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Thursday, October 30, 2008

ROI for an MBA






   Business school is an investment: an investment of time, resources and money. Some candidates who wish to pursue an MBA programme, will look into the costs of the course and dismiss it out of hand, shocked at both the financial and personal costs they are likely to incur. Others will realise the potential benefits of this prestigious international business qualification and understand that with decades of working life ahead of them, the benefits of moving careers, an increasing salary and the potential of international networks over the next 40 years, an MBA will be one of the most valuable investments they can make. 
   Despite the value of such an investment, the initial costs of an MBA are expensive, particularly for Indian students. Having a rough idea of how long it will take to regain the money spent on your programme — known as Return on Investment (ROI) — can be reassuring. 
   Tools like QS Search and Scorecard ( ) provide customised results pertaining to your particular situation. 
   For example, an Indian MBA candidate wanting to study in the UK may find Lancaster, Oxford, and Ashridge will likely provide the best ROI. That is, 20 years following business school graduation, the percentage of the amount invested in tuition costs will be highest after attending one of these schools, as opposed to others.The results show the amount of time, according to the average salaries for graduates from those schools, to repay the investment they have made in paying for the course. It is not necessarily an indicator that salaries are extremely high after graduating from these schools,though they certainly can be,but ROI is one of the key priorities an aspiring MBA candidate should consider. 
   As an example, Scorecard can examine the ROI of three different schools offering different programmes — a twoyear programme at a top US school, a two-year programme at a less competitive school, and a one-year programme at a business school in the European Union (EU). 
   Harvard, Rutgers, and INSEAD will be used to demonstrate the above. The following results are based on a female with two years work experience and a pre-MBA salary of US$40,000, employed by a company with fewer than 5,000 employees. 
   Top US school, Harvard will require an investment of approximately US$147,000, yet the average graduate can expect about a 47% salary increase (this figure will vary depending on the graduate’s post-MBA occupation). Therefore, we can predict an approximate time period of seven years to ‘break even’,ie,to regain the cost invested in the MBA programme. 
   Attending Rutgers will cost the student approximately US$108,000 for the two-year programme. In comparison to Harvard graduates, the MBA graduate from this university can expect about a 69% increase in her salary, resulting in only a five year period to ‘break even’. 
   Graduates of the one-year MBA programme at INSEAD in France can expect approximately a 55% increase in their salary, post-MBA. As the tuition cost is US$90,000, we can conclude that it would take about four years to ‘break even’. Cranfield in the UK, yielded similar results. 
   Khrisan Singh, a graduate of Ashridge, relates, “I grew up with the concept that only the top five schools are the ones worth attending,and that if I didn’t gain acceptance to at least one of them, my dreams of becoming a well-paid, highly educated business professional would be shattered. Once I truly reviewed the facts, keeping in mind that my return on investment is of great importance, I learnt that the best investment doesn’t necessarily correlate to the best-known institution, and that the skills I would learn throughout my MBA aren’t only accessible at the most advertised schools.” 
   Indian MBA candidates travel worldwide in search of business schools that suit their personal and professional development. The 2008 QS TopMBA Applicants Survey, the world’s most comprehensive survey of those considering an MBA, reveals the US and UK as the two most popular study destinations for Indian students; 86% of Indian students pursue their MBA in the US, 56% head to the UK, and 38% choose Canada. Indian students also head to destinations such as: Singapore (32%), France (24%), Australia (23%), Switzerland (11%) and Spain (10%). Around 30% of students remain in India. 
But how do Indian students fund this investment? The majority of Indian students (39%) fund their MBAs from loans, followed by scholarships (36%). To estimate the true cost of completing an MBA, candidates need to take into consideration tuition fees, living, travel and book costs. Course fees have risen in recent years, but salaries and bonuses have also risen and the payback period has actually reduced slightly over the last five years. Nunzio Quacquarelli, managing director, QS and QS World MBA Tour, says salaries for graduate MBAs from top international programmes have increased significantly over the last two years, since 2006. “Average salaries for MBAs graduating from top US schools such as Tuck, Chicago, Wharton and Stanford averaged US$110,000 in 2007 compared to an average MBA starting salary of US$93,500 in the UK and Europe, and an Asian average of US$71,000.” 
“To calculate ‘true earnings’candidates should also take into account the ‘sign-on’ bonus offered by many MBA recruiters, and the potential to earn a further US$15,000 during a summer internship,” Quacquarelli says. 
Many factors will impact your ROI — from the economy to your post-MBA occupation to the country in which you wish to work after your studies. Programme content, alumni reviews, recruitment statistics, and location in terms of enjoying life outside of the classroom are a few of the many things to consider when choosing a business school. 
Ross Geraghty, Editor, Top MBA Career Guide, says,“There are many factors an MBA candidate has to consider. ROI is one of them, but the quality of the faculty, the companies that visit schools to headhunt MBA talent, and the location of the school are also important. 
“Traditional rankings like those produced by the Financial Times are static and don’t take into account the candidate’s personal choices or preferences. It’s true that seeing the same names repeatedly will reinforce a student’s opinions, but you also have to remember that those schools will be the most competitive and the hardest to get into. Look closely at the schools’ core content and faculty interests. That, combined with career services and ROI, may be the best guide for you,” adds Geraghty. 


Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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