluable. A non-profit employee may gain skills that help them cut costs and gain more funding, while a pet groomer could master basic principles that help them start their own business and attract loyal customers.
Many degree programs are highly theoretical. However, in an MBA program, theory immediately becomes practice. The scenarios you explore in the classroom and in your projects are similar to the challenges you’ll experience at work. You may also learn to view common workplace issues from a different perspective because you’ll gain an appreciation for the economic, organizational, and sociological theories that affect on-the-job behavior and decision-making.
Become Your Own Boss
Entrepreneurship offers independence and a chance to live life on your own terms, make a difference in the world, and experiment with different ways of operating a company. As a business owner, the only cap on your own earnings is your ability to generate profits. You can create a business culture that reflects your values, work with employees you like, and maybe even cash out and retire early.
Yet, business ownership is hard work, and most people lack the skills necessary to be successful on their own. An MBA offers greater understanding of the principles that drive successful businesses. So if you aspire to entrepreneurship, consider an MBA as a sort of insurance for the future that can increase your earnings until you start your own company. Nearly a quarter of MBA holders start a business within four years of graduation.
Potent Networking Tool
Upon graduating from an MBA program, you probably hope to increase your earnings and land a lucrative, rewarding career. However, the quest for a great job begins well before you don your graduation cap and gown. The connections you make in business school can serve you for the life of your career. Some of the networking benefits of an MBA include:
- You will meet other driven, business-minded students. Some MBA students even start businesses with people they meet in school.
- Your relationships with professors can serve you when you transition to an industry. Exceptional MBA programs hire professionals who are leaders in the world of business. You might get a recommendation, or even a job, from a professor whom everyone respects.
- Your school may have close ties to local or regional businesses, giving you a leg up on the competition when you graduate. Be sure to ask which specific industries recent graduates tend to choose.
High Return on Investment
A PayScale survey of MBA holders found average salaries of $84,000 per year. Graduates with one year of work experience had average earnings of $52,872. That’s significantly higher than the $48,400 a college graduate with a Bachelor’s degree can expect to earn with zero to five years of experience. And the longer a career lasts, the more a person can earn. After 10-19 years of experience, earnings for MBA holders topped $100,000. This means that the increased earnings for MBAs quickly eclipses the extra expense, even if you take out loans or attend a pricey school.
Getting the Most out of Your MBA
To get the most out of your MBA, it’s important to choose a program that serves your career goals while catering to your current needs. Some questions to ask include:
- What percentage of students are employed six months after graduation?
- What are median earnings a year, five years, and 10 years after graduation?
- Which employers hire the most graduates from your program?
- How long does an average program take to complete?
- Do you offer accelerated or online options?
- What percentage of students receive financial aid?
- Are your professors leaders in their field?
- What services does your career office offer?
At SNU, we understand that our students already have busy lives. Many work full-time jobs and are trying to maximize their earnings and break through career ceilings. Others are busy parents hoping to make it back into the workforce or start businesses. Our in-person and online course offerings allow you to attend school on your own terms, maximizing productivity and shortening the time from acceptance to graduation.
We can help you launch a new career or take your current one from where it is to where you want it to be. To learn more, reach out to our admissions office.