Besides the opportunity to pursue your dream role in the industry and geography of your choice, post-MBA salary is one of the most important considerations for candidates looking to pursue an MBA. In this article, we explore the factors that influence your MBA salary and take a look at the MBA salary by industry at the top business schools.
Here is a brief outline of the article:
- Value of a Graduate Management Education
- Components of an MBA Salary
- Factors affecting your post-MBA Salary
- MBA Salary by Industry at Top Business Schools
- Key Takeaways
Value of a Graduate Management Education
Personal and Professional Value of an MBA
According to GMAC’s 2018 survey of nearly 11,000 alumni, 4 out of 5 respondents value their graduate management educations as outstanding or excellent value.
94% and 89% of employed business school alumni consider their graduate management education as a personally and professionally rewarding experience. A whopping 9 out of 10 business school alumni would still pursue a graduate management education knowing what they know now.
Business school alumni of full-time MBA programs showed the greatest agreement about the outcome of their increased earning power due to their graduate management education.
MBA Salary Growth and Hiring Projections
In 2019, newly minted MBA hires commanded annual median starting salaries of US$ 115,000 the highest on record. This is considerably more than median salaries offered to experienced hires (US$ 75,000) and bachelor’s degree hires (US $ 55,000).
In the US, 77% of employers plan to hire MBA talent in 2019. More than 8 out of 10 companies in the Asia Pacific plan to hire MBA talent, similarly 7 in 10 European companies plan to hire MBAs in 2019.
Components of an MBA Salary
Following are the typical components of an MBA salary:
- Base Pay
- Signing Bonus
- Performance Bonus
- Other Guaranteed Compensation
- Stock options
- Tuition reimbursement
- 401k Match
Base Pay: A fixed and recurring amount paid to employees generally expressed an annual salary. It does not include any benefits or bonuses.
Signing Bonus: This is a one-time inducement offered to employees when they join an organization. Depending on the industry of your employment, signing bonuses can be standard or may depend on other factors such as region, etc.
For e.g. according to the Management Consulted 2019 consulting salary report, Bain & Co. and BCG both offer signing bonuses of $25,000 while McKinsey & Co. offers $30,000.
Performance Bonus: A performance bonus is additional compensation awarded based on performance appraisals as a reward for achieving specific goals or predetermined targets.
It is typically awarded annually and is a one-time award.
Other Guaranteed Compensation: Based on the industry of your post-MBA job you may receive some or all of the components that usually come under this head of compensation.
Stock options or other forms of equity most commonly awarded to MBA graduates choosing careers in technology are a form of compensation awarded to retain talent and align employees with the organization’s longer-term goals.
Compensation offered as stock options and equity generally has a vesting period associated with them and are not available immediately to employees.
Tuition reimbursement assistance is generally offered to graduates who choose to return to their pre-MBA firms after the completion of their MBA degree. 40% of US employers offer sponsorship for MBA programs according to GMAC’s corporate recruiter survey.
Profit-sharing is a way for organizations to share yearly profits with their employees. These may vary across industries and job level.
401k is a retirement savings plan offered by employers to their employees and enables employees to save and invest a part of their paycheck before taxes are calculated. Many employers offer to match employees contribution up to a certain percentage of their salary.
While your MBA salary may consist of a combination of many of the above components, for the purpose of comparison, we will focus our attention on base salaries. Because base pay offers a consistent frame of reference and is a reliable forecast of what to expect over time.
Now that we have gone through the different components of an MBA salary, let us take a look at the factors that affect your post-MBA salary.
Factors Affecting Average MBA Salary
Following are some factors that affect your MBA salary:
- Business school rankings
- MBA Specialisation/Concentration
Business School Rankings
Each business school and MBA program has its own strengths, and this is reflected in the mix of employers it attracts. For e.g. Stanford GSB graduates going into finance earned base median starting salaries of US $ 157,500 as compared to graduates of Chicago Booth School of Business who earned US $ 125,000.
On the other hand, for certain other industries, the rank and pay may not be closely correlated. For e.g. Harvard Business School is considered the mecca for general management in no small part due to its extensive use of the case method. However, Stanford graduates earned US $ 5,000 more than their Harvard counterparts who took up general management related roles.
The industry of your post-MBA role may also determine your starting base salary. At most business schools consulting and finance are generally the top paymasters, followed closely by organizations from the technology industry.
Thus, your choice of industry post-MBA is one of the important factors that affect your post-MBA salary.
Among US employers, those located in the Northeast offered the highest starting salaries to MBA graduates. According to a GMAC survey, employers in the northeast offered starting salaries of US $ 125,000, which is $10,000 more than the starting salaries offered by employers in the Midwest and the Western United States. And $30,000 more than salaries offered by employers in the Southern United States.
The difference in salaries could be due to differences in cost of living in these regions and other factors and employers take these into account while rolling out offers to graduates.
