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Is an MBA Degree Worth Getting?

Updated on November 15, 2017
Rock_nj profile image

I enjoy using my 30 years in the business world to write about how to advance one's career and create the best job opportunities.

The coveted MBA degree can open many doors to career advancement and higher salaries; however, it is not for everyone.
The coveted MBA degree can open many doors to career advancement and higher salaries; however, it is not for everyone. | Source

One of the most popular master’s degrees that one can earn to further their career is a Master of Business Administration degree, which is commonly known as an MBA. Finding answers to the following questions is very important for anyone considering applying to a program to earn an MBA degree.

  • Why is this advanced business degree so popular?

  • How can an MBA help you advance your career?

  • Is an MBA really worth getting from a financial point of view?

As we explore the answers to these important questions, it is reasonable to conclude that for most people the answer is: yes, an MBA is worth getting. Let’s explore why.

Is an MBA Degree Really Worth The Money and Effort?

Since earning an MBA is quite a commitment of both financial resources and time, it is critical to figure out whether getting an MBA is really worth the money and considerable effort it takes earn such a degree. Entering a program to earn an MBA degree is a big commitment for anyone. This is particularly true for people who are in the middle of their careers and have settled down and are busy pursuing their career or raising a family. Earning an MBA is very demanding on both personal and family time, as well as financial resources. It typically involves a two to three year effort that includes many nights and weekends of classes, studying, completing projects and taking tests.

If you are seeking to earn this well respected advanced degree to further your career and enhance earning potential, then you will most likely be pleased with the career advancement opportunities and the ability to earn considerably more than cohorts that have a bachelor’s degree. Data indicates that people who possess an MBA earn more money than people with similiar bachelor level business degrees and levels of experience. This is because many high-paying senior management positions require the job candidates to possess an MBA. Higher level management positions command better salaries and job perks, and open up the door to advancement to leadership roles within a business enterprises. In fact, according to Fortune Magazine, approximately 40% of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) that work for large S&P 500 companies have an MBA. Clearly, the best degree to get if you are aiming for high-paying top level management positions is an MBA.

An MBA Opens a World of Career Opportunities

While there is disagreement about whether an MBA is worth getting, there is no doubt that earning an MBA opens up many career opportunities.
While there is disagreement about whether an MBA is worth getting, there is no doubt that earning an MBA opens up many career opportunities. | Source

An MBA Degree Is Worth Getting, But Be Ready To Commit The Time To Earning It

One of the biggest obstacles to earning an MBA degree is the time it takes to take the classes and complete the projects, homework, and tests. This is a real concern for working people and people with other obligations in their lives, such as taking care of children. On average, expect to dedicate approximately three hours per day to earning your MBA while school is in session. This needs to be time away from others in your life that is dedicated to fully focusing on your studies. If you aren’t ready for this level of commitment of time or can’t see yourself finding the time, the it’s not the right time to enter an MBA program.

An MBA Degree Is Worth Getting, The FInancial Commitment WIll Pay Handsomely In The Long Run

From a long-term financial perspective, an MBA degree is worth getting. Even if earning the degree costs you $60,000 to $120,000, you could realistically expect to earn back what you spent on earning the degree within a few years after graduating. With an MBA under your belt and some savvy moves, you can springboard your career into well paying positions that are usually beyond the reach of someone who only possess an undergraduate degree. According to The Graduate Management Admission Council, those that earn an MBA find jobs after graduating that, on average, pay slightly above $100,000, which is tens of thousands of dollars more than what people with similar business-oriented bachelor’s degrees earn. WIth a pay boost like that, any debt racked up while earning an MBA can be quickly paid off, as long as you are disciplined with how you spend your money.

An MBA Is a Highly Sought After Degree

100,000s of people earn an MBA each year and many of them use their degrees to advance their careers .
100,000s of people earn an MBA each year and many of them use their degrees to advance their careers . | Source

The Answer Is Yes, An MBA Degree Is Worth Getting

If you would like to advance to upper management roles in your career and earn a salary commensurate with such high level positions, an MBA degree is an important and powerful tool to help you achieve your career ambitions. It will also likely prove to be quite rewarding both financially and personally, as your salary and career advances beyond what would be within reach if you only possess a bachelor’s degree. Just be prepared to endure a lot of difficult and time-consuming course work for several years, as you work towards earning your MBA.

The Master of Business Administration degree emerged in the early 20th in the United States to address the need for a formal educational approach to managerial training.

The Contrarian View: No, An MBA Degree Is Not Worth Getting

For anyone considering making the commitment to enter an MBA program, it is important to also consider the contrarian point of view. There are some who feel strongly that an MBA degree is not worth getting. They point to the high expense and the broadness of the degree in a world where many employers are seeking candidates with specialized training rather than the broad education that an MBA provides. Another negative that critics point out is that an MBA just does not hold the prestige that it once held, and its impact has been diluted, since so many more people have earned MBAs versus past generations. This is true, but it is also an important degree to have on your resume when applying for high-level management positions, as the great number of high level managers in corporations that hold MBAs attest to.

Whether an MBA degree is worth getting or not ultimately comes down to your reasons for earning an MBA. If you have no intention of moving into management and working in a corporate business culture, then perhaps a different advanced degree would make more sense for you to earn. It cannot be denied that having an MBA degree opens up many opportunities to high paying positions that offer career advancement into upper management positions with a great deal of responsibility. If these are your goals, then certainly, despite what critics say, an MBA is an essential degree for you to have to achieve your ambitious goals. Just be prepared to commit the time and money that earning an MBA requires.

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Is an MBA Worth It? - A Positive View

© 2017 John Coviello

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    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      3 years ago from New Jersey

      Wow Scott! That's an expensive MBA. But, coming out of a school like Cornell, she should have some great job opportunities.

      I like your analogy to what your comparable returns in the stock market would be. However, I would add that over a lifetime of working (40 years), an MBA degree that launches a career into upper management could pay a lot more than an additional 10% per year on that 200K investment. It could be more like 10 times the 200K investment, if not more, if she reached high levels of management during her career.

    • profile image

      promisem 

      3 years ago

      My daughter is taking on more than $200,000 in debt to get an MBA from Cornell. Will it be worth it? Depends on how much money she makes after she graduates.

      I tell her it's like investing in the stock market. If she clears $20,000 a year more because of the MBA, she is getting a 10% return on investment. That's better than the stock market historically.

      But if she clears $10,000 a year, then she's getting a 5% return on investment. Only time will tell if that much debt is worthwhile.

    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      3 years ago from New Jersey

      I agree Larry. This is especially true in some professions that require an advanced degree to move into higher levels.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      My perception of the masters degree in general, not necessarily specifically a business degree, is that it is the degree with the best bang for the buck of all degrees.

      Interesting read.

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