Business School Investment Analysis

Your decision to pursue an MBA should be considered largely as an investment opportunity with a clearly calculated return on investment, or ROI. Most people do not look at the MBA as the further pursuit of a hobby and the 2 years of business school boot camp that you will experience should be undertaken with an end goal in mind. We are not trying to say that you will not have any fun in business school, but it is a lot of hard work and you will experience the pressures of juggling recruiting, class and case assignments, and networking. Even if you do land your dream job during your second year, you are still likely to experience at least a little burnout before the whole experience is over.

To make this investment decision, you should quantify the following variables:


  • Current salary
  • Expected salary after graduation
  • Summer internship salary
  • Tuition, fees, and books
  • Room and board
  • Discount rate

You will be losing roughly two years of salary during your business school tenure and you will want to be able to recoup this after graduating with your MBA. You should also ideally use a discount rate to account for the time value of the salary lost and the additional discounting of your post MBA salary. The discount rate chosen will vary from applicant to applicant.


  • Desire for career change
  • Willingness to relocate
  • New friendships and networking opportunities
  • Prestige
  • Test yourself against top-notch future MBA leaders

It is very possible that you are making a large amount of money working on a trading desk for instance. You may want to make a career change so badly, however, to a field such as strategic consulting for instance, that you are more than willing to take a substantial pay cut to find more fulfilling work.

Your willingness to relocate can become a very significant factor if you have a spouse with a say in your decision to return to school for an MBA.

Click here to see our MBA salaries table which details what the average student earns before attending business school as compared to after graduation.