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MBA programs with the best ROI

Best ranking MBA programs for RoIA major investment decision requires some amount of due diligence to figure out the risks as well as the returns involved, so that you have an idea of what’s in store for you and you have no unpleasant surprises later.

An MBA degree, especially from an international location, is a huge self-investment. So, you’d definitely be interested in evaluating what ROI (Return on Investment) this degree has to offer.

Benjamin Franklin once said ‘An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.’ Absolutely true! However, it’s worthwhile to compare the various programs and get a picture of long it’d take to pay off your MBA debt and start receiving positive returns on your investment. After all, you’re not only investing your hard-earned money, but also your precious productive years and endless effort in procuring an MBA degree.

Deriving the ROI value

To calculate the ROI of MBA programs, you’d need to know the average post-MBA salary and then weigh it against the program cost. The program duration is an important factor as the expense would significantly increase for a two year MBA as against a one year program.

Financial Times (FT) releases its annual global MBA rankings for colleges/universities. Various parameters are also analysed and colleges ranked accordingly. Value for money which is indicative of a program ROI is one such parameter. This value is calculated by dividing the post-MBA alumni salary three years after graduating by the total cost of the program. This cost would take into account the MBA tuition, and related expenses as well as the opportunity cost (forgone income during the duration of the program) minus the scholarship or any financial aid obtained.

Based on FT’s ‘Value for money rankings’ (2018), here’s the list of schools according to their geography.

MBA programs with the best ROI


MBA programs in USA with the best ROI

Ranking Business School
1. University of Florida: Hough
2. University of Connecticut School of Business
3. Brigham Young University: Marriott
4. University of Texas at Dallas: Jindal
5. Wisconsin School of Business
6. Georgia Institute of Technology: Scheller
7. Ohio State University: Fisher
8. Pennsylvania State University: Smeal
9. Michigan State University: Broad
10. Purdue University: Krannert
11. Arizona State University: Carey
12. University of Pittsburgh: Katz
13. Rutgers Business School
14. Rice University: Jones
15. Emory University: Goizueta
16. University of Notre Dame: Mendoza
17. Indiana University: Kelley
18. Vanderbilt University: Owen
19. Washington University: Olin
20. University of Washington: Foster
21. University of Rochester: Simon
22. SMU: Cox
23. Stanford Graduate School of Business
24. Boston University: Questrom
25. University of California at Irvine: Merage
26. Boston College: Carroll
27. University of Texas at Austin: McCombs
28. Cornell University: Johnson
29. University of Minnesota: Carlson
30. Babson College: Olin
31. University of California at Berkeley: Haas
32. UCLA: Anderson
33. University of Chicago: Booth
34. University of San Diego School of Business Administration
35. University of North Carolina: Kenan-Flagler
36. University of Michigan: Ross
37. Harvard Business School
38. Yale School of Management
39. Carnegie Mellon: Tepper
40. Dartmouth College: Tuck
41. University of Maryland: Smith
42. University of Virginia: Darden
43. Columbia Business School
44. Northwestern University: Kellogg
45. MIT: Sloan
46. Georgetown University: McDonough
47. New York University: Stern
48. University of Pennsylvania: Wharton
49. Duke University: Fuqua
50. University of Southern California: Marshall


MBA in UK with the best ROI

Ranking Business School
1. University of Cambridge: Judge
2. Durham University Business School
3. Lancaster University Management School
4. Leeds University Business School
5. Warwick Business School
6. University of Oxford: Saïd
7. Cranfield School of Management
8. University of Strathclyde Business School
9. University of Edinburgh Business School
10. City University: Cass
11. Imperial College Business School
12. University of Bath School of Management
13. Alliance Manchester Business School
14. London Business School


MBA in Europe with the best ROI

Ranking Business School Country
1. EDHEC Business School France
2. INSEAD France
3. IMD Switzerland
4. ESMT Berlin Germany
5. Mannheim Business School Germany
6. Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Netherlands
7. University of St Gallen Switzerland
8. The Lisbon MBA Portugal
9. University College Dublin: Smurfit Ireland
10. SDA Bocconi Italy
11. HEC Paris France
12. EMLyon Business School France
13. WHU Beisheim Germany
14. Copenhagen Business School Denmark
15. ESSEC Business School France
16. ESADE Business School Spain
17. IESE Business School Spain


MBA in Asia with the best ROI

Ranking Business School Country
1. Insead Singapore
2. HKUST Business School China
3. Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Antai China
4. Renmin University of China School of Business China
5. Nanyang Business School Singapore
6. National University of Singapore Business School Singapore
7. Sungkyunkwan University GSB S Korea
8. Singapore Management University: Lee Kong Chian Singapore
9. CEIBS China
10. CUHK Business School China
11. Fudan University School of Management China
12. Indian Institute of Management Calcutta India
13. Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad India
14. University of Hong Kong China
15. Indian Institute of Management Bangalore India
16. Indian School of Business India


MBA in Canada with the best ROI

Ranking Business School
1. Western University: Ivey
2. McGill University: Desautels
3. University of Toronto: Rotman


MBA in Australia with the best ROI

Ranking Business School
1. Melbourne Business School
2. AGSM at UNSW Business School


Why the top schools rank low for RoI

Top business brands including Wharton, Fuqua, Kellogg, Columbia figure at the bottom in the above table. This is because the methodology used for calculating these rankings takes into consideration the salary three years after graduation. Due to higher program costs, the loan repayment time would be longer for these top MBA programs, however with an MBA degree from one of these top ranked schools, you may be better equipped to earn a higher salary in the long run.

