30 March 2014

An MBA Holds its Perceived Value, Even in Lean Times

Just as the Great Recession sent investors retreating to value positions in the stock market, it also heightened questions for anyone investing in higher education. In general, concerns with high tuitions, student debt loads, and student outcomes are fueling debates about whether the returns are attractive. The value of a higher degree can seem even more dubious when the timing of it lands a graduating student directly into a tight labor market.
Such markets, the thinking goes, suppress wages for new hires and favor those with more work experience – suggesting that new graduates might have been better off to skip graduate school and spend that time instead establishing more of a toehold in the world of work. For students graduating in recessionary times, even those lucky enough to find jobs start behind in salary and consequently never enjoy as much value from their degrees as those graduating in more flush times.
The “value meter” holds steady for alumni in every form of return we asked about: financial, personal, and professional. As they rate the value of their graduate business degrees, there simply aren’t meaningful differences between those alumni who graduated in recessions and those who didn’t:

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