These majors have the highest “return on investment” – with graduates earning up to $ 165,000 annually

College students, listen: Business degrees are the most popular undergraduate and graduate students in the United States, but do they pay off?

A new report from Georgetown University’s Center for Education and Workforce looked at the return on investment (ROI) of 5,500 corporate programs in more than 1,700 colleges.

It found that the value of business programs is high compared to most other programs, although not as high as the returns associated with health, engineering and computer science and information science programs.

Looking at student earnings relative to their federal student debt, the authors found that while there is some variation between institutions and graduate levels, most corporate programs lead to median earnings that are around 10 times the payments. debt of graduates, two years after graduation.

“Strong financial returns are good news for the more than 700,000 graduates each year pursuing the most popular field of study for undergraduate and masters degree holders,” said Anthony Carnevale, lead author of the report and director of the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.

“This information will help prospective students and their families assess the value of various business programs,” he added.

In some schools, the ROI is high: A master’s degree who attended the University of Pennsylvania would earn $ 165,600, after debt payment, followed by Dartmouth College ($ 162,000), Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($ 159,600), Columbia University in New York City ($ 157,200), Stanford University ($ 156,000) and the University of Chicago ($ 148,800).

An MBA graduate from the University of Pennsylvania earns $ 165,600 after debt payment, two years after graduation.

(PHOTO: Getty Images / iStockphoto)

What do majors do after graduation? About 12% of business majors between the ages of 22 and 27 become accountants and auditors, which leads them to an average earnings of $ 57,000.

Some become financial and investment analysts and sales agents for securities, commodities and financial services. Graduates in those roles earned $ 71,000 annually. Management analyst roles are also an option for corporate majors. In this role, they earned $ 67,000.

Type of degree matters: Two years after graduation, the holder of a business degree earned an average annual salary of $ 30,000 after debt payment, according to available data. Two years after graduation, however, a business graduate earned $ 43,200 after paying off the debt; a master’s holder earned $ 51,600.

Related: The “best job in America” ​​pays up to $ 125,000 a year and has 10,000 job opportunities

“Earnings and debt at the graduate, institute or program level only tell one side of the story,” said Emma Wenzinger, co-author of the report and strategic communications specialist at CEW in Georgetown. “In a specific corporate program at a particular institution, students can earn much more – or less – than the typical earnings of that institution or program.”

In the end, men still have the upper hand in terms of salaries, two years out of college.

According to the report, although women make up about half of the student population, they earn even less. About 47% of college graduates between the ages of 22 and 27 are women and have earned a median of $ 44,600 annually. Men on the other hand earned an average of $ 50,500 per year.

At the masters level, the gap widens: 43% of business masters holders are women and earn $ 75,600 annually at the median. The men earned $ 99,000.

For those with a masters degree in economics, Asian workers have the highest average annual income ($ 100,000), followed by whites ($ 92,000), Hispanics ($ 77,700) and blacks ($ 65,000), the report adds.

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