Written by Shoshana Perez,ScholarshipOwl.com

A career in business can be worthwhile. From lucrative entry-level positions to chief executives, your earning potential can help pay back student debts more quickly, getting you on the road to financial success. A business degree can open the door to several career options, but pursuing a master’s degree can unlock even more opportunities.

With that degree, comes a significant increase in skill set, marketability, and salary potential. In fact, according to Forbes[1], most MBA graduates could earn 50 percent or more per year than those who only hold a BBA. Furthermore, the longer students wait to attend graduate school, the less likely they are to ever earn an MBA.

Generally, salaries are based on a combination of education, experience, the company and the position. So, what exactly are the potential earnings for business majors? Per data published by PayScale[2][3] on the average salary in 2017, we examined what affects the average incomes for those who hold a BBA versus an MBA.

Average Salary by Gender

Women with a BBA will bring in $36,320 – $74,653 a year. Meanwhile, their MBA counterparts have the potential of earning $43,991 – $98,835. Similarly, men with a BBA will average in $39,852 – $88,596 versus men with an MBA who will earn $52,195 – $123,825 a year. While the gender pay gaps are (very) slowly shrinking, it is clear that the level of education plays a huge factor in the median salary for business students.

Popular Cities to Work

The Big Apple is the top location for work. For BBA degrees, the average yearly income for a position in New York, NY is $42,180 – $97,092. The next most popular work destinations are Dallas, TX ($42,188 – $92,941), Houston, TX ($41,786 – $87,321), Chicago, IL ($40,896 – $86,868), and Atlanta, GA ($39,333 – $83,182).

Furthermore, if you have an MBA, the median salary in New York, NY is $56,808 – $139,613. Second, is Boston, MA ($59,703 – $133,108), followed by Chicago, IL ($52,468 – $124,106), Houston, TX ($52,114 – $119,548) and Atlanta, GA ($50,247 – $118,709).

Popular Companies and Their Salaries

The top companies for business students include International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., The Boeing Company, and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMCC). What makes these companies attractive are the earning potentials. IBM Corp. tops the list offering a median salary of $68,218 – $142,604 for MBA, and $47,762 – $118,477 for BBA. The Boeing Company provides MBA degrees with $62,732 – $130,624 compared to $51,199 – $94,890 for BBA, and JPMCC $50,747 – $121,536 (MBA) and $45,413 – $93,822 (BBA).

Other attractive companies for BBA degrees is Bank of America Corp. with an average salary of $39,909 – $93,757 and Ernst & Young with a $50,584 – $90,906 yearly income. Meanwhile, MBA degrees are offered lucrative salaries at General Electric and Amazon.com Inc. with median yearly income of $64,596 – $126,777 and $66,181 – $130,302, respectively.

Average Salary by Job

The breakdown of BBA degrees shows that the top spot is a position as a Financial Controller with a yearly income of $80,240. Next, is a Senior Accountant ($63,618), Operations Manager ($63,286), Human Resources (HR) Manager ($62,813), Financial Analyst ($56,283), Accountant ($49,219) and Staff Accountant ($47,129).

In parallel, the top jobs for MBA degrees is a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) ($144,145) followed by a Marketing Director ($112,106). Then come positions as a Senior Financial Analyst, a Marketing Manager, and an Operations Manager with an income of $78,771, $76,525, and $75,089, respectively. Finally, an HR Manager earns $68,115 while a Financial Analyst bring in $61,931.


Another factor that can impact salaries regardless of which degree is earned is the prestige of the school you graduate from. For example, a person that graduates with a bachelor’s degree from MIT will more often than not succeed in the job market over a person with a master’s from a lesser-known school.

However, one huge downside of attending graduate school is the cost. The price tag of a top MBA program is well over $100,000 for two years. Meanwhile, the average cost of an undergraduate is between $20,000 to $30,000[4] per year. Thankfully, there are many financial aid opportunities that can help cover the bill. Scholarships and grants play a key factor in alleviating the heavy cost of tuition.

A great tool to help save students time and energy are scholarship matching websites. Engines, such as ScholarshipOwl, help find scholarships that match a student’s skills, activities, interests, background, financial situation, and more. ScholarshipOwl finds hundreds of scholarships you qualify for, and makes applying to them easier. Save time, win scholarships. Sign up for a free trial today at www.ScholarshipOwl.com.




[4] https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/college-costs/college-costs-faqs