Is a Low-Cost MBA Worth the Investment for Professionals

The MBA, which stands for Masters of Business Administration, is a professional degree.

It’s also a terminal degree, which means that it’s the highest achievable degree in business administration.

First introduced by Harvard Business School (then called Harvard University Graduate School of Administration) in 1908, it typically consists of courses such as:

  • Accounting
  • Business ethics
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Organizational behavior

It takes an MBA one to two years to complete.

The average cost of an MBA these days is $71,880.

Some expensive ones, however, can go past the $100,000 mark — the cost of attendance for an MBA program at Harvard Business School, for instance, is $115,638 per year!

Cost-effective MBAs exist, too, for graduate students on a budget.

An MBA from Brigham Young University costs only $17,470 per semester for New York residents and $27,590 per semester for out-of-state and international students.

So, is a cheap MBA worth it?

There is no black-and-white answer as to whether or not a cheap MBA is worth your time. It depends on your career goal as well as the quality of the program and which graduate school confers it.

A costly MBA from a renowned university may leave you in a lot of debt, alright.

However, it may open doors to various lucrative employment opportunities and better earning potentials — Fortune says that an MBA from a prestigious institution can make your application stand out.

Still, a less expensive MBA won’t necessarily keep you from getting a job at your dream company.

Ensure that the cheap MBA program you enroll in is accredited.

MBA and money

Benefits an MBA Brings

An MBA is higher than an undergraduate degree

It goes without saying that it comes with better perks than an associate and, even more so, a bachelor’s degree.

But why are MBAs so expensive is the complaining question of those who wish to further their education.

MBAs cost so much because graduate schools conferring them spend lots of money on hiring expert faculty members, providing learning resources, and integrating consulting projects and study-abroad trips into the program.

However, the exorbitant you pay for an MBA has a big payoff.

Increased Earning Potential

According to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business of William & Mary, MBA holders can enjoy a jump in annual salary by as high as $20,000 on average than non-MBA holders.

Meanwhile, another source says that post-MBA pay is usually 50% higher than pre-MBA pay.

Improved Professional Skills

An MBA program improves one’s theoretical and practical knowledge of how businesses run.

Obtaining one also means having an array of soft skills such as leadership, communication, and teamwork, all of which are essential components to reaping success in the realm of business.

Enhanced Job Security

The Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa says an MBA can future-proof your career, giving you peace of mind despite constant possibilities of downsizing, budget cutting, and laying off employees.

It adds that the knowledge and skills that come with an MBA give job security within the company and industry.

Multiplied Career Opportunities

Having an MBA increases not only the quantity but also the quality of employment opportunities.

As a matter of fact, the University of Pennsylvania says more than 98% of graduates of the Wharton School with an MBA enjoy full-time job offers in business, sales, and marketing.

thinking about MBA

Affordable MBA Programs and Alternatives

Is an MBA worth it?

Based on earlier mentioned perks, an MBA is definitely worth it!

According to Money, the average student loan an MBA graduate with borrowed money is $75,000, but it’s worth pointing out that your MBA can pay off in as quickly as a little over three years.

An MBA requires both time and money to earn.

Great news: Not all MBA programs are costly, which makes business school worth it and feasible for many.

Online MBAs

Provided that an online MBA program is accredited and offered by a legit institution, there’s no need to fret.

Charging students per credit, an MBA degree is an affordable alternative to traditional MBAs, especially for graduate school students with many commitments to balance.

US News says that these are some of the most affordable MBA programs from ranked online schools:

InstitutionTotal Cost
University of Texas Permian Basin$8,246
Fitchburg State University$8,250
University of North Georgia$9,696
Eastern University$9,900
Lamar University$9,930
Northeastern State University$10,035
Sam Houston State University$11,529
Missouri State University$11,832
Oklahoma State University$12,012
Florida Gulf Coast University$12,342


Sometimes referred to as a micro-MBA or MBA certificate, a mini MBA is a condensed version of a full-fledged MBA program, focusing more on the fundamentals of business development and management.

Like an MBA, a mini-MBA requires you to have a bachelor’s degree to be eligible to enroll.

You can specialize in various areas, including:

  • Accounting
  • Business management
  • Digital marketing
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Human resource management

Believe it or not, you can complete a mini-MBA in just one week — lengthier mini-MBA programs can be anywhere from four to 12 weeks long, usually spread into 40-hour lessons.

A mini-MBA can cost from $2,000 to $5,000, but some can be as much as around $10,000.

Executive Education Program

Unlike an MBA, executive education is a non-degree credential.

Many business schools offer it, although some elite and mid-sized universities offer it, too.

Not everyone can enroll in an executive education program — you must be a working professional with a certain number of years of experience, depending on the eligibility requirement of the school of your choosing.

Here are some of the reasons for executive education:

  • Upgrading and updating knowledge
  • Upskilling to get a promotion
  • Moving into senior roles
  • Gaining knowledge vital for switching industries
  • Expanding employment opportunities
  • Starting a business
  • Improving business acumen and strategy
  • Enhancing leadership skills

An executive education program is a few days long, although some may require one year to complete.

It can cost as low as $3,500.

Read Next: Is Business Administration a Good Degree?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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