Is It Worth Getting an MBA From a Lower Tier School?

Is It Worth Getting an MBA From a Lower Tier School?

An MBA degree’s value is affected by a number of factors but is it worth getting an MBA when it’s a lower tier school. In some professions, like investment banking, a MBA is considered a necessity for career advancement. However, pundits argue that an MBA is an expensive vanity degree for those who already have an established career. The ROI of an MBA will depend on your unique situation.

getting an mba from a low tier school

With advanced education becoming more of a necessity, rather than a luxury, in the modern job market, second and third tier schools have been quick to jump on the MBA bandwagon; however, not all business schools are created equal. Is it worth your money and time to consider a lower caliber school?

The Cost Factor

Many candidates base their decision to pursue an MBA solely on how the degree can potentially impact their future earnings. Indeed, having an MBA after your name can have a significant impact on your salary. In 2015, the Graduate Management Admission Council conducted a study which found that the expected median starting salary for recent MBA graduates in the U.S. will be $100,000 in 2016 – a 5% rise over new hires in 2015.

However, dollar signs can blind a student to the true cost of an MBA. There is the opportunity cost of leaving the workforce that must be taken into account and how this will affect the financial stability of your family. Furthermore, an increasing number of lower tier schools are raising the price of their tuition. Whereas top tier schools once reigned supreme for six figure tuition costs, it is becoming increasingly common for B-level schools to have similar numbers.

Remember, any loans that you take out to finance your education will need to be repaid – with interest. In general, lower tier schools are simply not going to be able to provide the same in terms of professional networking, skills development, and name recognition that a top tier school could.


As aforementioned, salary data suggests that most MBA graduates from the top 50 MBA programs in the United States reap a fairly large return on their investment when compared to peers who have not earned an MBA. However, it is critical to be aware that there is a significant difference in income potential between lower and upper ranked schools.

If you believe that having an MBA is a necessary step to reach the next level in the hierarchy, search for local business colleges with strong ties to your community or industry. One of the major advantages of getting your MBA is the benefit of networking so take advantage of that.

If money is your main priority, and you are not gunning for the most prestigious programs, you must honestly ask yourself if the opportunity and tuition costs are worth the advancement potential when it comes to your professional goals.

Did getting an MBA pay off for you or was it a waste of your money? Share with the Young and Finance community in the comments.