Business Management Consulting Degree Comparison: Should you go after your MBA?

Business Management

Here are some statistics that are easy for any business major to understand, even one without an extensive background in finance or accounting:

• The starting base salary for a business management consultant with a bachelor’s degree: $50,000 to $60,000 a year.

• The average base the first year after earning an MBA: $110,000 to $140,000.

The gap between the two sets of numbers, both compiled by Management Consulted, grows even larger when perks such as signing and year-end bonuses are included. All told, a first-year consultant with a bachelor’s can bring in $70,000 to $75,000. That’s hardly chump change, but it is considerably below the $160,000 to $200,000 take for a business/MBA degree.

The MBA pay bump is nothing new, and it’s long been a reason that many professionals head to graduate school after a few years in their field. However, the average gap between starting pay for an MBA and a bachelor’s is $45,000 a year, according to Fortune magazine. The difference a master’s makes in business management consulting careers is even more striking.

The difference in the degrees

A range of bachelor’s degrees in business gives graduates the tools they need to begin a career in consulting. An undergraduate diploma in business administration, with or without a specialization, provides the broad background essential in consulting work.

As with anything in the realm of business, though, eventually it will become necessary to grasp the inner workings on a deeper level. While it’s possible to develop that understanding through experience alone, many professionals find that formal education hastens the process.

Undergraduates, for example, take statistics courses that teach the basics of applying analysis to business decisions. Master’s students, on the other hand, learn how to use advanced statistical analysis to solve problems and address situations.

Refining career goals

Though consultants often are hired as generalists who examine structure, management, and operations, there’s also a rise of specialists. These consultants hone in on one area of the company, such as marketing, human resources, or information systems.

Earning an MBA with one of these specializations gives graduates both the overview they need to make recommendations that make good overall business sense as well as knowledge in a niche that can be highly marketable.

For any business professional, there are many great reasons to earn a master’s degree. For management consultants, though, the financial difference alone provides an even greater incentive to go back to school. The data show that the investment in the advanced degree can pay off almost immediately as well as over the course of the career.

Written by Ashford University staff

For more information about on-time completion rates, the median loan debt of students who completed each program, and other important information, please visit Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.

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