Is an MBA Worth It in 2024?

I’m Jonny, media and communications manager (upgrade!) at Career Protocol. It’s just us now – those worn our Round 2 candidates from last year are no longer here to douse any and all good vibes (hopefully they’re off celebrating somewhere else) – which means the Bulletin can stick to the real stuff: how to choose an MBA that’ll get you where you need to go to make an impact.

I’m writing this month’s Bulletin in a café, so imagine this post smelling vaguely of cinnamon.

Let’s get right to it then!

Here’s a summary of the MBA Bulletin this month:

🧠 MBA Rankings Fresh From the Oven

🧠 Is an MBA Worth it in 2024?

🧠 The End of US Business School Dominance?

🧠 A Fanfare for Johnson at Cornell

🧠  Is the Harvard MBA Application Changing?

🧠 MBA News Round-up

We’re going off the barely-beaten track with this one: since I moaned in last month’s bulletin that some schools were still dragging their feet with releasing data for us to adequately compare them, The Financial Times has released its 2024 MBA rankings.

The usual cautions hold: rankings are fickle, not as important as you think and obscure what is unique about each program.

Even more caution with international rankings: business schools function slightly differently in different geographies, so there will be a certain amount of comparing apples to oranges here.

However, we’re going to consider a few different aspects of the rankings throughout this month’s bulletin:

  • As a global ranking, it allows analysis of international trends
  • It ranks international mobility
  • It ranks salary percentage increase and value for money

In short, MBA applicants can use the ranking to cut out a huge amount of research, and I just think that’s neat.

Keep on rocking in the free world,
Jonny ☕

MBA ROI: Is an MBA Worth It?

We went through the nitty gritty about MBA salaries and costs last week, but to stick with hard numbers for a moment, organising The Financial Times’ ranking by salary increase returns interesting results:

  • Business Schools in India and China top the rankings, with the Indian School of Business increasing its students’ salaries by 229%!
  • Oft-overlooked US programs like Cornell Johnson, Georgia Terry and Michigan Broad offer their students massive 150%+ increases.
  • MIT Sloan rules the M7 with an 130% increase.

So, how to read this? At a glance, if your pre-MBA salary is already high, it’s a tall order to increase it by anywhere close to 200%. A “mere” 20% would already be substantial and, paired with an accelerated post-MBA career trajectory, exceeds those MBA costs in no time.

However, the rankings should be great reading for non-traditional candidates, those applying outside of the top 10 and anyone coming to business school with a 5-figure salary. As we discussed last week, alumni of good business schools outside the top 10 still do very well for themselves, which means attending a school like Broad at Michigan State can be a massive boost to your career even if the school is ranked just outside the top 50!

For more from the Financial Times rankings, scroll over to the value for money rank!

Here's some more MBA myths we’ve debunked on the blog!

Is it Joever for US Business Schools?

With the Financial Times ranking three European schools in the top five global business schools, could this be the end of US MBA dominance?

This is a perfect moment to undercut the question and focus on our advice to any would-be MBA applicant choosing between schools in radically different places (with different cultures, expectations, languages and work environments):

Picture this: you like the look of Bocconi in Italy but you also like Columbia in the US.

Where do you want to work? If it’s near the Italy or the US, your choice should already be made. If it’s near neither, check out the business schools with close links to that area.

This also functions within the US. Business schools have the strongest connection to local networks and industry – if you want to work on the west coast, you might be at a disadvantage when you graduate from an east coast school.

But, pay attention to the Financial Times ranking for international mobility, which ranks the proportion of students working in another country three years after graduation. It’s not surprising to see European schools top the list as it’s possible to leave your apartment, turn right, walk for a bit and find yourself in a different country by mistake, but notice schools like Haas, MIT Sloan and Rotman not far behind. Useful info for the geographically ambivalent.

Fanfare for Johnson at Cornell

Fresh in the FT top 10 is Cornell at #9! This is worth mentioning for two reasons. One, our Chief International Officer Charli used to work in the adcom there and has been cheerleading the program for years. But much, much more importantly, I recently forced her to make a video for us for our YouTube channel on the things that make Johnson at Cornell so special.

Watch it here!

You’ll see we flagged the formidable alumni network first – more proof, if any were needed, of our omniscience in all things business school.

Is the Harvard MBA Application Changing?

Accompanying our video here, Harvard is making some serious changes to its application essays. New 2+2 candidates are no longer asked to answer “What more do you want us to know?” (which, for the record, is our absolute favorite MBA essay question), but a series of questions more closely related to HBS’s core values. More information on exactly how to answer these new questions in the video!

Is this the beginning of the end for what we think is the best MBA application essay? Perhaps. This year’s regular application essay is yet to be confirmed so we’re in the dark for now, but with a new dean of admission it seems quite likely that Harvard Business School will be entering a new era for its applicants. After all, why change the application essays for some candidates but not all of them?

Whatever it ends up being, we’ll be here with all the resources you need to write a great answer.

Here’s our advice for the current question!

MBA News Round-Up

This is a great time to subscribe to our YouTube channel for free MBA application advice straight to your feed every week!

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Jonny Hunter

Media Manager

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