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How To Increase Your MBA ROI | Tips From LBS, INSEAD & NYU Stern

Find out how to maximize your MBA return on investment (MBA ROI) with these tips from industry experts at schools including NYU Stern, London Business School, and INSEAD

Tue Feb 27 2024

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, pursuing an MBA degree can have transformative outcomes for your professional and financial growth. 

Whether you study for one or two years, an MBA involves a significant investment of time and resources. From strategic networking to accessing various streams of financial support, these industry experts share their honest advice to boost your MBA return on investment (ROI) and set you up for success.

Here are five top tips to maximize your MBA ROI:

1. Get networking to increase your MBA return on investment

Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of an MBA is the extensive network of professionals, alumni, and industry experts that become accessible in a competitive industry. Business networking opportunities can create the right connections that open doors to various MBA internship and job opportunities.

The ability to engage with a diverse community is a great chance to exercise those all-important soft skills. Participating in specialized events that encourage students to lead discussions or network with companies in a specific sector can leave a lasting impression on employers.

“An MBA offers not only immediate benefits such as personal growth, career acceleration, exceptional education, and a strong community, but also long-term advantages including entrepreneurial support, access to coaches, and lifelong connections,” says Irina Schneider-Maunoury, INSEAD senior associate director, financial aid, degree programs, at INSEAD.

2. Get professional experience to maximize your MBA ROI

Relevant professional experience with the potential to turn into full-time positions after your MBA, provides you with valuable skills and positions you well for a strong starting salary.

Making best use of the business school career services as early as possible can provide you with skills assessment and guidance to help you land quality professional experience.

“You’ll want to have a great internship that can turn into a full-time position to maximize your starting salary.  You'll need to stay in close contact with your career advisor to make sure you are making progress toward your internship and full-time placement goals,” says Tad Brinkerhoff, assistant dean, Tepper masters programs, Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business.

3. Set clear career goals for after your MBA

Clear career goals for after your MBA will mold the decisions you make throughout your studies. 

Tailoring your course to your goals is a great way to increase your MBA return on investment in the form of relevant knowledge and skills. This includes innovative and otherwise hard to access edtech electives in AI, blockchain, the internet of things (IoT), and programming languages such as Python.

“Craft a career action plan in order to clearly outline the next steps to make your goal a reality,” advises Margaret Odhner, associate director, career management, at Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business.

Download our Cost of MBA Report 2023


4. Increase your MBA ROI by embracing opportunities outside of class

Whether contributing to real-world consulting projects, studying abroad, or volunteering, engaging in opportunities outside of the classroom are a great way to increase your MBA ROI. 

Student MBA associations and group projects not only encourage peer-networking but enable you to exercise practical skills such as team management, project development, and leadership with a restricted budget.

“Take advantage of opportunities in school to build and practice universally desired skills such as communication, critical thinking, and relationship development,” says Genevieve Kenny Boron, director, career coaching, at NYU Stern School of Business.

5. Do financial research to reduce the cost of an MBA degree

According to the BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report, the average total cost of a leading MBA program is roughly $202k, which increases to around $233k for the US specifically.

To reduce the cost of an MBA without compromising your long-term ROI, organizations such as the Forté Foundation, Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA), and the Roberto Toigo Foundation, offer MBA fellowships for women, LGBTQ+ candidates, and minority students.

Reaching out to schools and alumni can provide you with further information based on personal experience, such as how to negotiate an MBA scholarship.

Other cost saving measures include studying in-state for US students, opting for a one-year program as opposed to two, and researching high-ranking schools with competitive costs, such as IESE Business School and INSEAD in France. For a more detailed breakdown of MBA prices, check out our Cost of MBA Report.

“We advise students to spend as long on planning their finances as they do in applying for MBAs. You should investigate all possibilities, talk to students and alumni and ask how they made it happen,” advises David Simpson, recruitment and admissions director, MBA and master in finance, at London Business School.

Setting clear goals and strategizing your way through the various opportunities that business school has to offer helps to ensure you gain lifelong MBA return on investment—with these five expert tips, you’re sure to make the investment worth it.