What MBA Interns Are Being Paid

by John A. Byrne on Print Print

moneytreeIt’s that time of the year again when MBA students venture far and wide from campus to take on their summer internships. For most of them, especially those in consulting and banking, their summer stint is a dress rehearsal for a full-time job offer. But it’s also a chance to earn some quick cash to help pay for the second year of their MBA program.

Just how much do MBA interns make? More often than not, it’s pretty much what they will make when they graduate. Of course, intern pay can vary widely, though less because of the schools they come from but due largely to what industries and companies employ them.

At Harvard, Stanford and most top business schools, the highest paid interns are in management consulting. MBA students  in consulting pull down median base salaries of $10,500, considerably more than the $7,000 median overall. At Chicago Booth, the median was a bit higher at $8,000 but the highest paid intern at Booth remarkably made $25,300 a month last year in a consulting gig. The highest paid Kellogg intern last year earned $19,000 a month, also in consulting. A Columbia MBA last year scored an internship in investment banking that paid $20,000 a month, highest in the class.


On the other hand, HBS students who ventured into entertainment and media made the least: just $3,000 a month, even less than those who went into internships for the government and non-profits where median pay was $4,800 a month. The median intern salary for a summer stint in financial services was $8,333, with hedge funds paying the most–$9,615–compared to venture capital which paid $5,100 a month.

Of course, in a world where many internships no longer come with pay, these are very good salaries for a summer job. Still, not all MBA internships pay that well. Booth MBAs who spent their summer working for e-commerce or Internet firms last year, roughly 7% of the entire class, reported earning only $550 a month in pay. It was the lowest intern compensation reported for any industry or company.

And this year, summer internship pay is generally flat for MBAs, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The organization found that for MBAs the average intern salary is $22.97 an hour, up slightly from $22.63 an hour last year. That’s the fourth largest intern pay among graduate students, exceeded only by engineering ($24.43), physical sciences ($23.58), and mathematics ($23.40). These numbers, of course, are for MBAs across the board, not merely those from the top-ranked schools.


Pay, however, is the least concern for most MBAs. When MIT Sloan last year asked its Class of 2013 the reason why they accepted an internship, 26.3% said it was due to job function. That reason was followed by industry choice, 21.3%; job content, 15.7%; growth potential, 12.7%, and the prestige of the firm, 9.3%. The reason for selecting an internship that was dead last in the survey at MIT: compensation, with just 0.4% of the vote.


School                              Monthly Intern Pay    Finance     Consulting    Healthcare
Harvard Business School $7,000 35% 25% 7%
Stanford GSB $7,000 26% 10% 8%
UPenn (Wharton)* $7,693 43% 17% 8%
Chicago (Booth) $8,000 41% 20% 4%
Northwestern (Kellogg) $7,000 25% 21% 5%
Columbia $8,000 51% 17% 3%
MIT (Sloan) $7,500 25% 20% 9%
Dartmouth (Tuck) $7,300 32% 16% 7%
Duke (Fuqua) $7,200 25% 17% 11%
UC-Berkeley (Haas) $6,591 16% 10% 13%
Cornell (Johnson) $6,860 43% 15% NA
Virginia (Darden) $7,694 30% 19% 3%
Michigan (Ross) $7,045 14% 22% 1%
Yale $7,200 39% 28% 5%
NYU (Stern) $7,930 34% 14% 3%

Source: School employment reports for Class of 2013 * Class of 2012 data

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  • mikeavelo

    It would be interesting to see this by function, although probably it is hard to get the data and summarise it. I think these total numbers can be biased, for example schools that tend to place more people in Investment Banking, and consulting, will always have higher salaries, basic math. However, MBA prospectives now look to expand and try other functions, from Brand Management, Entrepreneurship or Social Impact. Hence, having the highest or lowest salaries as a measure or a ranking of this, becomes less relevant.

  • UVA

    Are the Darden’s and Stern’s figures correct? Or 6k+ is mistakenly written as 7k+?

  • JohnAByrne

    Darden supplied the number after I requested it, while the Stern number is from the school’s latest placement report.

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