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What is the ROI of an MBA?

The return on investment (ROI) of a master’s degree in business administration depends on your personal objectives, varying from person to person and often going beyond financial gain.

Some apply for an MBA program seeking a promotion within their current company, an entrepreneurial journey, professional growth, to stand out to recruiters and employers during their job search or personal accomplishment.

“Soft” Returns of a Master of Business Administration Program

An MBA will help you develop some of the most sought-after skills companies are looking for: soft skills.

Soft Skills Often Taught in an MBA Program Include:

  • Analytical and Critical Thinking: The ability to engage in analytical and creative processes to solve problems, make decisions and evaluate ideas is essential to business advancement and success.
  • Communication: Whether you are in customer service, engineering, marketing or sales, communication skills provide the necessary interpersonal skills to succeed in a team. A business leader needs to be able to read the audience, deliver messages, and take feedback in ways that are effective and efficient.
  • Negotiation: Business schools teach students how to negotiate with different people and in different scenarios. It’s important to know the right approach for each situation to turn conflict and disagreement into shared objectives.

The Financial Return of an MBA: New Salary or Career

Although the cost of an MBA program is a large factor to consider, starting salaries and promotions remained high overall in data reported to the U.S News and News Report in 2021. The average salary paid to graduates among the 131 ranked full-time MBA programs was $105,684.

Results from a 2021 Boise State Online MBA graduating student survey show 76% of respondents saw a salary increase during the program. And 86% of graduates reported $14,894 average annual salary increases.

However, starting post-MBA pay may be higher — the real return on investment of an MBA lies in your lifetime earnings. An analysis of salary data collected through Poets&Quants and PayScale shows MBA graduates will earn $5.7 million after graduating and working 35 years, $2.3 million more than individuals with undergraduate degrees.

For those searching a lifetime of meaningful, high-impact work, data clearly shows a compelling return on investment.

How to Maximize the Return on Investment of an MBA

For students who are wary of costs and potential long-term returns, earning a Master of Business Administration can be more feasible if you can reduce out-of-pocket expenses.

    • Pick a high-quality, affordable MBA program: Online MBA programs are often more affordable. The Boise State Online MBA offers affordable, pay-as-you-go tuition that includes all course materials, eliminating textbook costs.
    • Scholarships: Available nationally and at the university level, scholarships and financial aid can help you fund your education. Boise State offers about $5,500 in savings.
    • GI Bill: In most circumstances, veterans may be eligible to fund their MBA tuition under the GI Bill benefits while active duty members can receive Federal Tuition Assistance (TA).
    • Tuition Reimbursement: Many companies offer their employees assistance by reimbursing some or all of the cost of their tuition. Check with your employer and look out for requirements related to how long you have to work there and required to stay if using those benefits.

Thanks to the wide range of tools available to help students manage up-front costs, as well as the availability of lower-cost online programs, it is easier than ever for anyone seeking an MBA to make a successful transition into graduate school and maximize their ROI.

Learn more about the ROI of an MBA from Boise State’s online MBA Director, Ally Daniels.

This webinar explores how a student can maximize their MBA return on investment. Closed captions available. Video transcript

Learn More About Boise State Online’s Master of Business Administration

The Boise State Online MBA program is delivered in a convenient, 100% online format featuring seven-week courses and six start dates a year.

Our flexible schedule allows you to start when you’re ready and makes it easy for you to pause when you need it. Get started right away and earn your degree while you continue working.

Ready to get a lifetime return on investment?
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