Business professionals considering a Master of Business Administration program might naturally wonder about the return on investment. With base salaries for MBAs at an all-time high, now may be the perfect time to get started on earning this in-demand degree.

Salaries in the finance/accounting industries are among the highest, making an MBA in finance a smart choice. Choosing an affordable program, such as the online MBA with a Concentration in Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, can mean an even better return on investment.

Why Choose an Online MBA?

A 2019 Corporate Recruiters Survey shows that U.S. employers plan to offer recent MBA graduates a median starting salary of $115,000 per year — more than double the wage for new hires with a bachelor’s degree. For MBA hires in finance and accounting, that number jumps to $125,000.

With the decision to earn an MBA made, the next question may be whether to go on campus or online. For working professionals, an online format can have advantages:

  • Online MBA programs such as UW-Parkside’s can be completed in 12 months. A traditional full-time MBA program may take twice as long.
  • The flexibility of an online format means students can continue gaining the work experience employers prefer — no need to put a career on pause or lose out on income.
  • Online programs are typically more affordable than traditional full-time programs. Compare Parkside’s total tuition of $18,000 to $70,000 or more for full-time campus-based programs.
  • Online MBAs offer multiple start dates, which can reduce the wait time.
  • With online courses, students schedule coursework at whatever time works best for them. An online format also eliminates commuting costs.

Compare Costs

UW-Parkside, part of the University of Wisconsin system of schools, ranks favorably against a sampling of other online MBA programs.

MBA Program/School Finance Concentration? Credit Hours Required Tuition Per Credit Hour Student Fees  Time to Complete
UW-Parkside  Yes  30  $600  All fees included  As few as 12 months
University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium  No (finance electives offered)  30  $775  $56 application fee  21-36 months
Marquette University (MU)  No  33-39  $1,350  $50 application fee (waived if attend online info session)  24 months average, 18 months full time
St. Mary’s University of Minnesota (SMUMN)  Yes (Financial Services/Banking)  30  $665  $25 application fee  As few as 12 months
Walden University (for-profit school)  Yes (Corporate Finance)  30  $965  $210 tech fee per semester 12-30 months (based on three options for completion)


As the chart shows, MBA students at UW-Parkside come out ahead on tuition. Nearby Marquette is more than double UW-Parkside’s $18,000. The University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium is over $5,000 more than UW-Parkside.

In neighboring Minnesota, tuition at SMUMN is only slightly higher than at UW-Parkside. However, SMUMN does not hold the same accreditation. Additional cost-related factors:

  • In-state vs. out-of-state tuition: Expenses at some schools can be higher for out-of-state students. However, UW-Parkside’s affordable MBA tuition is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students.
  • Nonprofit vs. for-profit status: Most universities and colleges are nonprofit entities, but plenty of for-profit MBA programs are out there as well. For-profit programs are often more expensive than nonprofit, or public, schools. Based on the chart above, tuition at UW-Parkside, a public institution, beats the for-profit Walden by more than $10,000.

The costs above were sourced from university websites (December 2019).

Why Keep Accreditation in Mind?

Accreditation is a significant way to judge the quality of a school. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) is recognized as the highest standard in a business school education. UW-Parkside is one of only 856 business schools worldwide that has AACSB accreditation.

A career in financial management may not require an MBA. But as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics points out, many employers prefer to hire candidates with a master’s in business administration. And they are willing to pay much more for this degree. In fact, BLS reports that financial occupations have some of the highest wage premiums for workers with a master’s degree.

UW-Parkside’s online MBA with a finance concentration prepares business professionals with the advanced analytical abilities employers value. And with its affordable tuition, UW-Parkside’s online MBA makes it possible for students to earn the degree they need to advance their careers without piling on unreasonable debt.

As a general note, salaries included here are meant to be a guideline and are not guaranteed. Actual salaries will depend on location, company, experience and more.

Learn more about UW-Parkside’s online MBA program with a Concentration in Finance.


GMAC: MBA Salaries in the US Highest on Record

Graduate Management Admission Council: Business School Hiring Report: Corporate Recruiters Survey 2019

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Financial Managers – How to Become a Financial Manager

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Should I Get a Master’s Degree? Business