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The Long-Term Value of an MBA

Long-Term Value of an MBA

An MBA will be among the most important investments in your professional life. So it’s only justified for business school aspirants to ask.

  • What financial returns can you expect from a top MBA program?
  • What’s the earning potential in the next 10 years?
  • Which business schools (in USA, Europe, Asia) will give you the best RoI?
  • Between USA and Europe, which region has the shortest payback time?
  • What is the long-term value of an MBA?

QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a leader in the global higher education consulting space, has the answers to all these questions. And some of the facts and data may surprise you!

The Long-Term Value of an MBA

by QS Quacquarelli Symonds

To MBA or not to MBA? It’s never an easy question to answer, and depends on a number of factors including circumstance, career goals, and investment of both time and money.

Yes, there’s the cost — these days tuition at any top-ranking B-school can be heavy on your pocket.

The cost of acquiring a business degree from American schools is frequently as high as $200,000, with the best European schools, while fractionally less eye-wateringly exorbitant, also capable of demanding a six-figure investment sum.

It is therefore essential – before incurring the sizable financial and opportunity costs demanded by an MBA – to approach your decision in a reflective, data-driven way.

Firstly, consider that it’s not all about the money. There are a number of qualitative benefits conferred upon any MBA graduate – benefits that help to differentiate business school alumni from their peers.

These benefits include:

  • Expanding one’s skillset through access to the wide range of educational content available;
  • Engaging with globally-renowned companies – the world’s most prestigious, profitable multinationals;
  • The space to network with like-minded entrepreneurs and future business leaders. Future Fortune 500 ventures have been started in and around the classroom almost as often as in the boardroom!

Of course, pecuniary considerations are perpetually pertinent, and the MBA remains unparalleled among higher education degrees through its astounding return-on-investment.

The global higher education consultancy QS Quacquarelli Symonds – compilers of the world-leading QS World University Rankings portfolio – produce an annual report that identifies the financial returns offered by the MBA programs at top business schools across the world.

They found that MBAs continue to be a uniquely profitable degree – with a potential ROI of $1 million over a decade!

This ROI was determined through combining five key metrics: tuition costs, the time taken to pay back those costs, the average salary post-MBA, salary comparison across institutions, and a ten-year return on investment figure.

Through this research, they found that the average 10-year ROI of an MBA is $390,751 in 2018.

The financial returns vary wildly by institution and country. US schools dominate in terms of the schools with the highest post-study salaries, with 19 of the global top 20 hailing from America.

In other words, even though American MBAs typically charge more tuition and take longer to complete, the salaries for American MBA graduates from these schools are so much higher that, ten years on, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Stanford leads by a significant margin, with an ROI of $1,023,150.

Nonetheless, worthwhile returns are still derived from European and East Asian MBA programs – with Imperial leading in Europe (and 2nd in the world) with an ROI of $870,200.

The University of Hong Kong leads Asia, with a ten-year ROI of $845,350.

Another factor to consider with European programs is that the average payback time for the continent is a mere 39 months – a global low – compared with the North American average of 55 months.

Therefore, if speed, rather than long-term payback, is your primary consideration, you may wish to explore British programs—where some of continent’s highest ROI figures are found.

If your interest is sufficiently piqued by the tantalizing prospect of return on investment figures in the hundreds of thousands, one way to secure your place on an outstanding MBA program is to attend a QS World MBA Tour event in your city: you can find an upcoming event schedule at:

You’ll get the chance to meet admission directors from some of these top programs, network with fellow MBA hopefuls, and discover what the degree can do for you.

If your appetite for the world’s most remunerative study program has been whetted by this data, but you’re still disheartened by the prospect of finding the funding necessary to undergo your dream course of study – then continue onto part two of our authoritative MBA guide to discover 5 financing options for your MBA.

This article is part of CrystalConnect, an outreach initiative by MBA Crystal Ball.


Also read:
What is the RoI of an MBA from USA?
Value of Indian MBA abroad

And for an outlook during the uniquely challenging Covid pandemic times – MBA during COVID pandemic

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6 thoughts on “The Long-Term Value of an MBA”

  1. Hi Sameer,

    I have completed my MBA in 2012 and working as Business Development Manager in an US staffing company for 7 Years. Now am planning to upgrade me career. Can you pls guide to choose any higher education or Certifications

  2. Hi Sameer,

    I Have 3+Years of Exp in Software Development, Now my life partner is moving to US with H1b visa, so what is the best choice for me by holding h4 visa, will I find a new line of work or do I have to do MS .

  3. hello ! I am a student of mumbai university ! I have completed my three years bachelor in science degree . Am I eligible to be admitted for the master in science program in canada?

  4. @Breme: Assuming you’re looking for part-time certifications Here’s a list of online certifications offered by the top universities:

    @Anitha: Things are getting trickier for H4 visa holders. Many dependents are choosing to become independent professionals by going for an MS or MBA and then getting an OPT + H1B.

    @Anushka: Here are some programs you can consider in Canada that accept 3-year bachelors degree:

    @Akshay: Yes, work experience is necessary for all the good MBA programs.

    @Mansi: We’ve written about integrated programs here:


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