What's That MBA Really Worth?

Last Updated Jul 29, 2010 9:27 PM EDT

For recruiters and executives, MBAs have long been considered the holy grail of the candidate pool. And for employees, the degree is that traditional ticket to corporate success, promising a bigger salary, fast-track promotions, and professional prestige.

But in the eyes of more and more top management thinkers — many of them from top business schools — the value of the MBA is dropping faster than home prices these days. We dug through all the latest research, interviewed both critics and advocates, and organized our findings. We show you five hard truths about the degree and how to decode the class catalog jargon to tell you what you'll really be learning for your $60k. On the other side of the interview desk, CEOs and VPs give their candid opinions about when they would — and wouldn't — hire an MBA.

Update: Jenna Miller, our Back to B-School columnist, rebuts the standard assumptions about an MBA candidate's mercenary motives and advocates for the nonfinancial ROI.