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Here’s Why An MBA Is Worth The Cost—According To Students & Grads

Wondering if MBA degrees are worth their price tag? We put the question to MBA students and grads

Thu Aug 10 2023

BusinessBecause
MBA degrees are expensive, challenging, and require significant time commitment so you’d be forgiven for asking: is an MBA worth the cost?

According to the BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report 2023, the estimated total average cost of an MBA program is $202,200—including tuition, living costs, healthcare, material costs, and additional fees.

Still, many MBA students and grads highly value the experience and opportunities that business school affords.

Here’s why an MBA is worth the cost, according to students and grads:


Download the free BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report 2023

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Access to unrivalled opportunities

Students usually study for an MBA degree to broaden their horizons. MBA programs are far from just being about studying in a classroom.

Priyal Keni is an MBA student at London Business School and is a recipient of two female-focused MBA scholarships: the Laidlaw Women’s Leadership fund and the Forté Fellowship.

“The true value lies in what you choose to make out of the opportunities offered during [the course of the MBA degree] and the level of commitment you demonstrate in maximizing your time at business school,” she says.

MBA students are afforded access to exclusive career-boosting opportunities, which include recruiter events, career counseling, MBA clubs and societies, and case competitions. 

Scholarship recipients like Priyal can also benefits from events such as Forté’s women in business conferences and access to the Forté corporate recruiter list. 

“Pursuing an MBA allowed me to hit the pause button, reflect on my career path, and strategically plan the roadmap for the coming year,” she says.


The chance to learn new business skills

One of the best parts about an MBA is that you can customize your learnings to what you want to gain from the program. Perhaps you’re great at financial analysis but lacking in leadership or communication skills—many MBA programs allow you to choose electives that can help you to focus on certain areas.

“I’m learning and reaffirming things about myself that I knew and didn’t know before—this forms the impetus for me to make certain changes in my life,” says an MBA student from China Europe International Business School (CEIBS).

As business schools aim to prepare students for a digitally transforming world, many programs offer cutting edge electives in AI, blockchain, the internet of things (IoT), and programming languages such as Python.


Opportunity to complete the MBA triple jump

The MBA triple jump—changing job, industry, and location—is something that many ambitious students aspire to.

Since leading business schools are scattered across the globe, you can select an MBA program in the destination you would like to forge your career or business network. This then maximizes your chances of securing a new role or job in a new sector within this location. 

“Considering my goal of securing global opportunities, an MBA is a rewarding investment,” says Gemilyn Sta Rosa, an MBA student at INSEAD.


A business school network that lasts a lifetime

In an MBA program, you’ll usually be immersed with people from a variety of career backgrounds, geographies, and experience levels. You’ll also be afforded many opportunities to get to know your peers outside the MBA classroom.

MBA students often build their network through joining clubs and societies, attending speaker events, or simply connecting with peers over lunch. 

Courtney Wenneborg is an MBA graduate from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. She aimed to maximize her return on investment (ROI) during her MBA degree.

“Return on investment for me is knowing I can continuously open doors for myself and never get bored. The connections I made and the program itself meant there has been a huge diversity of experiences available to me,” she says.


Landing a higher MBA salary

There’s no denying that an MBA is an expensive experience—especially if you don’t secure an MBA scholarship—yet most leading MBA programs offer significant salary increases.

“The first few months post-graduation are tough as I rebuild my savings. That said, not only did I triple my salary immediately, but my earning potential is completely reimagined,” says Paige Smith, an MBA graduate from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

After her MBA, Paige landed a role as an associate at Big Three consulting firm McKinsey.

Kenan-Flagler Business School grads receive an average salary percentage increase of 127%, with a weighted salary of around $169k, according to the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2023.

Strong salaries are always going to be high on the agenda for business school grads yet it’s just one of the many benefits you can gain from your MBA degree so it’s important not to get blindsided by this aspect.

Focus on ways you can maximize your MBA ROI by upskilling, gaining new experiences and connections, and the high business school salaries are likely to follow.


Download our free BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report 2023 to discover everything you need to know about MBA costs at the world’s top business schools, with tips on MBA scholarships and increasing your MBA ROI.

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