Dreaming of climbing the ladder at a prestigious finance institution? Or maybe you’re committed to starting a socially-responsible environmental consulting firm. The chances are that if you’re interested in the business world, you’ve considered getting an MBA.
An MBA, or Master’s in Business Administration, is a graduate level degree that confers grads with flexible and expansive knowledge about the business world, from business development to accounting. Internationally recognized, an MBA can set you up for a career in the United States or abroad, in the private sector or even in the NGO and non-profit sector.
Designed to help you hone critical business skills, MBA programs cover a wide variety of topics, from the basics of economic theory to practical seminars on topics like sustainable development. The flexibility of an MBA means that you will be able to tailor your graduate degree to your specific interests, whether that is learning how to rise to C-suite executive or learning how to manage an international non-profit staff.
If you’re wondering “what jobs can you get with an MBA?”—know that each MBA program has different specialties and electives that allow you to hone your business leadership skills in a context that will help push your career forward.
An MBA is one of the most lucrative master’s degrees . But as more and more students pursue graduate degrees, many students may wonder: is an MBA really worth it?
How Much Does an MBA Cost?
The biggest downside to getting an MBA? The cost. The cost of an MBA degree can vary widely by school and program, but many MBA programs will cost you a pretty penny out of pocket , even if you earn some scholarships.
MBA programs can be some of the most expensive master’s degrees out there, landing grads with more than $70,000 of debt, on average. Top schools, like the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia, can cost upwards of $100,000 in tuition alone. Add in the cost of living, and you’re looking at an even higher number.
Of course, there are more affordable MBA programs. For example, the highly ranked University of Wisconsin-Madison has an annual in-state tuition of $19,162. But regardless of which program you choose, you may be looking at taking out hefty student loans to cover the cost of attendance. If you’re going to invest that much money in your degree, you want to make sure that it will pay off.
Is Getting an MBA Worth the Cost?
Even though getting your MBA is expensive at the outset, it is essential to think about how much actual value having that MBA can add to your life and finances.
Your MBA degree sends an automatic signal that you are a professional and an expert. While many business leaders rise through the ranks without an MBA, having the degree is a bonus for employers showing them you are competent and ready for the business world.
Getting your MBA can come with a serious cost, but it can also have a beneficial impact on your earning potential. In fact, the average MBA salary for 2017 graduates was $105,146 .
It’s important to calculate the return on your investment because some MBA degrees might actually cost way more than you can expect to recover in the boost to your salary. Luckily, we’ve helped take some of the work out of it for you with our annual “No BS” MBA rankings, where we surveyed SoFi members to help break down the return on investment for top MBA programs. Picking an MBA program that could give you the most bang for your buck can help make an MBA worth it.
Of course, not all business professionals need or want an MBA. MBA programs typically take two years of full-time study, which can make them impractical for many people who don’t want to (or can’t) stop working for such a long time, especially if they are already moving up the ladder in the business world.
There are some alternatives to full-time MBA programs, some offer online-only classes, while others offer part-time programs that are designed to work with your schedule while you are still working full-time.
Can You Increase the Value of Your MBA?
The bottom line? Look for a program that fits your interests and offers a great debt-to-value ratio. In addition to choosing the right MBA program, you can help increase the value of your MBA degree by thinking smart when it comes to student loans.
One significant benefit of an MBA is that it can seriously boost your salary and your finances. If your financial picture has improved with things like a solid income and consistent credit history, you may be a good candidate for refinancing. Refinancing your student loans after obtaining an MBA can help you lower interest rates, which means that you could pay less interest on your student loans and voilà—that MBA becomes even more valuable.
When you refinance your student loans, you’re taking out a new loan with a private lender which will in effect pay off your existing loans. Refinancing gives you a new, hopefully lower, interest rate, a new term length, and new monthly payments.
Instead of paying multiple student loans, you end up with a straightforward loan payment, ideally with more favorable student loan repayment terms based on your current financial situation. That means that refinancing offers take into account your new degree, your new salary, and your new financial reality.
You can maximize the value of your MBA program by minimizing the amount of debt you take on through finding a high-value program and considering refinancing your loans after graduation. In the end, getting an MBA can help advance your career if you’re dedicated to pursuing a career in business.
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Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.