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 Rank Payback Period (Years) Post-MBA Pay Rise
1. SDA Bocconi 2.25 $52,800
2. HEC Paris 2.30 $68,000
3. Manchester 2.68 $47,500
4. Cranfield 2.94 $38,000
5. IESE 3.16 $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 Champaign 3.85 $46,500
10. IE Business School 3.90 $39,000
11. Penn State (Smeal) 3.98 $47,500
12. IMD 4.02 $49,500
13. Minnesota (Carlson) 4.15 $49,500
14. Purdue (Krannert) 4.28 $43,500
15. Rochester (Simon) 4.33 $43,500