We summarized key results of the recently published 2012 GMAC Corporate Recruiters’ Survey, but the report presents a lot of data, and I am returning to it today.
Fortunately most of the news is good, especially if you’re not looking for a job in Europe, where demand is flat. Globally, recruiters expect to hire more MBAs and holders of Masters in Accounting (MAcc), and Masters in Management (MiM) degrees. The Asia-Pacific region is the most active.
The cloud in this generally sunny picture? Average starting salaries have been flat since 2008. And as Businessweek’s Louis Lavelle points out in his post on PayScale’s report on MBA ROI for BW’s top 57 programs, tuitions are inexorably rising so the no-brainer ROI that MBAs traditionally enjoyed isn’t as high as it used to be. It correlates well to b-school rank and is of course heavily influenced by the career the MBAs pursue after graduation as well as their incoming salaries.
Focusing on the reduced ROI when compared to the ROI of X years ago is foolish for applicants. You can’t choose to turn back the clock to a time when ROI was higher. GMAC and PayScale data as well as that from other sources shows that the MBA is usually profitable.
Clearly, however there is a smaller margin for error. The MBA is a major investment. You can and should carefully choose the best program for you to ensure the highest return on your MBA asset at this point in time. Define your goals. Consider different options, including one-year MBA alternatives, part-time programs, and specialized degrees. Weigh the costs and examine opportunities in your target industry, function, and location.
“Should’ve” and “could’ve” will not help your analysis. The critical question is “What can I do with an MBA that I can’t do without it?” Look at your anticipated income and career path with and without an MBA. Compare, and then decide if the MBA is likely to pay for you in the future both in terms of coldly calculated ROI and in terms of warm and fuzzy, but equally important, personal satisfaction.
The higher average ROI of five or ten years ago is irrelevant to your decision making process. A careful analysis of your options today and their likely results will lead to a smart decision.
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.