A Masters in Business Administration is one of the most common degrees out there for entering the business world. It covers a wide range of fields, from accounting and logistics to wide-reaching corporate strategy.
It’s common knowledge that MBAs boost your wages and open doors into more industries than any other qualification.
But, as it so often does, common knowledge is changing.
Forbes now says that getting an MBA is “absolutely not” worth it. The traditional business school experience has also been challenged by online alternatives. The Power MBA, for instance, transforms three years of study into daily fifteen-minute chunks.
Of course, some people have a lot to gain by calling MBAs a thing of the past. That Forbes article was written by the CEO of a company offering one of those online alternatives.
So, who do you believe? This article is going to answer that question and help you decide if an MBA is worth it for you.
Average MBA salaries
Getting an MBA will almost certainly increase your salary.
They’re not magic, of course. Employers won’t hire you simply because you have a degree – lots of people do. But they’re still a very attractive line on your resume. It represents a dedication to learning that’s a good fit for challenging, high-paying work.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers, for example, found that average MBA salaries for graduates will reach $80,000 from 2021. In comparison, the median wage in the USA is only $35,000/year.
It’s important to know, however, that that $80,000 isn’t spread out evenly over every business school in the country. In other words, where you get your MBA matters.
For example, Harvard and Stanford reported average MBA salaries nearly $100,000 higher than those from less prestigious schools.
Before getting an MBA, you should research the average MBA salaries for the schools you’re interested in applying to. This will help you decide if it’s a smart financial decision. After all, business school isn’t cheap. Studying for an MBA takes time that you could spend working instead, and everybody knows how high tuition fees have become.
To summarize, you can get higher salaries with an MBA than you likely would otherwise. An MBA is worth it financially if you can take the initial hit of getting into a good school.
They’re best thought of as a long-term investment. You won’t magically double your bank balance, but it’ll open up possibilities for new, higher-paying positions. Speaking of which…
What jobs can you get with an MBA?
Compared to salaries, this is harder to quantify. MBAs are valuable for many job titles, but they are most common in the business sector: accounting, finance, executive roles.
Standard titles include:
- Financial Advisor
- Finance Manager
- Business Consultant
- Information Technology Manager
- Marketing Manager
- HR Manager
- Management Analyst
- Investment Banker
An MBA can get you into many surprising fields outside of business, however.
Hospital directors, for instance, often have MBA graduates. Running a large medical center is a lot like running a business. You need the same administrative skills to manage resources and organize your staff, except the stakes are even higher.
You could also choose to work for yourself.
MBA programs provide all the essential information you need to become a successful entrepreneur. Besides education, an intangible benefit of business school is the networking opportunities.
Business schools bring in motivated young professionals from around the world, and the teaching faculty have decades of experience, strong industry ties and their own network of potentially high-value contacts. This makes them great for forming strong business ties.
In other words, don’t just think about what jobs you can get with an MBA. Also consider what people they can connect you with. Networking is often the key to career advancement but is also one of the reasons an MBA is good for entrepreneurs, whether you’re starting out or already in business.
Let’s also not forget that all modern MBA courses include mandatory internships.
For many people, this alone is enough to make an MBA worth it. Internships help you get real-life experience, which is what hiring managers often care about most. They also let you build the connections that will get you interviews for your dream job once you graduate.
What will MBAs teach you?
Let’s put aside this talk of salaries and careers for a moment. An MBA is, above all else, an education. If a course teaches you something useful that you can’t find anywhere else, it’s inherently valuable.
Inexpensive video courses have done a lot to democratize education, and that’s entirely a good thing. But they offer an entirely different experience to structured classroom learning.
In a classroom (in-person or virtual), you’re taught by experts with decades of experience under their belt. Unlike other methods, they’re available for questions and conversations that can deepen your knowledge.
The length of traditional MBA courses also lets them go into more detail than other forms of education.
Rather than just skimming over textbooks, MBAs help you develop ‘soft’ skills, like introspection, leadership and conflict resolution. Many also teach how best practices vary from country to country — incredibly important in a global market.
It’s easy to get hyper-focused on the salaries and jobs you can get with an MBA. Don’t be. Knowledge is hard to measure, but it’s powerful and will stay with you for life.
So, is an MBA worth it?
We’ve covered how MBAs lead to higher average salaries, open up new career opportunities and offer unique educational experiences.
These benefits make them attractive for anyone looking to advance their career. However, you should keep in mind the high price of entry — both in cost and time.
In addition, not all MBAs are created equal.
You need to research the business schools you’re interested in. Pick one that has good reviews, places highly in respected rankings and has wide alumni networks.
Don’t let these points dissuade you from getting an MBA. They’re still one of the best qualifications you can get for boosting your career. Keeping these drawbacks in mind will simply help you make the best, most informed decision possible.
Despite what articles from Forbes may say, MBAs aren’t going anywhere.
No matter how much the world changes, independence, interpersonal communication and broad subject knowledge will always be valuable. These are all things that an MBA can offer you.
They won’t build a great career for you from scratch — you’ll still have to put in plenty of work. But taking an online MBA program like the Power MBA is an excellent way to start your journey to success.