A once noticeable gap between the salaries of American and international graduates at US business schools has “completely closed,” according to the head of Dartmouth College’s MBA program.
Paul Danos, dean of the Tuck School of Business (ranked #2 worldwide in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s most recent rankings), told China Economic Review during a recent visit to Shanghai that international students receiving MBAs at elite programs in the US – a group that includes more mainland Chinese than ever before – are earning every bit as much as their American classmates upon graduation from their programs.
According to Danos, who is also an author of the BizDeans Talk site, this leveling of the playing field has only occurred over the last three or so years. Before that, he said, “international students couldn’t get scholarships, they couldn’t get loans – except on their own – and the jobs were very different … [but] in the last few years, international students have been making exactly the same salaries as the Americans.
“That’s an indication of globalization at the highest level, because the American students are some of the highest-paid in the world.”
Apprehensions from abroad about the towering costs of US business schools are being offset by these increased returns after graduation, he said. “There’s the sticker shock when you see the cost, but then there’s the realization that, ‘man, I’m making $150,000 a year, I can pay off that loan.’”
The rewards for internationals are not just equivalent to American students’. Taking into account the difference in salary before coming into and after finishing an MBA program, the average international student – who earns roughly half what his US counterpart makes before the course – reaps a greater return on investment (ROI). The average Indian or Chinese student would “maybe make five times as much” what he earned before enrolling, said Danos.
“And that’s only part of it,” he continued. It’s also the “psychic opportunity” to dramatically boost earning potential that is making a big difference. Pursuing an elite-level US MBA “is quite a solid change agent in the world right now for a 28-year-old wanting to get into global business, out of almost any occupation.”
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