Though she was employed at an advertising agency, Stephanie Burns wasn’t satisfied with her career trajectory and craved a new challenge. She enrolled in the M.B.A. program at National University in San Diego and graduated in 2008. Though she had maintained her full-time job while in school, she was surprised when her firm didn’t offer her a raise after she completed her degree. She looked elsewhere, but didn’t find that her new M.B.A. had significantly enhanced her earning power, as other firms offered only about $5,000 more a year than she was already making.

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