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The MBA is the ultimate route to the corner office but to earn one requires a host of sacrifices – time, money, mental stress.

On Monday, a PayScale.com analysis, created for the Wall Street Journal announced that for graduates with three of less years of experience median pay was $53,900 in 2012, down 4.6% from 2007-08. Pay fell at 62% of the 186 schools examined.

So for those considering attaining their MBA – is the risk of a less-than-expected starting salaries combined with the stresses of committing to two-plus years of hard study worth it?

Here are what several successful MBA graduates informed us – via Twitter – to be the most important benefits of earning the degree:

Erik Qualman, the author and founder of Socialnomics, global vice president of Digital Marketing for EF Education, advisory board member for Bazaarvoice, and a professor of digital marketing for Hult International Business School: “Network. Nobody achieves greatness alone.”

Simon Tam, author of How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements, executive director and founder of The PACE Foundation, social media marketing specialist for Clackamas Community College in Oregon, president and founder of Last Stop Booking, and director of marketing and founder of The Slants LLC: “1.) Learning and growing as a person. Education is always the best benefit. 2.) It opens doors for career opps.”

Arshad Chowdhury, co-owner of Crowd Interactive and founder of Power 20: “The single most important element to the MBA is the school’s reputation. Over time, it’s all that matters.”

Maria Ungaro, vice president of the Kellen Company and the executive director for New York Women in Communications: “Career Advancement – Provided me with training in gap areas.”

Matthew Prince, adjunct professor of law at the John Marshall Law School, co-founder and chairman of Unspam Technologies, co-creator of Project Honey Pot, and the CEO and co-founder of CloudFlare: “It provides you a period of time in your life to reset your career and safely try out new strategies/directions.”

Sonia Kapadia, founder and CEO of Taste Savant, on the board of directors for Blue Engine, and a contributing writer for Forbes: “Networking, alumni and community!”


Related: #oMBAchat Recap: What Makes a Successful Online MBA Student? | Database: Search, Sort, Compare Online MBA Programs | School Reports: Full Details on MBA Programs | Specialties: Research MBA Concentrations


Follow Dustin Bass on Twitter @dustincbass.


UPDATED: Join in the discussion! Tweet to OnlineMBA.com writer Dustin Bass your most important benefit of an MBA degree. Here’s who has joined the conversation:

Elizabeth Schneider, owner and wine educator for Wine for Normal People: “Top benefit is confidence. Without that you can’t succeed in anything. The right MBA will give you that!”

Ada Polla, founder of Alchimie Forever: “Most important benefit of earning an MBA are the people and the content. Great knowledge, great network.”