When determining an MBA’s return on investment (ROI), it makes a big difference whether you’re considering the short-term or long-term gain. The Economist recently released data that measures the ROI (measured by taking the difference between pre- and post-MBA salaries and dividing it by the total cost of the program, including forgone salary plus tuition fees). For some programs (like Wharton) the short-term payoff is very low, but long term it’s much greater. Other programs, like one-year program HEC Paris, will give you a much more immediate positive ROI.
It also depends on YOU – if you had a low paying job, especially if you come from a poor country and then land a job in a country with a stronger economy, then you’ll have a better chance of leaping to a significantly higher salary post-MBA, thereby influencing your ROI.
Here are the top ten b-schools with the highest ROI from the Economist report:
||ROI after One Year
|HEC Paris (France)
|U. of Hong Kong
|SDA Bocconi (Italy)
|International Uni of Japan
|York Schulich (Canada)
|Vlerick Leuven (Belgium)
|Dublin Smurfit (Ireland)
As you’ll see, if you check out the Economist article, the list is dominated by European programs, and the top ten are exclusively non-U.S. programs (and almost the top 20 – U. of Pittsburgh Katz came in at 19th place). Those programs are almost all one-year programs with lower out-of-pocket costs (like tuition) and lower opportunity cost because you are out of the workforce for a much shorter period of time.
Wondering where top U.S. schools come out on the chart? All the way at the bottom, with ROIs like this:
A Poets & Quants article elaborates on the absence of U.S. programs from the top of the list, by opening with “Looking to get rich quick after graduation? Don’t go to Wharton, Stanford, or Kellogg…Go to HEC Paris (or the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business), instead.”
In short, the P&Q article explains, average first-year salaries pitted against two-year U.S. tuitions and lost earnings, don’t compete with the “winners” early on in the game. Wait it out, however, and a degree from Wharton will certainly be a coveted item with a rocket high ROI later on in your career. Furthermore, there are many people who would love to have the bottom-of-the-barrel, short-term returns on their tuition investment, especially given the anticipated long-term uptick.
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This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.