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Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 4pm

Executive MBA Graduates Receive 16.8% Pay Rise

Survey of executive MBA graduates in 2014

Graduates of executive MBA programs in 2014 saw an average rise of 16.8% on the salary they were earning prior to their studies, according to a survey carried out by the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC).

The rise represents an increase on the equivalent figure, of 14%, found in EMBAC’s survey last year, suggesting that the ROI (return on investment) of executive MBA programs is on an upward curve.

Average salaries between enrollment and graduation were found to be US$155,848 and US$181,965, respectively, among EMBAC’s sample of over 2,000 students graduating from 79 different executive MBA programs in 2014.   

Positive showing for degree’s ROI says EMBAC

Of course, EMBA ROI extends far further than finance, and slight improvements on last year could also be seen in the number of EMBAs in the sample receiving promotions, or taking on new job responsibilities, during their time on the program.

Just over 40% said they received a promotion, up from 38% in 2013, and 53% said they had acquired new responsibilities or duties at work, up from 51% last year.  

EMBAC’s executive director, Michael Desiderio, believes the statistics in the survey point to the executive MBA’s impact and potential for ROI.

“When I talk with EMBA graduates, they share their stories about how their time in the program helped them grow. They gain skills and enhance their leadership abilities in ways that help them add value to their organizations,” he said in a press release.

Meanwhile, there was little discernible change among the factors considered most important to students of executive MBA programs in EMBAC’s survey.

An EMBA program’s overall length continued to be the most pressing concern in graduates’ evaluation. Another structural element - a course’s compatibility with an individual’s job – was placed on the same footing as a business school’s reputation and a program’s class size.

Salary hikes: MBA vs. executive MBA programs

The salary figures found in the EMBAC survey are not comparable to those found in QS’s recent assessment of the full-time MBA’s ROI at European business schools, where the average hike in salary achieved by graduates of 46 institutions was 85%.

But then, the two shouldn’t be comparable when you consider the greater depth of experience and far higher salaries enjoyed by EMBA students before they enroll.

Pre-program salaries in the full-time MBA ROI report averaged at just over US$50k, barely a third of the average remuneration found in the EMBA student sample before they embarked on their own journeys at business school.     

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Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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