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Average MBA Salary – A Look at Starting MBA Pay by Industry

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.

Average MBA Salary by Industry

Here is a brief outline of the article:

Value of a Graduate Management Education

Average MBA Salary - 2019 Projected Salaries by Industry

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).

Average MBA Salary - Growth and Hiring Projections

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.

The United Kingdom recently extended its post-study work Visa for students to 2 years. Read more about how this will benefit thousands of MBA aspirants

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
    • Profit-sharing
    • 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.

Average MBA Salary - Employers offer education assistance and Loan repayment

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
  • Industry
  • Geography
  • 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.

Read more about business school rankings and what they mean for MBA aspirants.

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.

Learn more about different MBA industries and job prospects post-MBA.

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.

Average MBA Salary - Geography a Factor that affects MBA Salaries

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

Average MBA Salary by Industry – Finance

Finance (All figures in US $)
School Median (Low-High) Average
Stanford 157,500 60,000-300,000 167,197
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
Cornell (Johnson) N/A N/A 133,126
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
Yale SOM 125,000 121,250-135,000* N/A
Duke (Fuqua) 125,000 50,000-180,000 124,767
UCLA (Anderson) 125,000 70,000-155,000 124,179

Read more about the Top 10 Best business schools or finance here.

Average MBA Salary by Industry - Consulting

Average MBA Salary by Industry – Consulting

Consulting (All figures in US $)
School Median Low-High Average
Stanford 151,400 97,404-188,000 145,692
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
Cornell (Johnson) N/A N/A 133,206
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
Yale SOM 145,000 125,000-152,000* N/A
Duke (Fuqua) 140,000 93,000-170,000 140,300
UCLA (Anderson) 140,000 100,000-170,000 138,468

Learn more about the Best Business School for a career in Consulting

Average MBA Salary by Industry - Technology

Average MBA Salary by Industry – Technology

Technology (All figures in US $)
School Median Low – High Average
Stanford 135,000 70,000-200,000 135,643
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
Cornell (Johnson) N/A N/A 122,037
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
Yale SOM 130,000 115,000-135,000* N/A
Duke (Fuqua) 130,000 77,000-175,000 127,335
UCLA (Anderson) 130,000 55,000-160,000 122,693

Here are the Top 10 Best Business schools for Technology based on the latest employment reports.

Average MBA Salary by Industry - Manufacturing

Average MBA Salary by Industry – Manufacturing

Manufacturing (All figures in US $)
School Median Low – High Average
Stanford N/A N/A N/A
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
Cornell (Johnson) N/A N/A 119,000
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
Duke (Fuqua) 115,004 115,000-120,000 116,118
UCLA (Anderson) N/A N/A N/A

Average MBA Salary by Industry - Consumer Products and Goods

Average MBA Salary by Industry – Consumer Products & Goods

Consumer Products (All figures in US $)
School Median Low – High Average
Stanford 135,000 120,000-140,000 133,333
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
Cornell (Johnson) N/A N/A 106,524
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
Yale SOM $115,000 110,000-115,000* N/A
Duke (Fuqua) 107,500 78,000-120,000 107,111
UCLA (Anderson) $105,000 52,000-140,000 107,619

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.

If you aspire to a rewarding and high paying career in any of the above industries, the GMAT is the first stepping stone in the right direction. Start your journey to a 700+ GMAT score by signing up for a free trial. We can also help you with a personalized study plan.

Write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com in case of any questions.

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Payal Tandon
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