What Is the Value of an MBA?

Year after year, the MBA remains one of the world’s most sought-after post-graduate degrees. MBA programs typically offer a well-rounded business education with core courses in areas ranging from finance to supply chain management — often with the ability to tailor the program to career ambitions with electives.

But what makes an MBA program ideal to enhance a career? What is the value of a Master of Business Administration degree to the working professional and to employers?

Employers Demonstrate Their Preference for MBA Graduates

Employers surveyed in the GMAC 2018 Year-End Employer Poll Report regard a business education highly, with 86% saying the value is above average or very high. Large employers and companies based in the United States tend to rate the degree highest, with the strongest preferences shown in the healthcare, manufacturing and technology sectors.

Most employers planned to hire MBA graduates in 2019 (78%) and to increase MBA graduate hiring over 2018. They also planned to increase the starting base salaries above the rate of inflation compared with base salaries in 2018 (47%). While 78% of employers planned to hire MBAs in 2019, employers are also looking at individuals without a general MBA.  For 2019, employers planned to hire 37% for master’s degrees in management, 29% in accounting, 29% in finance and 52% in non-business subjects.

According to Salary.com, employers also show their preference in other ways. MBA graduates benefit from more open doors when compared with candidates with a bachelor’s degree or lower. They win more often at pay raise negotiations, and the gap between their salaries and non-MBA holders widens over time. They also benefit from increased networking opportunities and the perception among employers that they are more highly motivated because they put in the work to earn their MBA degree.

MBA Alumni Report a Wide Range of Career Benefits

For working professionals considering an MBA program, the potential rewards are even more compelling when you consider the perspectives of nearly 11,000 alumni who took part in the GMAC 2018 Alumni Perspectives Survey.

Broad career horizons: Whereas many post-graduate degree programs narrow a person’s career focus, an MBA offers career versatility and enhanced employability. The ability to shift from one industry to another, from one department to another, and from one function to another is a hallmark of well-educated MBA alumni. These graduates are expected to have knowledge spanning core business subjects and the ability to synthesize their expertise for business decision-making.

Business school alumni work in a variety of industries, including products/services (20%), technology (17%), finance/accounting (15%) and government/nonprofit (13%). Functions include general management (24%), finance/accounting (21%), marketing/sales (18%), consulting (13%) and operations/logistics (10%).

Ability to work for any type of organization: MBA degree holders work in a variety of organizational types and sizes, including publicly traded (29%), global Fortune 500 (19%), global Fortune 100 (17%), family-owned (13%) and start-up (8%).

Leadership: As MBA graduates advance in their careers, they steadily move up the corporate hierarchy. An impressive 76% are either very satisfied or satisfied with their career progress, and 87% say the skills they developed in b-school furthered their careers. MBA graduates overwhelmingly are key decision-makers — managing budgets, making hiring decisions, supervising employees, managing/working in virtual teams, and managing vendors and suppliers.

Entrepreneurship: One in 10 of MBA alumni are entrepreneurs. Most founded their own company in the consulting or products/services industry, and 69% received venture capital.

Boosted earnings potential: Here’s how base compensation (not including bonuses and incentives) breaks down by experience:

  • All alumni: $115,000
  • Mid-level: $105,000
  • Executive-level: $185,000

Working professionals who are thinking about enrolling in an MBA program have many positive outcomes to consider, from enhancing their career prospects to increasing their lifelong income.

Learn more about Bowling Green State University’s online MBA program.


Salary.com: The ROI of an MBA Degree

GMAC: 2018 Alumni Perspectives Survey: B-School Alumni Employment Report

GMAC: Year-End Employer Poll Report 2018

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