Is an MBA Worth It? [2021 Guide]

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Is an MBA worth it? An MBA offers a number of potential benefits including increased earnings potential, career growth, and employability.

Is an MBA Worth It

MBA degrees are well-respected by employers and may offer excellent career growth potential, especially if you’re looking to get into a leadership position at a large corporation or start your own business.

A Master of Business Administration also offers a good return on investment, with an above average starting salary, especially when compared to a bachelor’s degree.

Is an MBA Worth It?

Chief Executive meeting with his team

Yes, an MBA is likely worth it. With an average salary of $104,690 for an executive position (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a Master of Business Administration degree can help you launch a career in this field.

Common MBA careers include chief executive positions, operations manager, management analyst, accountant, and market research analyst. Various professional MBA career paths have positive and above average growth rates over the next several years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, MBA related careers with above average growth include computer and information systems manager (10%), accountant (4%), HR manager (6%), market research analyst (18%), financial manager (15%), and marketing manager (6%).

If you’re interested in positioning yourself for significant career advancement in your industry or field, then an MBA can help provide you with the knowledge and skills required to accomplish that goal.

This is particularly true if you’re looking to break into a leadership role within an organization or start a business of your own.

A general business degree is valuable as well due to the fact that some employers may accept a bachelor’s degree as an entry level requirement for positions like marketing manager and human resources manager. However, other employers will prefer candidates to have a master’s degree in business administration online.

This is due to the high regard employers have towards MBA degrees as a result of the leadership and management skills they provide you as a student.

How to Decide Whether an MBA is Right for You

MBA student studying on her laptop

Is getting a traditional or online MBA worth it? It may be the right choice for you if you’re looking to promote into a leadership position, increase your earning potential over the course of your career, or if you’re trying to stand out in a highly-competitive field.

1. You’re interested in a leadership role.

Obtaining an MBA degree will help prepare you for a role in management or leadership. MBA programs cover a broad range of management principles, including economics, organizational behavior, business ethics, leadership practices, and finance.

Leadership roles that require an MBA or related graduate degree include various chief executive positions, such as a chief executive officer, executive director, department director, or operational manager.

2. You want to increase your earning potential.

Chief executive working late in the office

Having an MBA degree may help you obtain advanced level roles, including c-suite positions, that boast a high annual average salary.

Chief executive roles, including CEO and CCO, have an average annual salary of $184,460 and require an MBA as entry-level education. The position of computer and information systems manager has an average annual salary of $146,360 and a Master’s degree is an entry-level educational requirement.

An MBA can lead to a higher starting salary than would be possible with a bachelor’s degree. A starting salary in the field of accounting with a bachelor’s degree is $54,838, but with an MBA the starting salary increases to $67,369.

3. You want to stand out in a competitive field.

Financial Manager working in a cafe

MBA degrees are highly regarded by employers. They can help your resume stand out or show your current employer that you’re eager to grow professionally in areas related to management and leadership within an organization.

Employers place more value on a MBA than a bachelor’s degree. Specifically, MBA’s may help with career progression in relation to product development, information and technology, finance, consulting, and management.

MBA programs allow you to build connections and network with professionals in various fields. These connections may help open doors to advanced leadership positions or consulting roles, including management analyst.

Top 5 Things You Can Do with an MBA Degree

team of business professionals in a meeting

There a number of different career options you can pursue with an MBA, including top executive, financial manager, management analyst, market research analyst, and advertising, promotions, and marketing manager.

Some positions, like management analyst or market research analyst, may provide you with the opportunity to work as an independent consultant, operating your own business, or a work as a regular employee for an organization.

1. Top Executive

Chief Executive meeting in a conference room

Top executive roles you may be interested in pursuing with an MBA include chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief human resource officer, and executive director.

In a top executive position, you would perform high-level management and business operations including oversight of organizational policies and procedures, financial health and budgetary activities, product development, and supervision of marketing and public relation initiatives.

As part of a top executive role you may also manage organizational performance. This may include decision making in regard to implementing cost cutting measures within an organization or determining organizational structure as it relates to reporting relationships and roles within a business.

2. Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager

Marketing Manager meeting with his staff for a project

As an advertising, promotions and marketing manager you may be responsible for an organization’s marketing strategy and oversight of advertising tactics used within an organization, including print, television, radio, and digital marketing activities.

