Is an MBA Worth the Investment? |

Is an MBA Worth the Investment?

By QS Content Writer

Updated Updated

College debt is no joke. In the United States, student debt totals over $1 trillion, with about 40% belonging to graduate students. It’s a startling statistic regardless if you owe on your education or not, but it’s possibly even more daunting if you’re considering getting an MBA.

Whether you finished your undergrad debt-free, have since paid off your loans, or still owe a chunk of change, the prospect of assuming more debt is not an attractive one. Before you go full-steam ahead and apply for business school, take a second to decide if getting an MBA is worth your time, energy, and money.


Understand why you’re going

If you’re about to embark on multi-year journey to further your education, you should understand why you’re doing it. If you’re going back because you feel stuck in your job and it seems like the thing to do to get ahead, you may wish to consider other options. Or spend a little more time thinking over your motivations. What do you stand to gain, specifically, by obtaining your MBA?

Arizona State University notes three main reasons students take the plunge: career advancement, career switch, or subject matter expertise (as you can see in the infographic below). If you’re looking to pursue management within your current field, but need the added knowledge, an MBA is a great option. Similarly, if you’re considering striking out on your own as an entrepreneur, graduate education may bring up topics (or surprise funding) you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.  

 Infographic: How an MBA provides value for graduates

Consider the cost

If you’ve determined that an MBA could further your career, then it’s time consider how you’ll pay for school. The cost of graduate school varies depending on the type of program and institution in which you choose to enroll. Research how long your prospective program is, what the entrance requirements are, and how much tuition is in order to get a well-rounded idea of cost. You’ll also need to consider whether you plan to work concurrently or take time off while you’re in school; the latter means you’re not only shelling money out but decreasing your income.

In some cases, you may be able to get part or all of your tuition fees paid for without taking out loans. Some employers will pay for your master’s degree as a form of advanced training, as long as you continue to work for the employer after you’ve obtained the degree. In other instances, you may be eligible for grants, scholarships, or assistantships. A little research may yield opportunities that significantly reduce the cost of obtaining an MBA.


Weigh your options

In most situations, an MBA will contribute to a higher salary, more employment options, and greater value as an employee. You’ll also be exposed to a plethora of networking options, as well as resources you can leverage in future employment scenarios. Obtaining an MBA gives you the flexibility to explore career options without having to start in an entry-level position. With the leadership training you’ll receive, you’ll be prepared to move out of your current job and into one with more responsibilities, such as an onboarding position or a department manager.

Your potential earnings increase stands to offset any additional debt you take on, and even that may be negligible if you can find tuition assistance. However, there is no guarantee that salaries will improve or that assistance will be available, so finances should be considered before committing to a program.

Ultimately, the question of whether or not an MBA is worth it is an individual decision. You have to decide if going back to school will yield enough added value in your life to offset the price tag. 

This article was originally published in . It was last updated in

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