In a response to a Forbes contributor article from one year ago, which questioned the value of an MBA, John Byrne of MBA-focused publication Poets & Quants recently shared a new analysis citing the long-term earning potential of MBA graduates. The analysis seeks to answer the age-old question, “what’s an MBA really worth?”
A new analysis done exclusively for Poets&Quants by PayScale, which collects salary data from individuals through online pay comparison tools, shows that the MBA–even from schools that lack global or national caché–delivers hefty seven-figure income over a post-MBA lifetime. MBA graduates from the top 50 business schools in the U.S., in fact, will pull down median cash compensation of $5.7 million after graduating and working for 35 years. That is a premium of $2.3 million over those with just an undergraduate degree.
Byrne makes the case that in order to accurately gauge the ROI and long-term value of an MBA degree from top-tier programs, those highly ranked programs must be measured together and not with every MBA degree program offered across the globe. Thanks to Darden’s impressive starting salaries, long-term career support and engaged alumni networks, it’s not just short-term wins that garnered Byrne’s attention.
And if you were lucky enough to earn your MBA from one of five schools–Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Dartmouth or Virginia–your estimated median pay would surpass $8 million over a 35-year period, according to Payscale. And yet, as high as those numbers are, they are conservative. They do not include stock-based compensation of any kind, the cash value of retirements benefits, or other non-cash benefits, such as health care. But the estimates show that the MBA degree–despite all the second-guessing over its value–is one of the surest paths to a lucrative career.
Dean Scott Beardsley has been an avid advocate of the long-term benefits of the Darden educational experience and MBA opportunities. He shared, “While it’s true that an MBA is a substantial investment, on a strictly dollars and cents metric, the salary data shows a clear and compelling return. For those in pursuit of a lifetime of meaningful, high-impact work, there is no better investment, in my opinion, than an investment in your own future through an MBA, which will open up a world of possibilities.”
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