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What Is the ROI for a General MBA Degree?


In any major professional choice — from taking a new job to negotiating a raise — a number of factors play into the decision-making process. The choice of whether to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is no different. Historically, the return on investment for MBA graduates has been very strong, but the cost of education has never been higher than it is today. The global pandemic disrupted several macro factors in economies worldwide. At first glance, it can seem like a daunting decision.

However, both the short- and long-term rewards for an MBA degree are favorable. MBA programs, such as the online general MBA offered by Northwest Missouri State University (Northwest), instill graduates with the skills and knowledge to advance further in their careers and increase their earning potential.

According to a study by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), the median beginning salary for MBA grads was projected to be $115,000 — despite a one-year stagnancy in MBA salaries during 2020 due to the effects of the pandemic. Moreover, those numbers are substantially higher than the projections for employees without MBA degrees: $40,000 more than direct-from-industry hires and $50,000 more than candidates with only a bachelor's degree.

The benefits don't stop at earning potential, either. Obtaining an MBA opens a number of new possibilities for career growth, advancement, and development.

Short- and Long-Term Salary Growth

Upon completing an MBA program, graduates in most industries can consider pursuing an immediate increase in compensation. A post from Coursera highlights a 2019 salary analysis by TransparentCareer that found MBA students who graduated between 2009 and 2018 saw their salaries increase by an average of $36,000, an increase of nearly 50% when compared to the $79,500 starting base number.

For graduates of upper-echelon MBA programs, the increase can be even steeper. According to a post from Business Because an analysis of the Financial Times' top-ten MBA programs showed that grads earned a salary increase of 119% on average during the first three years after finishing school. However, students don't have to break the bank in order to put themselves in positions for meaningful salary increases.

Enables Career Shift

For business professionals looking to adjust their career specialty or trajectory, earning an MBA can be a great way to open that opportunity. Graduates can gain key insights and knowledge through specialized courses and an understanding of the contemporary landscape in their area of study.

The findings of the GMAC survey underscore the potential value of an MBA in aiding a career transition. The survey found that approximately 50% of candidates achieved the career shift they wanted after completing an MBA program, while 60% of graduates changed their career function.

Diverse Compensation Packages

MBA grads are often compensated in different ways beyond an increase in base salary. For instance, those methods could include access to signing or performance bonuses, stock options, company equity, and more.

MBA graduates must consider the full scope of their compensation packages and find what works for them and their needs. There is often an opportunity for MBA grads to negotiate beyond money in order to improve their job situation and quality of life.

Personal Development

Business Because notes that most MBA programs incorporate skills like "leadership development, career support, and networking opportunities" into their courses and programs. These interpersonal skills highlight the inextricable link between personal and professional development.

MBA graduates will inevitably learn how to better manage their relationships with co-workers and colleagues, as well as discover which behaviors and habits are best for business. Of course, not everything is about numbers, and personal development yields improved professional results. In an MBA program like the one from Northwest Missouri State University, graduates will gain a firm grasp on many aspects of business administration.

Learn more about Northwest's MBA General online program.


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