Can an MBA Improve Your Career?

~ By Brian Jenkins, Work Coach Cafe Contributor ~

Many visitors to Work Coach Cafe have been asking for advice on how to improve their career. If your career is stagnant, an MBA may provide a path to the next level. Plenty of people have discovered an MBA is worth the effort.

MBAs and Salaries

Because I’m a higher education and career writer, I read a lot of career based reports – according to a recent survey of 2010 MBA graduates the average salary increase over their pre-MBA pay was about 57 percent. One more thing about income – the average expected starting salary for recent MBA graduate hires is $89,141.

How Much does an MBA Cost?

You can take out a $95,000 loan and get a two-year MBA from a top business school (according to Businessweek) or pay just $6,750 for a solid name-brand MBA (according to The average cost of a regionally accredited online MBA degree is about $23,000. Find out if your company will pay for all or part of the cost – many do, especially large companies.

It may be tempting to take a one-year MBA program but understand there’s typically no time for an internship of the type which often leads to a job offer. How about taking a three-year, part-time MBA program and work full-time while going to school? Some of the part-time programs conveniently hold classes just on the weekends. Online MBA programs also make it easier to go to school and work full-time.

What Will You Learn?

You’ll learn about corporate finance, managerial and financial accounting, marketing strategies, leadership, operations management and much more. There’s also a variety of fields to specialize in. Take the time to learn which specializations are in demand.

Prestigious versus Non-Prestigious MBA

Unfortunately, getting an MBA from a prestigious school is sometimes more important than the quality of education. Does that make sense? The average MBA graduate only makes slightly more than half of what graduates from top programs do starting out (according to a PayScale survey).

For some employers, the brand name is huge. Has every “prestigious MBA program manager” been a highly effective, motivating boss? Probably not. You’ve probably worked for some great bosses that just had a bachelor’s degree or no degree at all. I know I have.

Why are prestigious MBAs highly coveted by some employers? Because they’re seen as the safest choice. The high ranking schools receive a huge amount of applications which allows them to be very selective.

If your credentials won’t get a standing ovation from a top MBA school, don’t be discouraged because the graduates of the top schools obviously can’t fill all the jobs and besides, some companies can’t afford to pay their high salary demands.

How About You?

If you’ve earned an MBA, what has been your experience? Has an MBA helped you reach your career expectations?

Has an MBA improved the career of any of your co-workers or friends? If you don’t think an MBA is worth your time and money how come?

Written by Brian Jenkins, Work Coach Cafe Contributor


  1. I recently graduated with an MBA and I am trying to figure out just how long, on average, it takes to land a job. I am employed right now but need to quickly make a return on my investment, which would take at least another year with the company I currently work for, in other words, not much opportunity.

    • Ericka, There is no fast rule on how quickly it takes to land a job. There are so many variables like location, career field and even the overall economy. Getting the MBA is a great way to jump start your career and get faster advancement. It should pay off nicely.

      – The Work Coach Cafe Team

  2. I am currently holding an EMBA , and I am out of work and I cannot find a career position. I am looking more so in the Richmond, Virginia area currently, however it seems to be tough without a certification. I did not go to a big brand named school but I did earn my EMBA, writing more and more theory.

    Any advice on which companies to look for unpopular MBA opportunities?

    • Todd,

      A degree from does not guarantee you will have lots of job offers no matter what school it’s from. Even with an MBA, there’s things like your background, experience and career dedication that employers will look at when reviewing candidates. Don’t feel because your MBA was not from the “best” school that you’re any different than anyone else. Do look at yourself and your attitude plus think about the companies you’re applying to and how they might be looking at candidates.

      Check out this Work Coach Cafe resource:
      How I Got My First Non-profit Job

      You can also try networking with friends via Facebook:

      Good Luck!
      – The Work Coach Cafe Team

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