Think beyond salary when weighing the value of an MBA

Source: Graduate Management Admission Council

By any measure, an MBA is a big investment—in time, energy and money. Potential students have always pondered the value of the MBA. But in this economic downturn, the question has added urgency:

What’s an MBA worth?

In a strictly monetary sense, the degree consistently adds value in terms of salary. MBAs, on average, make more than both recent college graduates with bachelor’s degrees and master’s level graduates in disciplines other than business. Numerous studies including the Graduate Management Admission Council’s Alumni Perspectives Survey have shown that graduate management degrees can have a significant positive effect on lifetime earnings.

But why do MBAs make more money?

Perhaps more than any other graduate program, the MBA gives students a broad array of applicable skills. MBA programs teach not only the theory behind sound business practices, but also strategic and management skills. The case study method and collaborative approaches used by many MBA programs hones skills in a very practical way.

The vast majority of Class of 2013 business school graduates say their education developed their skills, expanded their network, and prepared them for the job market, notes Michelle Sparkman Renz, GMAC director or research communications. Specifically, graduates cited their development of qualitative skills, preparation for leadership skills, and advanced quantitative skills.

Such skills are applicable across a wide variety of job functions within an organization and across many different industries. The practical skill sets, along with the personal improvement and the personal networks they developed in business school, can all lead to more lifetime career opportunities.

For more data on the value of the MBA personally, professionally, and financially, go to the GMAC News Center.

To find out more on getting an MBA, finding a program, and registering for the GMAT exam, the standardized test used in admissions by approximately 6,000 business and management programs worldwide, go to