Articles from Poets & Quants

The most lucrative seven-figure MBA degrees

What’s an MBA degree really worth? And how much more money does an MBA from Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton get you over a career than one from Texas A&M, Ohio State, or the University of Iowa? Those are questions that perplex and confound many who are deciding whether to get the degree and, if so, where to get it from. Not everyone can get into the most highly selective business schools. So many candidates have to face the question over whether it’s worth getting the MBA from a second- or even third-tier school. A new analysis done exclusively for Poets&Quants by PayScale, which collects salary data from individuals through online pay comparison tools, shows that the MBA–, even from schools that lack global or national caché, delivers hefty seven-figure income over a 20-year period. PayScale used its database of MBA graduates at the top 50 U.S. schools to calculate an estimate of median pay and bonus over the entire 20-year span. The numbers are conservative. They do not include stock-based compensation of any kind, the cash value of retirements benefits, or other non-cash benefits, such as health care. The estimates are for base salary, cash bonuses and profit sharing in today’s dollars over a 20-year period from from 1994 to 2014. They are not a projection of future earnings. But the estimates show that the MBA degree–despite all the second-guessing over its value since the Great Recession–is one of the surest paths to a lucrative career. For the most part, the results are what you would expect: The highly ranked, big brand schools tend to deliver the highest earnings over a 20-year period. Harvard Business School’s MBAs come out on top, with median income of $3,233,000. Stanford MBA holders...