26 MBA Programs that Lead to the Highest Starting Salaries
One of the main reasons people go to business school is to make more money. In addition to learning more advanced leadership skills and increasing the value of one’s professional/personal networks, applicants also cite salary as one of their main motivations for wanting to obtain their MBA. However, when reviewing the data in U.S. News & World Report for the class of 2017, Veritas Prep found some interesting trends that could actually influence how you rank your target schools and craft your school list.
American Business Schools Sorted by Average Starting Salary and Bonus
|School||Average Starting Salary and Bonus||Percent Employed at Graduation||Average GMAT Score (full-time)||Acceptance Rate (full-time)|
|University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)||$159,815||82.3%||730||19.2%|
|University of Virginia (Darden)||$153,576||83.4%||713||24.5%|
|Dartmouth College (Tuck)||$152,805||80.2%||722||23.0%|
|Cornell University (Johnson)||$152,207||80.3%||700||29.9%|
|University of Chicago (Booth)||$151,085||88.0%||730||23.5%|
|University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross)||$150,052||89.7%||716||25.3%|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)||$148,451||84.2%||722||11.6%|
|Duke University (Fuqua)||$147,857||87.0%||702||11.6%|
|University of California, Berkeley (Haas)||$146,752||66.3%||725||12.9%|
|Northwestern University (Kellogg)||$146,259||81.6%||732||20.2%|
|New York University (Stern)||$146,024||79.1%||714||20.9%|
|Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)||$145,463||81.1%||691||29.9%|
|University of Washington (Foster)||$143,674||85.2%||693||22.4%|
|Emory University (Goizueta)||$143,410||84.6%||682||34.6%|
|University of California, Los Angeles (Anderson)||$141,197||74.4%||715||22.3%|
|University of Texas, Austin (McCombs)||$139,406||81.5%||703||27.8%|
|University of Southern California (Marshall)||$135,812||74.9%||703||29.1%|
|Vanderbilt University (Owen)||$134,066||75.8%||688||43.2%|
|Rice University (Jones)||$131,821||83.0%||711||27.2%|
|University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)||$131,469||79.1%||701||37.2%|
|Georgetown University (McDonough)||$130,588||68.3%||692||47.8%|
|Washington University in St. Louis (Olin)||$125,420||72.0%||694||39.7%|
*Based on U.S. News and World Report 2017 graduating class data.
Where You Come From Matters a Lot
Before you get too excited about these high average starting salaries, there are a couple of important factors to keep in mind.
For some of you, the jump from your pre-MBA salary to your post-MBA salary won’t be that dramatic. For example, if you were doing investment banking pre-MBA, and you return to that industry post-MBA, your increase in salary won’t be nearly as large as someone who is coming from the teaching/education sector, for example.
Great Bang for Your Buck
Also, you’ll notice that most of the schools on this list are top 25 schools - Vanderbilt University (Owen, #26) is the only exception. Generally speaking, the schools with highest earning graduates are pretty selective (as you might expect).
Something that jumped out to us when interpreting this data was that you don’t necessarily have to go to a top 10 business school to be in the top 10 based on average starting salary and bonus. The University of Virginia (Darden) ranked 13th overall has the 4th highest average starting salary and bonus of $153,576. Cornell is ranked #15 overall, but is 6th based on average starting salary and bonus, two spots higher than the University of Chicago (which is currently tied for a 1st place ranking with Harvard). That being said, it’s the difference between $151,085 at Booth and $152,207 at Cornell.
Your post MBA earning potential can certainly be a factor in determining whether or not you pursue an MBA and where to attend. But make sure to keep all the influential factors in mind when selecting your program! To continue the conversation, contact us at (800) 925-7737 or sign up for a free consultation to discuss your business school plans with an expert. Happy application season!
Studying for the GMAT on your own but need a little help? ORION is a computer-adaptive GMAT course that personalizes a study mission based on your weaknesses, adapting with every practice test you take. It will keep you organized and engaged so you maximize your GMAT score in the shortest amount of time. It’s kind of like having a private tutor without having to pay for one. Some dare to even call it fun. Get full access for free and cancel anytime.