Wharton | Ms. Project Mananger
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
NYU Stern | Mr. Washed-Up Athlete
GRE 325, GPA 3.4
MIT Sloan | Mr. NFL Team Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.8
London Business School | Mr. Consulting To IB
GMAT 700, GPA 2.4
Kellogg | Mr. Big Beer
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Indian Quant
GMAT 750, GPA 7.54/10
Darden | Mr. Corporate Dev
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.8
Duke Fuqua | Mr. CPA To Finance
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Wharton | Ms. General Motors
GRE 330, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Venture Lawyer
GRE 330, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Ms. Digital Health
GMAT 720, GPA 3.48
Yale | Mr. Philanthropy Chair
GMAT Awaiting Scores (expect 700-720), GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Foster School of Business | Mr. Construction Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.77
Ross | Mr. Stockbroker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Harvard Hopeful
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. LGBTQ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.58
Kellogg | Mr. Risky Business
GMAT 780, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. CPA To MBA
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.2
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Southern California
GMAT 710, GPA 3.58
Harvard | Ms. World Explorer
GMAT 710 (aiming for 750), GPA 4.33/5
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Berkeley Haas | Mx. CPG Marketer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95
Kellogg | Mr. White Finance
GMAT Not Taken, GPA 3.97
Stanford GSB | Ms. Russland Native
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5

Is An Elite MBA Degree Still Worth The Cost?

That would make an elite MBA a screaming buy.

It’s also worth pointing out that consulting jobs are not the best paying positions for elite MBAs. Grads who go into investment banking typically earn 30% to 50% more in comparable positions, once you add in the bonuses and the increases. And some sectors of finance, such as private equity and hedge funds, pay even more.

And then there are the other obvious, though less tangible benefits. As Bruner points out, “There are attributes that are not captured in financial figures: think of the returns in the form of greater confidence, greater competence, greater marketability into a wider range of industries and career paths. That creates options that can’t be valued very readily but is very valuable. In most if not all the students I see, there is major personal growth. MBAs graduate with a desire to take a deep dive into the subtleties of business and the big ideas of business. That person is better able to take on leadership roles and manage in a surprising number of situations. A selective business school gives you all that.”

Bottom line: The world is not flat, regardless of what BusinessWeek or the title of a best-selling book may make you think.


School & BW’s ROI RankPayback Period (Years)Post-MBA Pay Rise
1. SDA Bocconi2.25$52,800
2. HEC Paris2.30$68,000
3. Manchester2.68$47,500
4. Cranfield2.94$38,000
5. IESE3.16$67,000
6. Texas A&M (Mays)3.42$40,000
7. Michigan State (Broad)3.51$51,000
8. York (Schulich)3.60$38,500
9. Illinois-Urbana Champaign3.85$46,500
10. IE Business School3.90$39,000
11. Penn State (Smeal)3.98$47,500
12. IMD4.02$49,500
13. Minnesota (Carlson)4.15$49,500
14. Purdue (Krannert)4.28$43,500
15. Rochester (Simon)4.33$43,500

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.