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How Does an MBA Impact Your Salary?

Take a quick visit to your favorite job board and you’ll notice the value employers place in advanced degrees. Many are now increasing their formal education requirements for prospective hires, with an MBA among the top degrees desired.

A master of business administration (MBA) is respected for good reason. The curriculum tends to be rigorous, covering quantitative methods, creative problem solving, leadership skills, and much more. 

One of the biggest advantages of earning an MBA is that it opens up career advancement opportunities, which often means an increase in salary.

With so many advantages associated with this prestigious degree, pursuing an MBA might seem an obvious choice, but an MBA is a significant investment of your time and resources. You’ll want to plan wisely to get the most out of this comprehensive program.

Is an MBA Worth My Time?

Pursuing a master of business administration does not necessarily mean putting your entire life on hold. Many schools now cater to busy working professionals and executives by offering part-time, weekend-only, and hybrid learning programs that combine in-person and online study. 

As for duration, most MBAs can be completed within two years – sometimes faster, particularly for full-time MBA students. 

When it comes to the overall value of your MBA as compared to the time it takes to complete, you’ll want to consider your potential MBA degree salary increase against any costs you might incur while studying. These costs can go beyond tuition to encompass a new commute, school fees and supplies, and any loss of income should you elect to take time off from work to pursue your degree. 

Since many professionals don’t have the option to postpone work – or life – to complete a degree, flexible study options are becoming increasingly sought out to assure no academic quality gets sacrificed along the way. 

How Much Does an MBA Cost? 

The cost of an MBA varies, but most two-year programs typically fall between $60,000 and $100,000. Top-tier Executive MBAs can cost as much as $200,000, while some online programs can come in below $50,000. Price depends upon many factors, including the school and duration of the program. 

Keep in mind there are many ways to lower your MBA costs. The “sticker cost” of an MBA program does not always tell the full story. While collateral expenses can increase your MBA price, assistance options like scholarships, grants, and employer sponsorships can lower it.

If you’re currently working, your company might be willing to fund your MBA in full or in part. This help is often provided in exchange for a continued commitment to your job. The fact that so many companies are implementing tuition assistance programs speaks highly of the results they see in their MBA graduates and why MBA salaries tend to be elevated.

Exactly How Much Will an MBA Increase My Salary?

The average MBA salary generally ranks among or above the average salaries of those with postgraduate degrees. To better assess the true monetary value of your MBA, first consider what your salary increase might look like. 

A PayScale.com survey of over 100,000 respondents indicates the average MBA salary is $86,000. According to the U.S. News & World Report article Find MBAs That Lead to Employment, High Salaries, among the 130 ranked full-time MBA programs that reported data, the highest average MBA salary and bonus paid to 2018 graduates was $102,495. 

While there is no guarantee your MBA salary will fall within or beyond this range, data does show that MBA graduates tend to make good money. Your degree also equips you to grow into roles that will increase your earnings in the future. 

Your starting point is just that – a start. With continued application of the knowledge and skills you acquire with your MBA, you could increase your salary many times over.

Top Schools and Average MBA Salaries

Graduates of top accredited MBA schools tend to benefit from name recognition. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania reports an average MBA graduate salary at $125,000 and the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, reports its graduates’ average MBA degree salary as $120,000. Both are well above the typical median MBA salary.

In a survey of the 2018 graduates who had received a full-time MBA from the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, the highest starting salary reported was $115,000 annually with an additional $25,000 signing bonus.

Which MBA is Right for Me?

Not all MBAs are created equal – nor should they be. Different jobs call for different strengths. Some MBA programs offer specialized curriculum tracks, while others are designed to fit specific industries from top to bottom. An International MBA focuses on the unique needs of global business practice, often requiring overseas travel as part of the curriculum. An Executive MBA (EMBA) might meet weekends-only as it is designed for individuals already in or interested in moving into executive leadership positions. 

The industry and role you take on can affect the impact your MBA has on your salary. A recent U.S. News & World Report article 12 Graduate Degree Jobs That Pay More Than $100K lists chief executive officer (CEO) at the top of the list. This report also noted a positive impact on the salaries of finance and IT managers. So, an MBA can increase your salary across many industries, and you don’t have to land an executive position for your MBA to pay off.

Above all, your decision about which type of MBA to pursue should start with your goals and interests. What type of career do you envision – one with travel or one close to home? Do you see yourself working with small start-ups or within a large corporation? 

Keep in mind that while an MBA can help you make more money, it can and should help you make the most of what you can offer on the job. 

Calculate Your MBA Costs

MBA.com provides an interactive calculator to identify the base or starting average MBA salary within different industries. 

Make the Most of Your Investment

Across the MBA landscape, schools are getting better at serving the practical needs of individuals. This means more options for hands-on learning, internships, campus locations, and areas of specialization. Any of these can facilitate your MBA success and add value to your MBA. The true value of your MBA, therefore, is what you make of it.

Here at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, we offer both fast-track and flexible completion programs, which provide students with MBA options that fit their unique learning style and day-to-day demands. Learn more about our Part-Time MBA and Full-Time MBA programs now.