Amplify Your Career with an MBA
An MBA has long been regarded as one of the most powerful buffers against volatile market forces that affect hiring and job losses. Even amidst the considerable disruption to recruitment and hiring during the pandemic, according to a 2020 Corporate Recruiters Survey, MBA salaries remained high during COVID-19. What’s more, hiring and compensation are expected to further rebound in 2021.
There are many reasons why those with MBAs seem to be nearly immune to the market forces that proved to be devastating to other job seekers, but in part, it comes down to possessing the skillsets most highly sought by employers. An MBA demonstrates that a job candidate has an internal motivation for self-improvement, an interest in acquiring new skillsets, and thrives in situations where independence and leadership are required – all traits employers are seeking out for the post-pandemic landscape.
Advanced degrees offer clear advantages, especially in fields that require nimble adaptation, for those looking to advance their careers rather than make a career switch. However, the needs of mid-career MBA candidates are different from those who pursue an MBA straight out of college. At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management, a full 85% of students are mid-career advancers looking to capitalize on the benefits of an MBA, which makes the flexibility of Isenberg’s top-ranked Online MBA program the best way for these students to get ahead while remaining in their current roles. Additionally, while recent MBA grads have a better chance of seamlessly joining established corporations and startup environments, the experience of graduate school often empowers mid-career professionals to explore entrepreneurship, which may previously have felt too risky.
The Reality of An MBA’s Increased Earnings
Cold, hard cash isn’t exactly the kind of intrinsic motivation parents strive to instill in their children, but for many, it’s one of the most tangible benefits of an MBA. The median salary for an MBA is $115,000, which is 75% higher than those with an undergraduate degree. In Fortune 100 companies and the big three industries most attractive to MBAs, the median base salary for an MBA is $145,000, double that of a candidate with an undergraduate degree.
Even within the overall bracket of MBA-driven earning potential, there are concentrations that offer the most accelerated increase in compensation, most notably in strategy, entrepreneurship, and innovation management. For those who pursue an MBA with a concentration in strategy, the mid-career earning potential averages at $150,000. Corporate finance, business finance, and marketing are also among the top-paying concentrations. Interestingly, while quantitative concentrations showed strength in early career earnings, it was concentrations that required strength in communications that took the lead in mid-career earnings.
While there are areas of focus that offer a higher lifetime earning potential, an MBA is one of the fastest and most effective ways to increase your earning potential, regardless of concentration.
The Tuition Cost-Benefit Analysis
Look at the faculty list of any top-ranking business school and you’ll find a diverse list of award-winning research scholars, world-class industry experts, and outstanding professors. Thanks to internationally esteemed careers, these lecturers and professors are uniquely qualified to equip students with the kind of real-world creative problem-solving skills that make an MBA so valuable to employers. For many MBA candidates, access to a certain caliber of faculty is a key factor in which program they choose. All of this is to say that a graduate program’s investment in world-caliber faculty may be one of the factors that drive tuition costs, but it’s an investment that’s going to produce a significant return, for both the graduate program and the students.
Additionally, investments in the kind of career placement infrastructure that offers students a winning advantage upon graduation add to the total cost of tuition. While the opportunities inherent in access to a network of successful alumni are tried and true, the more active benefit is derived from the kind of resources a graduate program develops to help open doors for students. “We’re really upping our game with online workshops and resources on a soon-to-be-unveiled career and professional development platform for online students,” says Holly Lawrence, Assistant Dean of the Office of Career Success in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “We’ve developed a library of resources, including an Online MBA resume guide, and we’ve planned a series of workshops focused on career and professional development throughout the academic year that will be available both synchronously and asynchronously.”
While it’s true that business school carries a significant price tag, past and present compensation trends, as well as future hiring predictions for MBA candidates, show it’s a strategically, financially sound investment that will pay both long- and short-term dividends. According to U.S. News & World Report 2021 rankings, the average salary and signing bonus within three months of graduation for graduates of UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management On-Campus MBA program was $131,388, while the average debt was only $18,328
In recent years, there has been plenty of conjecture about the waning power of the MBA, but all signs point to the contrary, especially when it comes to positioning oneself to navigate uncertain workforce pressures. And while it’s true that money can’t buy happiness, the peace of mind that comes with financial security makes supercharging your earning potential a pretty compelling argument in favor of pursuing an MBA.
Learn more about University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management.