What’s an MBA worth in a lifetime?

By - Feb 10, 12:54 PM Comments [0]

Did you ever wonder what an MBA is really worth? Not just upon graduation. Not just in the first five years following graduation? But over the twenty years following graduation?

BusinessWeek commissioned a study by Payscale, which it released earlier today.  While by BW’s own admission the “data suffer from some inherent limitations…” the stats are interesting. And refreshingly,  it doesn’t proclaim itself to be a ranking, although the interactive tool allows you to rank schools by different salary criteria.

A few stand out factoids:

  • The highest estimated salaries go to graduations of Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Columbia, and Tuck. No surprises there.
  • “After 20 years, graduates of three schools have cash compensation that is double, or more than double, what today’s students make at graduation, and none of them are high-profile schools: Georgia Tech, University of Connecticut, and George Washington University”
  • Several schools have annual cash compensation after twenty years that is very close to the annual starting pay of Wharton, Harvard, Tuck, Stanford, and MIT grads (the top five according to BW in starting pay.)

Some of the differences in pay reflect geographic realities as well as pay scales in different industries and this study doesn’t attempt to adjust for those differences.

Now if some smart Ph.D. candidate can just figure out how much these people or a similar group of people would have made without an MBA and compare those numbers to these, we could really get a handle on the ROI of an MBA.

Anyone need a dissertation topic?

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