MBA Programs with the Highest Return on Investment

return on investment

Assessing potential return on investment helps candidates determine whether pursuing an MBA degree makes sense both professionally and financially. After all, business school isn’t cheap.

Based on the QS 2019 Global MBA Ranking, this ROI comparison published in Business Insider looks at post-MBA salaries to pre-MBA salaries while factoring in tuition and cost of living. While some overlap exists between the top ten overall in the QS ranking, you’ll see some surprising MBA programs that deliver more bang for your buck.

Top MBA Programs for Return on Investment

First Place—Manheimm Business School, Mannheim, Germany
QS return-on-investment score: 98.3
Tuition: $40K to $49K
Post-graduation salary: $100K to $109K
Post-program salary growth: 162%

2. IE Business School, Madrid, Spain
QS return-on-investment score: 96.8
Tuition: $80K to $89K
Post-graduation salary: $90K to $99K
Post-program salary growth: 94%

3. SDA Bocconi, Milan, Italy
QS return-on-investment score: 96.6
Tuition: $60K to $69K
Post-graduation salary: $100K to $109K
Post-program salary growth: 116%

4. Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
QS return-on-investment score: 96.0
Tuition: $40K to $49K
Post-graduation salary: $70K to $89K
Post-program salary growth: 184%

5. Ross School of Business, Ann Arbor, Michigan (tie)
QS return-on-investment score: 95.7
Tuition: $110K to $149K
Post-graduation salary: $120K to $129K
Post-program salary growth: 100%

5. CMU Tepper School of Business, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (tie)
QS return-on-investment score: 95.7
Tuition: $100K to $149K
Post-graduation salary: $110K to $119K
Post-program salary growth: 113%

7. Imperial College London, UK
QS return-on-investment score: 95.0
Tuition: $60K to $69K
Post-graduation salary: $70K to $89K
Post-program salary growth: 29%

8. University of Hong Kong
QS return-on-investment score: 94.6
Tuition: $70K to $79K
Post-graduation salary: $90K to $99K
Post-program salary growth: 108%

9. Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield, UK (tie)
QS return-on-investment score: 94.5
Tuition: $40K to $49K
Post-graduation salary: $90K to $99K
Post-program salary growth: 124%

9. Durham University, Durham, UK (tie)
QS return-on-investment score: 94.5
Tuition: $30K to $39K
Post-graduation salary: $70K to $89K
Post-program salary growth: 87%

(source: Business Insider)

Keep This in Mind When Considering ROI

Students of two-year MBA programs typically have the largest investment expense because they miss two years of employment. They need to recoup the cost of the MBA degree plus the opportunity cost in order to get a positive return on their investment.

Prospective students should consider payback time with projected cumulative growth, and average growth rate, when looking at return on investment as a motivating factor for pursuing an MBA. But keep in mind, the value of the MBA degree varies depending on your post-graduation plans, as well as the brand of the business school where you earn the degree.

Remember, every choice that you make when deciding whether an MBA makes sense for you– ranging from the cost of the city you decide to live in, the field you move into, to the school you choose – will impact your financial return on investment.  Nevertheless, no other degree can open doors as the MBA does.

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