Earn higher salaries and valuable connections with a Masters of Business Administration
We expect to find recruiters buzzing about graduation ceremonies. It’s one reason why 90 per cent of Masters of Business Administration (MBA) grads are hired into well-paying gigs within three months of tossing their caps into the air. But after the honeymoon period of the first good job, does an MBA really sweeten career prospects in the long-term?
Moneywise, the answer is yes. A 2012 Forbes article ironically titled “Is the MBA obsolete?” says MBA grads can expect higher salaries further down the line as well as right out of the gate. On average, the first position after completing an MBA comes with a salary 50 per cent higher than before earning one’s letters. After five years, that salary will have doubled. After 10 years, according to “QS Return on Investment Report: North American Full-Time MBA 2015,” Canadian MBA grads receive an average “return on investment” of $298,000—meaning that even after accounting for tuition and salary loss while studying, Canadians with MBAs are still coming out ahead. Twenty years later the average return on investment is $1.5 million.
So how do MBA grads continue to command higher salaries long after classes are out? One reason is the right credentials. Many employers see those two years of expensive education as proof of ambition and strategic-thinking, two qualities that ought to be rewarded. Once hired, an employee with an MBA designation will stand out in large companies where there may be less opportunity to show off one’s skills directly to senior management, explains Ronald Yeaple in Forbes. The MBA designation effectively tags them for promotion. Later on, that tag also stands out to headhunters looking to fill senior executive positions.
While the prestigious acronym may open a stranger’s door, personal connections are still the most effective way to access quality jobs. And MBA grads have connections in spades. A full-time MBA program is akin to business boot camp, both in terms of challenging workload and in bonding. Over two years of difficult group projects, presentations and simulations, students form a supportive cohort that lasts throughout their careers. Every time a former classmate scores a great position, alumni can celebrate the stretch of their personal network into yet another top company or field.
In fact, building contacts is so valuable that most schools introduce opportunities to network throughout the program. Instructors at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, for example, convey the value of peer relationships at every opportunity. “Within each cohort we teach students how to develop and maintain networks and we also host networking events weekly with external organizations,” says Shane Moore, director, recruitment and admissions. He adds that Beedie also has over 200 business mentors available to coach students throughout the program, and another 10,000 contacts in the database that students may approach for specific projects or work experience. It’s not just who you know, but who they know. Every introduction helps.
In short, those three letters may not just propel you into your first dream job, but the next, and the next, and the next one after that. If life-long connections and intense earning potential sounds like a good return on investment, you may be the right candidate for an MBA.
Are you interested in finding out more about SFU’s MBA program? On March 18th, the Beedie School of Business will host MBA 101, an all-day event where prospective students can sample a class, take a seminar on career development and begin networking.