An MBA degree is an expensive investment. On average, when all costs are taken into account and student financing is not taken into consideration, completing an MBA program costs $140,000. If you were to factor in lost income because of a career break, this price tag could be as high as $260,000. Getting an MBA, however, can increase your annual salary by as much as $45,000, which means you should see a return on investment within five years. All in all, it means that pursuing an MBA program is a very serious investment, and one that you have to think about very carefully.
A lot of people attend business school to give themselves the opportunity to further their career, and quite significantly so. They have a realistic view on what is expected of them during the degree program, including long nights of studying, and a lot of dry materials on accounting, finance, and marketing. The degree program is also taxing mentally, as students are surrounded by others who have equal amounts of experience, often in very different fields, and will find themselves proven wrong regularly when they are asked to resolve hypothetical situations. Additionally, during the degree program, many have to undergo an internship, often in a foreign country, which is also costly in terms of both time and money. Jump to 9+ Online MBA Degrees for 2017.
In return for this significant investment, a good school provides students with important career advice.Students are also given opportunities to network, and to complete community projects in order to build up not just experience, but also professional contacts. However, after graduation, the graduates are likely to have a huge amount of debt, and no guarantee of a job. Nevertheless, the MBA is one of the world’s most prestigious and respected degrees. Additionally, most schools offer financial aid and scholarships, there are various loan forgiveness programs that you could apply for, as well as a wealth of grants, particularly for those in MBA programs. It is likely, therefore, that you will be able to bring that $260,000 overall price tag down significantly, particularly if you were to consider studying part time or online. At the same time, you do need to make sure that you choose a school that is truly worth the money.
Top MBA Schools that Offer Value for Money
1. Texas A&M University, Mays Business School
This school has received a #27 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
2. The University of Virginia, Darden School of Business.
This school has received a #10 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
3. Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business
This school has received a #20 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
4. Columbia Business School
This school has received a #8 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
5. University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
This school has received a #11 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan Business School
This school has received a #5 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
7. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
This school has received a #4 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
8. Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business
This school has received a #9 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
9. University of Pennsylvania, Wharton Business School
This school has received a #3 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
10. University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business
This school has received a #7 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
11. Brigham Young University, Marriott School of Management
This school has received a #33 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
12. Harvard Business School
This school has received a #2 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
13. Stanford Graduate School of Business
This school has received the top ranking from the U.S. News & World Report.
Understanding Return on Investment for an MBA Program
So how do you know which school offers an MBA program that is really worth the money? The schools listed above all have different pricing structures, meaning it is more than simply choosing the cheapest program that has a good ranking. For instance, the Harvard Business School program costs $158,800 in total, whereas Duke costs $137,744. Logically speaking, you would therefore be able to conclude that Duke is more worth the money. However, completing a degree from Harvard will always set you in a better standing than completing a degree from Duke, which is also something you need to take into consideration. On the other hand, 81% of Duke students receive some form of financial aid, compared to just 63% at Harvard, so if finance is the only consideration for you, then Duke is the better option.
For many people, calculating return on investment is a simple mathematical solution, in which students work out how many years they will have to work, at an increased salary, to earn back the money that they have spent on getting the MBA degree. However, there are other considerations as well. The MBA is a prestigious degree, and where you get yours is very important in terms of finding out just how high your standing will be. Someone who gets an MBA from an Ivy League university, for instance, is more likely to take on a top executive position at a multinational corporation, than someone who attends a small regional university. The person at the regional university may earn back their investment much more quickly, as they had to spend far less and may have been able to complete their degree online or part time. But the person attending the Ivy League university will have far greater long term prospects.
So which MBA schools are really worth the money? The answer to that question is illusive. It all depends on your personal career goals, your current financial situation, where you want to study, and more. What is for certain, however, is that the list of schools above are generally accepted as offering the best value. Unfortunately, they are also some of the most expensive schools. Columbia University, for instance, is the most expensive school of all, averaging at $168,307, with just 55% of students receiving some form of aid.