Internationally, Switzerland pays the highest salaries to its MBA graduates, according to the 2018 QS TopMBA salary trends report. Switzerland is followed by the United States, Canada, France, and Australia to round out the top 5 countries paying the highest MBA salaries.
Your intended area of concentration/specialization during the MBA program can also play a role in your starting MBA salary. According to a 2017 Payscale.com survey, MBA graduates with a specialization or concentration in strategy and general and strategic management are the highest paid MBA concentrations considering both early and mid-career pay.
Average MBA Salary by Industry at Top Business Schools
We have compiled the average, median, highest and lowest salaries offered by various industries to MBA graduates of top business schools. Click on the industry of your interest in the list below to scroll to the relevant data.
Average MBA Salary by Industry – Finance
|Finance (All figures in US $)|
|Harvard||150,000||125,000 – 175,000*||N/A|
|Wharton||130,000||125,000 – 150,000*||N/A|
|Columbia||127,500||52,000 – 308,000||N/A|
|Northwestern (Kellogg)||125,000||23,282 – 300,000||135,689|
|University of Chicago (Booth)||125,000||55,000 – 250,000||N/A|
|MIT (Sloan)||125,000||60,000 – 230,000||129,256|
|Dartmouth (Tuck)||125,000||66,235 – 215,000||127,818|
|New York University (Stern)||125,000||70,000 – 170,000||125,286|
|Michigan (Ross)||125,000||70,000 – 243,000||125,563|
Average MBA Salary by Industry – Consulting
|Consulting (All figures in US $)|
|Harvard||150,000||145,000 – 152,500*||N/A|
|Wharton||150,000||140,000 – 152,500*||N/A|
|Columbia||142,000||80,000 – 233,500||N/A|
|Northwestern (Kellogg)||147,000||82,800 – 170,000||140,830|
|University of Chicago (Booth)||150,000||53,000 – 170,000||N/A|
|MIT (Sloan)||147,000||73,677 – 185,000||142,988|
|Dartmouth (Tuck)||147,000||60,000 – 170,000||142,665|
|New York University (Stern)||147,000||83,000 – 170,000||140,078|
|Michigan (Ross)||147,000||70,000 – 170,000||136,677|
Average MBA Salary by Industry – Technology
|Technology (All figures in US $)|
|School||Median||Low – High||Average|
|Harvard||130,000||120,000 – 142,000*||N/A|
|Wharton||130,000||125,000 – 140,000*||N/A|
|Columbia||120,000||58,000 – 200,000||N/A|
|Northwestern (Kellogg)||130,000||30,000 – 180,000||127,751|
|University of Chicago (Booth)||130,000||80,000 – 170,000||N/A|
|MIT (Sloan)||130,000||115,000 – 199,000||133,317|
|Dartmouth (Tuck)||130,000||85,000 – 159,000||127,589|
|New York University (Stern)||130,000||70,000 – 145,000||123,865|
|Michigan (Ross)||130,000||73,000 – 158,000||125,134|
Average MBA Salary by Industry – Manufacturing
|Manufacturing (All figures in US $)|
|School||Median||Low – High||Average|
|Harvard||130,000||122,750 – 142,500*||N/A|
|Wharton||127,500||120,000 – 165,000*||N/A|
|Columbia||120,000||100,000 – 150,000||N/A|
|Northwestern (Kellogg)||120,000||95,000 – 135,000||117,000|
|University of Chicago (Booth)||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|MIT (Sloan)||122,500||120,000 – 135,000||124,375|
|Dartmouth (Tuck)||118,000||100,000 – 130,000||117,500|
|New York University (Stern)||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Michigan (Ross)||1,150,008||100,000 – 140,097||119,334|
|Yale SOM||120,000||120,000 – 125,000*||N/A|
Average MBA Salary by Industry – Consumer Products & Goods
|Consumer Products (All figures in US $)|
|School||Median||Low – High||Average|
|Harvard||$115,000||110,000 – 135,000*||N/A|
|Wharton||$115,000||107,000 – 122,000*||N/A|
|Columbia||$117,500||100,000 – 150,000||N/A|
|Northwestern (Kellogg)||$107,000||24,000 – 135,000||106,667|
|University of Chicago (Booth)||$115,000||103,000 – 138,000||N/A|
|MIT (Sloan)||$122,000||90,000 – 138,000||120,556|
|Dartmouth (Tuck)||$108,000||87,000 – 150,000||112,083|
|New York University (Stern)||$106,000||95,000 – 135,000||106,647|
|Michigan (Ross)||$110,000||100,000 – 120,000||110,211|
Note: *Represents 25th and 75th Percentile MBA pay
Key Takeaways | Average MBA Salary
- Both employers and students place tremendously value on the personal and professional experience of an MBA program.
- MBA salaries hit record highs in 2019 and most employers expect to hire similar or a higher number of MBA graduates.
- MBA Salaries consist of many components such as base, sign-on bonus, performance bonuses, etc.
- MBA Salary depends on many factors such as industry, location, MBA specialization, and business school rankings.
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