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Top salary after top MBA

BeefBeef - Posts: 429 Member
edited January 2010 in Business School - MBA
I've been checking out the salaries you can expect after graduating from a top MBA:

Top 15 MBA programs

The article lists Harvard MBAs as earning upwards of 115k after graduation. I am wondering if anyone has more insight on this. Is this a typical salary, or are there a lot of 70 and 80k and a few 400k people that push the average higher? I'm also curious to see, what is the average salary of a top MBA student 10 years after completing the MBA?
Post edited by Beef on

Replies to: Top salary after top MBA

  • BostonEngBostonEng Registered User Posts: 342 Member
    i *think* compensation breaks down like this at the top programs.

    PE/Hedge Fund (usually requires previous banking/finance): mysterious, but big $$$ (over 200k total)

    I-banking: 180k (salary is around low 100's, but you get a guaranteed bonus and signing bonus)

    Mgmt Consulting: 170k (similar deal to i banking)

    General management/corporate finance/etc: low 100's.

    Non-profit / save the world /etc : 40-50k


    your chances at banking or consulting depend on the school's strengths, your resume, your gmat, etc.
  • BostonEngBostonEng Registered User Posts: 342 Member
    10 years out really depends on your goals and desires.

    the people that stay in banking, finance, or consulting can make big $$$ at that point (high 6 figures, even low millions per year) ...but there is a TON of attrition. the intense hours and travel schedules are not very compatible with family life.

    after a few years, they often switch to the general mgmt careers at a high level (in corporations). those positions usually pay pretty well but not nearly as high as the intense tracks (think like 150-200k but 40 hrs/ week). they then climb to the CFO, CEO, CTO, etc. which is very well compensated.
  • ronealdroneald Registered User Posts: 710 Member
    Non-profit / save the world /etc : 40-50k

    I laughed out loud.
  • def454def454 Registered User Posts: 287 Junior Member
    MBA Pay: For Many Grads, Salaries Are a Far Cry from "Average" - BusinessWeek

    the slideshow and article above tells a very different story than most statistics.
  • storchstorch Registered User Posts: 291 Junior Member
    just look at the employment report for any top school they all have them on their website,

    median and mean are pretty close....
  • BeefBeef - Posts: 429 Member
    But is there anywhere you can see the actual statistical distribution, like the bell curve or some actual data points?
  • BeefBeef - Posts: 429 Member
    Ooh nice it wasn't loading before ... sweet resource, thanks!
  • ronealdroneald Registered User Posts: 710 Member
    ^ The result actually shocked me. It gave me more reasons to believe that all the top schools can actually offer you opportunities. I used to keep on pondering why there are 20 students at the Haas MBA Class of 2011 who also got into Stanford GSB. I can't think of any reason why they have done that. After looking at the salary table, I found out that Haas grads can actually earn as much as Stanford grads do. So it's not really a big disadvantage if you're not at Harvard or Stanford, as long as you're int eh top business school.

    Just an argument I've heard, but some have said that although median salaries can be close for both schools, many more students from H/W/S go on to the TOP paying jobs that many (or at least a good percentage) than would a student from another top school. That is to say, if you're looking for something in the 100-200k range, many top MBA schools can supply that opportunity, but if you're looking for the huge bucks than you're chances are much better at top programs.

    I have no perspective at all on this view, would you care to share how accurate you think it is?
  • sakkysakky - Posts: 14,759 Senior Member



    Those figures are actually deeply misleading, and is in fact one of my greatest criticisms of Payscale, particularly as it relates to MBA programs. Those figures measure salaries, but as savvier MBA students and alumni understand, salaries represent only one portion of the total pay package, and in certain industries - notably finance - represent only a small fraction of the package. What also matters is the opportunity for and size of equity and bonuses, and judging from the ongoing controversy over Wall Street bonuses, that is often times where the real money is made.

    The difficulty is that bonuses are, by their nature, random. In theory, you might get zero. But what matters is that the opportunity is there. Investment banking and private equity salaries are rather unimpressive by themselves, but the bonuses are what makes those professions so lucrative. Similarly, salaries at startup firms are unimpressive, and if you're the founder, the salaries are often times zero (to start). But what matters is not the salaries but rather the opportunities to become rich through the equity.

    As a case in point, carefully consider the "salaries" of the 2009 Class of 2009 graduates of Harvard Business School. A naive examination of only the salaries would lead you to believe that investment banking (and its sibling, sales & trading) graduates actually earn less than consulting graduates, a notion that can be immediately dismissed as ludicrous by anybody who has even cursory knowledge of the two industries. IB & S&T graduates earn some of the lowest salaries of any of the reported categories, lower than even the marketing folks. Heck, even the vaunted hedge fund, investment management, and VC/PE folks do not make more than the consultants do when examining only straight salaries.

    The reported overall salary figure of $114k are only $4k different from the reported Payscale salary figure of $118k; yet I think we can all agree that HBS graduates are making far more than just $4k of bonuses in their first year. Some of the starting finance guys may make that sort of bonus in a single week.

    Career Hiring Data - MBA Recruiting - Harvard Business School

    MBA Pay: HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL - BusinessWeek
    ^ The result actually shocked me. It gave me more reasons to believe that all the top schools can actually offer you opportunities. I used to keep on pondering why there are 20 students at the Haas MBA Class of 2011 who also got into Stanford GSB. I can't think of any reason why they have done that. After looking at the salary table, I found out that Haas grads can actually earn as much as Stanford grads do. So it's not really a big disadvantage if you're not at Harvard or Stanford, as long as you're int eh top business school.

    See above. Ultimately, in terms of total pay, what matters is which schools can steer their graduates towards the industries with the highest bonuses, and lately that has been the finance industry, especially VC/PE and hedge/alternative investment fund management. Yet the fact is, only 14% of Haas MBA graduates enter the finance industry, as compared to 28% of Stanford GSB graduates, only 3.4% of Haas grads enter VC/PE as compared to 12% at Stanford, and only 2% enter investment management (including hedge funds) as compared to 10% at Stanford. Hence, I think it is quite clear that Stanford MBA's enjoy a substantially better chance in landing jobs at the most lucrative professions.

    For Employers - MBA Employment Reports - Haas School of Business

    http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/cmc/reports/documents/EmploymentReport_08_09l.pdf

    Now, whether those professions should be as lucrative as they are is an entirely different question. It's no secret that I have deep suspicions of the social utility of the finance industry, and especially its compensation schemes. But that's neither here nor there. For the purposes of this thread, what matters is what the overall compensation is for the graduates of a particular school, which is fundamentally unknowable given the stochastic nature of bonuses but can be guessed within a reasonable set of bounds, and which schools are more likely to provide better chances of entering those industries with high total compensation.
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