How much does an MBA cost and is it worth it?

How much does an MBA cost, and is it worth it? Properly answering these questions can depend on your personal professional and financial situation, but mostly it depends on your goals.

Today, 70 percent of college students graduate with a substantial amount of loan debt. Roughly one in four American adults are paying off student loans, so it’s understandable that the majority of people aren’t in a hurry to add to that debt, or to go back and write yet another research paper. But if you are considering earning an MBA, one of your primary concerns is likely the cost of an MBA.

Unfortunately, the answer to “how much does an MBA cost?” isn’t necessarily straightforward. Some factors that can make the price tag vary include program format, the prestige of a school and its program, cost of living if you need move closer to your university of choice, tuition rates and other fees, to name a few.

In 2017, the average MBA cost for a two-year program at one of the top 10 U.S. business schools was over $130,000. If your program requires you to stop working in order to fully dedicated yourself to your studies, you’ll need to factor in lost income and opportunity cost as well—for a professional making $60,000 a year, this could bring your total two-year MBA cost to roughly $250,000.

This is a somewhat alarming statistic, and we were loath to even include it, but we want to be honest with you: An MBA is an investment in your future, and investments aren’t always small.

But fear not! There are MBA programs that aren’t quite as expensive as the top ten ranked schools. Some MBA programs offer tuition discounts or scholarships, and some major companies (especially those within the Fortune 100) will either completely or partially fund employees’ MBAs. And don’t forget, there are ways to earn an MBA and continue working. We’ll explore those in the sections below.

Is Getting an MBA Worth it?

If your goal is to work in a business-related field, the cost of an MBA is absolutely worth it. According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), 89 percent of business school alumni are employed and 67 percent are very satisfied or satisfied with their career progression.

GMAC’s 2018 business school alumni survey also revealed that “almost two-thirds of alumni work for multinational companies, one-third work for companies with over 25,000 workers, 29 percent work for publicly traded companies, 19 percent work for Global Fortune 500 companies, 17 percent work for Global Fortune 100 companies, and 8 percent work at startups.”

Overall, 81 percent of responding companies reported that they planned to hire recent MBA graduates in 2018, compared with 70 percent that hired them in 2017. Companies also reported that they intended to increase starting base salaries for new business school graduates.

But really, is getting an MBA worth it? Well, consider this: In 2018, MBA graduates earned an average starting salary of $105,000, compared to just $65,000 for those with a bachelor’s degree only. And consistent with the previous year, most companies intend to place new business school graduates in mid-level positions.

So if an increase in salary and job opportunities in the business field are what you’re looking for, the average MBA cost may well be worth it for you. However, you may want to consider an online MBA that allows you to continue furthering your current career while completing a graduate program.

What Does an Online MBA Cost?

What if, professionally speaking, there was a way to have your cake and eat it too? What if there was a way to earn an MBA without having to move, without having to incur lost income and opportunity cost? What if you could get your MBA while furthering your career and actively implementing the skills and knowledge you’re learning to your current position?

Well, there is a way! If all of the above sounded like a shoe that would fit for you, the online MBA cost may be worth it for you. Selecting an online MBA can make retaining a full-time job more feasible. And since coursework is generally given asynchronously, students can complete coursework according to their own schedules. So is an online MBA worth it? If you don’t want to lose income, if you want to expand your skills and be able to apply your learnings in real-time, then yes, the online MBA program cost is probably worth it for you.

Our Featured MBA Programs!

To help you get started – we have compiled a list of some of the top online programs. Earn while you learn and gain the education you need to back your experience and advance your career.

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KU School of Business

Enroll in a top-ranked Online MBA program today. Become a Jayhawk.

GMAT Waiver Available

Raymond A. Mason School of Business

Become a revolutionary business leader. Enroll in one of the best Online MBA programs on the east coast.

GMAT Waiver Available

Leavey School of Business Santa Clara University

Be more. Get an MBA from the best Online MBA program in the Silicon Valley.

GMAT Waiver Available

SeattleU Albers School of Business and economics

Become a people-centric business leader. Get an Online MBA from Seattle University.

GMAT Waiver Available

California State University Monterey Bay

Success requires responsible leadership. Cal State at Monterey Bay's Online MBA can you help you become that leader.

No GMAT Required!