Even more, it indicates the value of the MBA over other degrees over time. Take finance, A graduate with a master’s in finance, for example, should make a median salary of $63,900 to start and $121,000 by mid-career. Compare that to the MBA, who receive $69,400 and $130,000, a $5,500 and $9,000 difference annually. The discrepancy is even more staggering in marketing. A master’s degree there is worth $54,100 (early career) and $101,000 (mid-career). That pales in compares to an MBA with a marketing concentration, which goes $61,700 and $123,000. Keep in mind, this is just one year of pay, meaning the gap expands year-over-year. For example, a marketer with an MBA will earn $110,000 more in years 16-20 than their peer who holds a master’s with a marketing concentration. And that doesn’t include pay raises (let alone the difference between years 1-15, which comes to, at absolute minimum, another $115,000).
The difference is even more pronounced between bachelor’s degree holders and MBAs. Returning to finance, BAs made $53,300 (early career) and $89,600 (mid-career) here, a difference of $16,100 and $40,400 annually. You’ll find the same dynamic with marketing, where the gap is $16,400 (early career) and 40,500 (mid-career). Even in an emerging field like supply chain management, the trend holds, with early career rising progressively from $54,500 (BA) to $63,800 (MA) to $71,400 (MBA) in early career and $84,400 (BA) to $100,000 (MA) to $108,000 (MBA). The generalist training of the MBA degrees, coupled with the ability to concentrate in a specific area, makes it more valuable to employers.
LOOKING FOR MEANING? GO INTO HEALTHCARE
That doesn’t mean money buys happiness. Among MBAs, it is just the opposite. As part of its employee survey, PayScale also asks respondents, “Does your work make the world a better place?” As in previous years, health care MBAs were the most satisfied among the varying concentrations. It wasn’t much of a contest, either. The highest satisfaction were found in health care management (78%), health care administration (73%), and business and healthcare management (73%), not necessarily surprising for a mission-driven, life-or-death enterprise. Aside from business management and administration (69%), you’ll find half of MBAs clustered in the 50%-58% range. Despite ranking in the top five for pay, corporate finance and finance and economics produced the two lowest scores in meaning at 35% and 40% respectively.
Compared to other degree holders, MBAs find more meaning in their work Among bachelor’s degree holders with business-related concentrations, the happiest group was business management and human resources management at 68%. However, less than a third business BA concentrations scored at 50% or more when it came to meaning. That was less than half of MBAs (63% of concentrations) and lower than business master’s degrees (43%) as well.
For MBA salaries, see chart below.
DON’T MISS: YOUR MBA’S WORTH? PAY BY REGION
To compare master’s degree pay, go to the next page.