In Japan, obtaining an MBA can cost anywhere from 1 to 3 million yen per year. It is not an inexpensive proposition for any student. However, when it comes to overseas MBA programs, there is not necessarily a huge difference in cost from region to region. In general, though, overseas MBA programs tend to cost the equivalent of 2 million yen—twice the baseline amount in Japan. You also must factor in other costs incurred when attempting an MBA program overseas, such as local living expenses; these can amount to approximately 3 million yen annually. This means that attending a 2-year MBA program overseas might cost 10 million yen—4 million for tuition and 6 million for living expenses. Therefore, in order to think rationally about the advantages of interrupting one's work to study overseas and obtain an MBA, you have to ask yourself: how much will my annual income increase if I obtain an MBA?
Ranking MBAs by cost-effectiveness
Japan's visibility in well-known rankings of MBA programs has gradually increased, but the methods used in these rankings are extremely simple. First, a school is not considered officially-recognized if it is not internationally accredited and therefore cannot be ranked. Also, the greatest weight in the rankings is given to a factor known as "cost-effectiveness," which is determined by how much tuition can be recouped annually. In general, MBA programs are ranked by quantifying and ranking the value of the education they provide to society.
- International accreditation (bare minimum qualification)
- Tuition required to obtain MBA/income increase after graduation
- Number of peer-reviewed papers authored by faculty members (published books are not studies)
- International diversity of participants and faculty
The value of an MBA (annual income increase)
According to an investigative report from a recruiting agency, in the year 2007, at foreign-owned enterprises, an MBA increased one's annual income by a minimum of 1 million yen. However, according to an MBA survey conducted this year, that increase has ballooned to 2.2 million yen annually. We are still at the stage where there is not yet a system in place for Japanese firms to assess the value of an MBA appropriately, but there are certainly strides being made toward recognizing the worth of an MBA education in Japan, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry. The non-monetary value of an MBA education is also important; the person-to-person relationships formed with classmates in MBA classrooms (during case study discussions and group discussions) are a valuable lifelong resource. The networks created in MBA programs last long after graduation and are more diversified than those formed in companies. In the West, the companies from which the other students are coming tends to be considered an important factor in selecting a business school.
The value of an MBA (networking)
The person-to-person relationships formed in an MBA program are created not by debating financial interests in a corporate setting but through heartfelt, honest discussions. One of the true pleasures of an MBA education is the possibility of creating a personal network that takes you back to your college days. Some business schools overseas also create and distribute booklets featuring detailed profiles of MBA students. In Japan, schools are not that open with this information due to privacy concerns, but it is possible to research the companies at which other students have worked through briefing sessions and websites.