Is an MBA Worth the Time and Expense?

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Debate about the value of an MBA is nothing new, with some arguing that the degree has run its course, while others note that it still remains a powerful way to advance into managerial work at large organizations around the world. Luckily for prospective MBA applicants, this degree does remain a powerful force for workplace advancement. Surveys by the Graduate Management Admissions Council also show high levels of workplace satisfaction, higher levels of compensation, and near-immediate workplace advancement, upon completing an accredited program. So, how do applicants ensure that they’re getting the most value of this longstanding graduate program for aspiring corporate managers?

First, Get a Decent Amount of Applicable Work Experience

The MBA is not a degree for students who haven’t gained at least a little managerial experience since they finished their undergraduate degree in a related field. Unlike the highly theoretical undergraduate business degrees that most students receive, an MBA is a broad group of classes and competencies that focus on a student’s applicable skills or past experiences. An MBA will be valuable for those enrollees who already work in a supervisory capacity, since they’ll be able to do their jobs better, leverage their experience for promotions after they finish the degree, and cite real experiences in classroom discussions.

It’s also worth noting that MBA recruiters at most colleges are looking to recruit graduates who bring valuable experience with them to their new position. A graduate with no work experience typically isn’t as attractive to recruiters, many of whom prefer candidates who can “hit the ground running” as quickly as possible.

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Choose an MBA Accredited by the AACSB

The AACSB, or Association to Advance Collegiate School of Business, is the largest and most prestigious accrediting body for undergraduate and graduate business degrees. This accreditation makes an MBA worth the time and expense required to complete the program for several reasons. First and foremost, AACSB accreditation is typically held only by the best business schools around the world, and this prestige bodes well for job placement after graduation. Second, AACSB accreditation qualifies graduates to enter into adjunct teaching roles if they wish to work in academia in the future. Third, this accreditation is sometimes a requirement of employer reimbursement programs that cover the cost of attendance for many existing managers.

Pick the Right Degree Format

The time and expense of an MBA program depends on how students plan to pursue the degree. Full-time enrollment will generally require enrollees to leave their job or significantly reduce their work availability, leading to a double whammy of high tuition costs and reduced income. Part-time programs will require evening class attendance and commutes to campus, which might work better for some students. Online programs will remove the networking aspect of the degree in many ways, but they offer the best combination of flexibility and affordability. Aspiring MBA candidates need to make sure that they pick the right program and format for their unique needs. Otherwise, they could find themselves spending too much time or money on the degree and not enough time on honing their managerial skills in the workplace.

Set Clear Goals

If you’re submitting your MBA application packet, set clear goals and realistic expectations first. Think about saving your time, effort and money before starting.


If you want to save money, beat the wide disparity in the cost of an MBA degree. Choose affordable online executive MBA programs. This is important as MBA degrees are more expensive than your average masters degree cost. They are ideal for working professionals who want to advance their careers. An Executive MBA student spends less and finishes faster than a traditional MBA student.

For comparison, students at elite universities like Harvard University and the University of Chicago pay upwards of $200,000. Public universities like Missouri State University, University of Southern Indiana, and West Texas A&M University charge less than $16,000 in their MBA programs.

If you’re worried about assessment exams for entry into an MBA, we have a ranking of great online MBA programs, no GMAT required. Instead of standardized test scores, MBA programs usually require work experience, glowing recommendations, and a compelling personal statement.

If values matter to you, choose MBA programs that uphold the right principles. You can select an Christian MBA school. You can also choose an MBA that values diversity.

If you want to earn your MBA quickly, enroll in the accelerated MBA format. These are usually 12 month online MBA programs with compressed courses. If you have the time for it, you can enroll in the standard 24-month MBA program.

Always choose an MBA with your career goals, academic objectives and expected return on investment in mind.

Use the Resources Available to You

Pay attention to the reputation of the MBA program. Programs that top every online MBA ranking offer excellent degree outcomes and uphold the right values. Their students also enjoy excellent support and career development services.

Here’s how to make the most out of the resources in your MBA program:

  • Network with people you meet in the MBA program. Connect with your peers, professors and alumni. Strengthen your professional relationships with them.
  • Attend networking events. Virtual networking has its merits but in-person meet-ups are even better.
  • Participate in projects and practicum experiences. These activities allow you to apply your MBA knowledge in real-world settings.
  • Develop your soft skills. Soft skills are valuable to your workplace! Learn to communicate, collaborate, and think critically.
  • Gain a global perspective. Engage with multicultural groups. Study-abroad and international immersions are great opportunities.

With these steps, you will gain a wider network, a stronger skill set, and a broader perspective of business. Now, that’s truly milking your MBA degree for all its worth!

An MBA is Worth it in a Large Majority of Cases

The Master of Business Administration degree may be more prolific now than ever, but it shows no signs of decreasing in overall value. Thanks to prestigious accreditation, employer reimbursement, and a large variety of course formats, the value of an MBA can be adjusted to meet the unique needs of every prospective student who could benefit from enrollment.