MBA Tuition Doubles; Salaries Flat – Is the MBA Worth It?

A few weeks ago I posted an article about a decision that many recent graduates as well as many Gen Xers struggle with: Should they college grads pursue an MBA or not?  As recently as the early 2000s, an MBA was the brass ring that nearly guaranteed a fast track career in management, finance, or entrepreneurship. Today a combination of factors is forcing students, older workers, parents, and even academics to question its value.

An infographic titled “Is An MBA Worth It?” did a great job of highlighting why a healthy dose of skepticism might be a healthy prescription for jobseekers – young and old.

For example, the average tuition cost for a 2 year MBA is currently $82,147.  After books, housing, and other expenses, the total cost likely exceeds $120,000.   But cost alone shouldn’t be the ultimate deterrent to pursuing an MBA if the salary earned offers a nice return on investment.  Since 2001, tuition has doubled.  Unfortunately the salaries earned by MBAs have remained flat.

This shrinking ROI is making it harder to pay off loans.  Graduates will shell out $1,300 a month after interest and fees with one in five MBA graduates default on their loans. Worse, the lifetime earnings of college graduates with a bachelor degree compared to an MBA is nearly the same. And that depends on the graduate receiving a job offer. In 2011, just a little more than fifty percent landed a new job.

Based on the studies that influenced this graphic, the MBA isn’t a requirement for high paying executive jobs either.  Only one out of 4,000 alumni of the top 10 MBA programs is the highest-paid executives.  And those alumni don’t include the likes of Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos who don’t even have an MBA.

For more information about the value of an MBA, scroll down.

Worth of an MBA
Created by:


Ira S Wolfe