4 Stats to Measure Before Signing Up for an MBA...

As a young professional working at the International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank, Bruno de Faria had a solid career but worried his business acumen was weak. “I was a political science major in college. I had a little bit of an international relations background, but my work was becoming more and more related to business – finance, accounting, marketing,” the 36-year-old says.​ “I wanted to develop, personally, those skills.” He decided an MBA would give him the knowledge he lacked, but a business school degree often comes at a cost. Many schools charge students $50,000 or more in tuition and fees per year, and full-time MBA programs usually require a two-year commitment. Business school experts recommend applicants weigh their return on investment before enrolling and how long it will take to recoup the money lost​. The investment includes the time in school, the salary a full-time student gives up while in school​ and the total cost of attendance.​ For de Faria, measuring his income before and after graduation was important. “I looked at my salary going away, our incremental expenses and then what would be the expected salary that I’d get after graduation. So, that would be the return,” says de Faria, whose wife worked while he was an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. “Then I looked at in how many years, more or less, what would be my payback period?” Graduates from two-year, full-time MBA programs usually recoup their investment in three and a half years, according to a February report from the Graduate Management Admission Council. Their median cumulative base salary three years after graduation is $348,000. Prospective business school students should consider four factors in determining...