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Think beyond salary when weighing the value of an MBA
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15th Dec, 2009 | Source : Graduate Management Admission Council [mba.com]

By any measure, an MBA is a big investment—in time, energy and money. Potential students have always pondered the value of the MBA. But in this economic downturn, the question has added urgency: What’s an MBA worth?

In a strictly monetary sense, the degree consistently adds value in terms of salary. MBAs, on average, make more than both recent college graduates with bachelor’s degrees and master’s level graduates in disciplines other than business. Studies including the Graduate Management Admission Council’s Corporate Recruiters Survey have shown that graduate management degrees can have a significant positive effect on lifetime earnings.

But why do MBAs make more money?

Perhaps more than any other graduate program, the MBA gives students a broad array of applicable skills. MBA programs teach not only the theory behind sound business practices, but also strategic and management skills. The case study method and collaborative approaches used by many MBA programs hones skills in a very practical way.

Some 85 percent of respondents in GMAC’s most recent Global Management Education Graduate Survey said that their program helped them develop important professional skills and abilities, notes Michelle Sparkman-Renz, associate director, GMAC Research and Development. Specifically, graduates were most satisfied with their ability to manage strategy and innovation, their general business knowledge, their strategic and system skills, the ability to manage the decision-making process, and their generative, or innovative, thinking abilities.

Such skills are applicable across a wide variety of job functions within an organization and across many different industries. The practical skill sets, along with the personal improvement and the personal networks they developed in business school, can all lead to more lifetime career opportunities.

When asked how their management degree had benefitted them, more than three-quarters of those surveyed said it introduced new career opportunities. “That speaks to what today’s generation is looking for,” Sparkman-Renz says. “It gives them a sense of empowerment to control their job outcomes.”
To find out more on getting an mba and to register for the GMAT exam, the standardized test used in admissions by approximately 4,700 busienss programs worldwide, go to mba.com.


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