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ROI results: What is the value of a business master’s in Europe?

By Chloe Lane

Updated May 12, 2022 Updated May 12, 2022

Sponsored by HEC Paris  

Return on investment (ROI) is a measure used to understand whether a new investment will have enough positive financial returns to justify the initial investment.  

The ROI of a business master’s degree might take into account tangible benefits, such as promotions and networking opportunities, as well as intangible benefits, such as new skills and knowledge learnt.  

Studying a business master’s programme can also lead to an impressive post-graduation salary. A master’s in management (MiM) from HEC Paris in France can increase a graduate’s average earnings by 81 percent compared to their pre-MiM salary, according to the Financial Times

TopUniversities spoke to one student and one alumnus of HEC Paris’ Master’s in Management programme, to find out how they personally measure the ROI of their degree and how their business master’s has helped them in their careers so far. 

Higher future salary expectations and career opportunities  

 HEC Paris students talking

Master’s in management graduates are highly sought after by graduate employers. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 54 percent of employers were looking to hire MIM graduates in 2021.  

HEC Paris MiM graduate Claire Van Peteghem has used her master’s to gain prestigious roles in some of the world’s leading companies. Since graduating, she has worked for Google as a Digital Marketing Strategist and has since moved to Waze products as an account manager. 

In her current role, among other things, Claire is responsible for managing a diverse portfolio of businesses, understanding and identifying opportunities for growth, managing risks and building quarterly plans for achievements. 

“I firmly believe that having a master’s degree in business is essential for further career development,” she said.  

Claire measures the return on investment on her business master’s through the career opportunities it has offered her, the salary she is currently earning and her future salary expectations, as well as the network of relationships she has built around the world.  

One of the major draws to a business master’s degree is the high starting salary after graduation. The median starting salary for master's in management graduates is currently around US$55,000 (approx. £40,620), according to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC) 2021 Corporate Recruiters’ Survey.  

However, this figure can be higher if you graduate from a top business school such as HEC Paris, whose MiM graduates earn an average starting salary of $114,360 (approx. £84,500), according to Financial Times data. Three years after graduation this salary can increase to around $120,860 (approx. £89,250). 

The salary potential for MiM graduates gives graduates a high return on their initial investment. The total cost of the master’s in management programme at a top business school such as HEC Paris is currently around €46,950 (approx. £39,180), meaning that on average, students will have earnt their tuition fees back after just one year. 

However, a high salary expectation isn’t the only advantage of completing a business master’s. 

“I chose the MiM programme as I wanted to have a good overview of all business courses before choosing a specialisation, to develop knowledge, expertise and skills valued on the job market,” said Claire.  

Professional and personal growth 

HEC Paris students friends

At HEC Paris Business School, the two-year master’s in management (MiM) programme is structured in two parts.  

The first year is focused on the broad field of business and management, with a mixture of core modules and elective modules. Students can then take a gap year where they can earn some professional experience. In the programme’s second year, students will specialise in one of 20 specialisations depending on their career aspirations. 

Eduard Martínez-Marí Vall is a second-year student at HEC Paris specialising in the finance major on the MiM programme.  

For Eduard, the return on investment of his business master’s is a combination of professional and personal growth. HEC Paris’ master’s in management helped Eduard decide on the career path he wanted to follow. 

“The program structure allowed me to build my own learning experience. During the gap year, I was able to learn from and try different industries to decide which career path I wanted to follow.” 

During his gap year, Eduard had the opportunity to join a Telco company in Spain and completed an internship at a top-tier consulting strategy firm. Eduard credits these experiences to HEC Paris, which holds regular recruiting events and fairs, allowing students to meet successful alumni and companies from a variety of industries.  

He said: “Studying at HEC Paris opened the door for me to the best professional opportunities.”  

“Across these varied experiences, I was able to put into practice everything that I had learned and also continue learning and deciding which career path I would like to pursue in the future.  

Since his gap year, Eduard has been offered a role at a prestigious consultancy firm.  

Eduard said: "The MiM degree allows you to access very varied work experience opportunities to really focus and design your career towards your own personal goals and aspirations with a clear focus on having positive impact on society, promoting values such as excellence, diversity and social responsibility.” 

Other non-financial benefits of a business master’s  

HEC Paris students talking

Aside from the tangible financial benefits of doing a business master’s, both Claire and Eduard have been able to build a strong network of contacts.  

“A business master’s degree is an incredible experience that allows you to connect with a very international and diverse group of students and also grow from a personal point of view, while building lifelong friendships,” said Eduard.  

Looking to the future, Claire hopes to become a CMO in digital marketing for an international company within a luxury brand office such as in Dubai or New York. She believes that the skills and relationships she has built in her business master’s will help her achieve this.  

“The programme helped develop my analytical mindset. It also improved my leadership and people management skills which I now use when managing a team,” she said. 

Eduard’s goal is to have a career that will make a positive impact on society. 

He said: “HEC and the master’s in management have allowed me to join the industry where I want to start my career.  

“It has provided me with the tools to be successful in this job and any other project, industry or position that I decide to join in the future. It will help me pursue a fulfilling and successful career while having a positive impact on business and society.” 

This article was originally published in January 2022 . It was last updated in May 2022

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Written by

As Content Editor for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Chloe creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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