The job market sucks. Career fields that have historically been great for salary and prestige, like medicine, law, and engineering, have become saturated markets for job seekers. Millennials, despite being the most highly educated generation in history, face an unprecedented amount of debt and poor job prospects after they earn their degrees. It may seem that going after a graduate degree is pointless, but have you considered an MBA degree? Business is a gamble, but so is any career in today’s economy. A graduate degree in Business Administration could be just the ticket.
The old ways of doing things are exactly that... old. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, of Tesla and Phil Knight, of Nike—who both hold MBAs—are only the first in what’s sure to be a long line of innovators to change the way we interact with the world. An education in business administration provides the solid concepts of business that allow for the creative risks of innovative enterprise.
While specialized business degrees are great for seekers who have a particular interest within an established market, MBAs provide a bird’s-eye-view of the concepts of business administration that can be taken to any company. Generalists who work hard can amass skills in upper management more easily than specialists, and they can get those skills in industries as diverse as public service and Silicon Valley.
MBA graduates are paid well. According to Poets & Quants, most of the top 25 highest paying business schools show MBA holders earning six digits in their early careers. Stanford Graduate School of Business graduates show an early career median pay of $128,700. While Harvard's early career median salary is $118,100, Harvard degrees gather value over time, topping the highest mid-career median salaries on the list at $204,800.
A Forbes survey of 17,000 MBA alumni puts Stanford GSB, UC Berkeley (Haas), and Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) at the top of its list of most satisfied MBA graduates. On a personal note, Eric Jackson, a tech and media investor and contributor to Forbes, lists "the chance to realize how little you understand about the world," "the chance to refocus yourself," and "the chance to make some lifelong friends who will accomplish great things over their careers in business" as a few underrated reasons to pursue an MBA.
It’s true, that Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates both dropped out of Harvard to start highly successful businesses—if you’re the next Zuckerberg, by all means, quit school and make it happen. For the rest of us, B-school for an MBA might what you need for career success and satisfaction.