There are other publications and companies who’ve have shared their opinion on the MBA ROI topic.

According to a GMAC survey, it’s not just the salary that measures the ROI. Along with salary, alumni acknowledge that other aspects such as personal development, managerial knowledge and technical skills contribute towards ROI assessment. Another observation has been that MBA graduates, on an average, are able to recoup their MBA investment in a period of less than 4 years post-graduation.

SoFi (Social Finance, Inc.), a personal finance company has compared MBA programs through data gathered from MBA grads with an average of three years work experience. The calculations compare the ratio between the average salary and the average debt for each school; the higher the value the better the ranking for the b-school.

Whatever the method employed for calculating the ROI factor, the results derived may be used for reference purpose and should not be looked upon as an absolute guide for short listing your business schools. Finally, there are other key factors more likely to influence your decision including how much of a fit you are for the MBA program and to what extent the program can help you meet your post-MBA goals.

Again, you never know, if you were to get a fantastic scholarship offer from any of the top schools, the ROI calculations would surely tilt in your favour!

Also read:
Payback time for the top MBA colleges in the world
Best value MBA programs
Experience of a candidate who competed with top-tier MBA students to make it into Google
What is the RoI of an MBA from USA?
The Long-Term Value of an MBA
Best MBA programs in USA for Indian students
References: 1, 2, 3

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About Swati
After working for over a decade in technical and managerial roles in the corporate world, Swati now works as a freelancer and writes on a variety of topics including education, career guidance and self-improvement.

7 thoughts on “MBA programs with the best ROI”

  1. hi sameer sir,
    I’m planning to pursue mba from abroad directly after graduation.
    I’m currently pursuing law from india.
    10TH SCORE- 9.2 CGPA ,
    12TH- 84%,
    Current average of gpa in college-7.8
    I’ll complete law next year i.e 2019 and I want to directly go for MBA because most probably I’ll have to get married after 3-4 years.
    what should I do as I won’t be able to get any work experience? and which universities should I target?

  2. hi ,
    i have done my MBA in finance and logistics want to pursue my career in finance and supply chain mangement . what path i have to take to achieve my goals ? and is there any specific certified course available in finance which will help me to start my career in financing

  3. Hi Sameer,

    I am a BMS graduate and I passed this year only. I also have a work experience of 2.5 years as an Inside sales execute in a real estate firm. Which course should be better for me as I am not much keen n doing a full time MBA because I want to continue my work. Is Executive MBA is the right course for me for my growth in terms of post and salary. Please suggest.

  4. Hi Sir,

    I was working with an MNC till june 2017 (2.5 years), i took a drop because there was no further growth left in my project and decided to go for mba, the results have come out and i know there is ample space for improvement but i think it will be sensible to do it along with a job now as I have already studied the syllabus once. The main issue is that since march I have been looking for a job and there have been no positive outcomes and its June now so starting my mba preparation is a must, So will it be an issue if there is a 2 year gap if i do not work and continue with my preparation? or should I stop thinking about getting into the IT sector again and instead start volunteering for an NGO? Please help as I am not able to think straight.

  5. @Divyanshi: That won’t be a good plan. Here’s why work experience is important for MBA programs:

    @Sirpy: When you already have an MBA in finance, why do you want another qualification in the same field? Try reaching out to companies hiring at junior levels.

    @Mohini: Read here to know if an Executive MBA is worth it or not:

    @Tanmay: I don’t fully understand your story. If you already have an MBA, and are looking for another MBA because the first one could get you a job, then I think that’s not a good idea. Best to keep looking for a job.

  6. Hi Sameer,

    i am planning to pursue MBA next year, most probably will give GMAT in Dec, i am an engineer (2004-08), and currently working in the capacity of a project manager (operations) in telecom company, with a total of 9 years of experience , i am super confused between a 1year /2 year MBA , which will be better for me ?

    i am looking to switch the industry , and currently looking at the colleges of Europe and Canada.

    which country and colleges should i target , and which MBA ( 1 year / 2 year ) will be more beneficial for me, considering my age and experience.

  7. Hi, Myself madhuri allam, planning to pursue mba this year. I have completed my bachelors in business management. May i know the colleges that are in vizag which serve me with best RETURN OF INVESTMENT?


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