SAN DIEGO — A study reveals that graduate students can demand up to $78,000 in starting salaries compared with undergraduates earning barely half.
According to Beta Research, students pursuing a masters of business administration degree with an emphasis in technology can expect these top-notch dollars. The survey, which discovered this dramatic fiscal gap, was conducted in New York by 450 hiring managers.
San Diego State University’s business students earn between $28,740 and $65,000 with a bachelor’s degree in a traditional field such as accounting and finance, according to the Career Services Web site.
Information and decision systems professor Jim Lackritz said big areas in the job market include managing a company’s information center, networking, dealing with security issues and consulting.
“I have a good idea about starting salaries in the tech and non-tech areas,” Accenture consultant and SDSU alumni John Nemeth said. “In my experience, an IDS graduate may command around $50,000. In this current economic market, I would be surprised to hear of someone receiving $78,000 for a starting salary who graduated from SDSU.”
Though it seems to be expected for graduates of Harvard University and Stanford University to earn such big bucks, it is important to note that these schools merely open doors and create expectations, Lackritz said.
The degree is primarily used to get the first interview, but skills are what matter most. Knowledge and problem-solving skills are acquired and refined in the MBA program and are used in the workforce as opposed to the degree’s reputation or prestige; Nemeth’s SDSU MBA, for example, places him in the $70,000-$90,000 income bracket.
Some may wonder why more money lies in the technology fields. The answer is supply and demand.
Since technology is here to stay and continues to grow in use and sophistication, there will always be a need for technology and thus a need for a tech workforce, Lackritz said.
“If companies could pay the same amount of money for tech managers as journalists (for example), they would, but for that money, they can’t get the job done right and in technology, the inability to have the system work at capacity is a huge loss for a company,” he said.
Most full-time students attain their MBA within two years — on top of the average six years it takes a student to complete a bachelor’s degree. By investing these additional years, an MBA can provide substantial long-term benefits, Interim MBA Program Coordinator Kristin Barron said.
“I will pursue an MBA, because despite the year or two of school, I know in the long run the extra time will be worth the extra salary,” management junior Matt Goss said.
MBAs offer people a wealth of business knowledge that make them valuable and worthwhile to virtually anyone who is seeking prestige, monetary gain or career advancement, Barron said. In Spring 2002, a total of 752 students enrolled in the MBA and Master of Science Business Administration.
“People need a competitive edge especially in a slower economy,” she said. “The MBA is designed to provide students with fundamental business skills and will usually afford students with the opportunity to pursue a successful career that they will enjoy.”
This story first appeared in The New York Times.