In a weak economic climate, the return on investment of graduate school can seem uncertain. Conventional market wisdom suggests that the value of a degree wanes for those graduating during a recession. However, an article in the Harvard Business Review this week makes the case that the perceived value of an MBA in fact tends to survive downward trends in the economy.
The Graduate Management Admission Council’s 2014 survey of nearly 21,000 business school alumni shows that the self-reported overall value of an MBA for graduates in recession years was comparable to that for graduates in other years. Furthermore, alumni who graduated during a recession were actually slightly more likely to rate the financial value of their degree favorably: 79% of recession-era graduates rated their degree as “financially rewarding,” compared with 75% of alumni who graduated during non-recession years. The survey responses pointed to both financial and overall satisfaction among MBAs across the full spectrum of economic stability, suggesting “the skills, experience, and networks gained during business school yield returns regardless of the job market at graduation and may be even more valuable in a tight job market.”