Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86
Harvard | Mr. Armenian Geneticist
GRE 331, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 1st Gen Grad
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Ross | Mr. Travelpreneur
GMAT 730, GPA 2.68
Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
London Business School | Ms. Numbers
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
IU Kelley | Mr. Fortune 500
N U Singapore | Mr. Naval Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
INSEAD | Ms. Spaniard Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 8.5/10.00
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthtech Venture
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. Senior Research Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.58
Stanford GSB | Mr. Doctor Who
GRE 322, GPA 4.0
Rice Jones | Mr. Carbon-Free Future
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare PE
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
INSEAD | Mr. Data Savvy Engineer
GRE 316, GPA 2.92
Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
London Business School | Mr. FANG Strategy
GMAT 740, GPA 2.9

MBA Impact High After Any Degree

SoFi co-founders Dan Macklin (L) and James Finnigan - Ethan Baron photo

SoFi co-founders Dan Macklin (L) and James Finnigan – Ethan Baron photo

It’s a 21st Century paradox: undergraduate education costs have driven student debt up so high that the prospect of incurring additional debt for a graduate degree – even if it will add to future earning power – can strike terror into the bravest heart. But this is a fear of the unknown – a concern that even with improved career and income prospects from a second degree, the tremendous difficulty of digging out from beneath the burden of money owed will persist long into the future.

Now, education lender SoFi has crunched data on 200,000 of its loan applicants, and produced findings that provide an antidote to fear based on uncertain outcomes, and can facilitate effective decision-making about whether getting a graduate degree makes financial sense.

The stakes are ever higher. The Wall Street Journal reported in May that U.S. college graduates this year were leaving school with the highest student debt in history – $35,000, up 75% from $20,000 a decade ago. Is it prudent to add even more debt, in hopes that a graduate degree will increase earning potential to the point that student debt becomes less consequential?

SoFi's data on earnings increases by college major and graduate degree

SoFi’s data on earnings increases by college major and graduate degree

The answer depends, of course, on the degrees involved. A master of fine arts degree may deliver a 12%  lifetime earnings bump for a humanities undergrad, but add the MFA to an undergraduate business degree, and lifetime earnings fall by 11%.