This role may also have responsibility for department budgetary activities, product marketing initiatives, and identification of new or emerging trends in the marketplace. Depending on the organization, positions may be referred to as marketing manager, advertising manager, promotions manager or a combination of all three.

3. Financial Manager

Financial Manager working in his home office

If you pursue an MBA with the goal of becoming a financial manager, you could expect to perform regular analysis of market trends, prepare financial statements, identify areas for profit growth and cost reduction, manage budgetary activities, and execute forecasting for an organization.

Positions related to this role may include controller, finance officer, risk manager, or insurance manager and can vary between different organizations.

4. Management Analyst

Management Analyst working on her laptop in the office

In a management analyst role, you may be accountable for analyzing organizational policies and practices, and identifying areas where the organization can cut costs or increase profits.

Responsibilities may also include suggesting alternative organizational practices, recommending changes to an organizations structure, and endorsing specific organizational changes to improve overall performance and profitability.

As a management analyst you may choose to work as a regular employee within an organization, or work as an independent consultant operating within your own business.

5. Market Research Analyst

team of Market Research Analysts in a meeting

With an MBA, you may be qualified for a position as a market research analyst where you would be responsible for analyzing market trends in relation to products or services offered by an organization.

In this role, you would also identify consumer product preferences, research competitors, review the effectiveness of marketing strategies, and evaluate data related to consumer behavior, consumer opinions, sales trends, and market conditions.

MBA Degree Alternatives

policy analysts signing a document

There are alternatives to MBA degree programs that may work better for you, particularly if you’re interested in career growth in a specific field or industry such as positions in governance, education or public health.

  1. Master of Public Administration. An MPA program will provide an in-depth look at political institutions, public policy, economics, and political ethics, in addition to management and leadership based curriculum. Related careers may include policy analyst, city manager, or public official.
  2. Master of Public Health. Focused on health practices and policies, MPH program curriculum will vary depending on the concentration of the program and may focus on community/public health, global health, or epidemiology. Career opportunities with an MPH may include hospital executive or a manager within a department of health.
  3. Master of Education. This program may cover topics including adult education, counseling, student development, college instruction, and curriculum development. With a Master’s in Education, you may qualify for positions including school board official, school principal, or curriculum development specialist.

In addition to the programs listed above, alternative master degrees can also be obtained in relation to science, engineering, architecture, and arts and humanities.

MBA Careers & Salaries

MBA Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an MBA can be helpful in securing leadership roles with high earning potential.

Careers Average Annual Salary
Chief Executive $184,460
Computer and Information Systems Manager $146,360
Architectural and Engineering Manager $144,830
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manger $135,900
Financial Manager $129,890
Human Resources Manager $116,720
Industrial Production Manager $105,480
Management Analyst $85,260
Accountant or Auditor $71,550
Market Research Analyst $63,790

If you wonder is it worth getting an MBA, it may be worthwhile if you’re looking to move into a leadership position within an organization or have a desire to increase your marketability as a potential employee, as MBA’s are highly regarded in business related professions.

What’s the Difference Between an MBA vs. Masters Program?

team of business professionals sharing ideas during a meeting

MBA programs are structured to provide graduate level education to those who already have professional workplace experience and who are looking to advance their career. A Master’s Program, on the other hand, is intended for recent graduates of a bachelor degree program, who have little to no professional workplace experience.

A Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) covers a broad range of business management and administration topics, ranging from finance and human resources management to information technology and organizational behavior.

A Master’s Program is more specialized, focusing on specific concentrations such as finance, human resources, or management.

Getting Your MBA Online

MBA student studying on his laptop in a cafe

Is it worth it to get an MBA? It likely is worth getting an MBA if you’re interested in breaking into a competitive field of business, looking to grow your leadership skills and advance into a management role, or if you’re hoping to increase your earning potential.

Online MBA programs (no GMAT required) can help prepare you for positions including chief executive officer, information technology manager, marketing manager, management analyst or market research analyst. With positive growth rates across these professions and high annual salaries, you may find there is a good return on investment if you choose to pursue your MBA.

Brenda Pyzik
Brenda Pyzik
Brenda earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Waterloo, with a minor in legal studies. She obtained a graduate certificate in human resource management from Georgian College. Brenda’s focus is on employment, entrepreneurship, business, and training and development.