What MBA Interns Are Being Paid

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$7,00035%25%7%
Stanford GSB$7,00026%10%8%
UPenn (Wharton)*$7,69343%17%8%
Chicago (Booth)$8,00041%20%4%
Northwestern (Kellogg)$7,00025%21%5%
MIT (Sloan)$7,50025%20%9%
Dartmouth (Tuck)$7,30032%16%7%
Duke (Fuqua)$7,20025%17%11%
UC-Berkeley (Haas)$6,59116%10%13%
Cornell (Johnson)$6,86043%15%NA
Virginia (Darden)$7,69430%19%3%
Michigan (Ross)$7,04514%22%1%
NYU (Stern)$7,93034%14%3%

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

  • JohnAByrne

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

  • UVA

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

  • 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.

  • JohnAByrne

    Thanks for pointing that out. It’s fixed now.

  • P&Q is biased

    Typo. Should say columbia intern made 20k a month, not 20k a year…

  • ThisIsRoss

    The consortium kids hang with each other and not will the rest of the fratty white kids

  • SomeSchoolsAreHidingTheirStats

    The “evidence” is exactly what the schools are hiding…

  • SomeSchoolsAreHidingTheirStats

    “They are intimate schools and it’d be too easy for strangers to know your business” is the logic you came up with as to why these schools choose not to publicly release this information? This argument makes no sense because I am talking about schools still keeping the numbers ANONYMOUS but actually indicating HOW MANY students they placed at various companies rather than just indicating “top hiring companies’’ and choosing whatever cutoff makes their top hiring companies look the best. This way the numbers can be directly compared from school to school so the true strength of the school’s placement can be gleaned.

    Generally schools report information when it makes them look good and don’t report information when it makes them look bad. This is why I feel that Tuck, Haas, Yale, Darden, Stern, UCLA and Cornell actively choosing not to publicly disclose (anonymously) the number of hires at individual companies is due to less than stellar placement compared to their peer schools.

    Look, I am not saying I am 100% sure this is the case, but without the schools releasing this information, I have no reason to believe otherwise. If the numbers were so great for these schools, they would be itching to release it.

  • KaptainKapsize

    The 25k per month number is correct. I have a friend at Booth (class of 2014) who was considering a similar consulting gig (25k per month) versus a more interesting but lower paying (or median-paying, I should say) internship in Africa. It’s likely that the same firm returned to recruit this year.

  • Bruce Vann

    And I’m telling the truth because I don’t even like Michigan because they knocked VCU out of the NCAA tournament this year.

  • Bruce Vann

    Nope. No one else thinks that without some evidence to support it.

  • RossIsCollegial

    This is certainly not the case at Ross. I see people of different ethnicities mixing all the time! You are a liar and most definitely not a Ross student.

  • avivalasvegas

    Its the same at my M7 school too. I think Americans as a whole aren’t as welcoming to international students.

  • avivalasvegas

    Kellogg and consulting again….

  • Rossism

    All Ross minority students hang out with themselves because the “cool, fratty” white kids exclude them. Other schools, there is far more blending of internationals, domestic minorities, and Caucasian students. At Ross, it’s separate with each group having a token minority to say they aren’t racist.

  • Bruce Vann

    I can vouch for Joe’s comment. I just graduated from another Consortium school and at my OP for the Consortium no school was as deep as Ross.

  • Bruce Vann

    Look, I’m going to really avoid the urge to call you names or say a bunch of ad hominem arguments as to why you have no credibility. That’s hard to do because of the nonsense that you said but I’ll elect to just show how your ideas are foolish standing alone.

    The seven schools you mentioned are small and intimate. If they disclosed that info then it’d be too easy for strangers to know your business and not everyone likes that. Don’t get me wrong. Stanford is small but if it wasn’t in silicon valley among the tech types who culturally favor openness then I doubt it would follow suit of the big dogs HBS, Booth, and Wharton.

    Your theory that these schools are trying to hide something is accusatory and based on no evidence on God’s green earth. If you are an MBA, work with people, and come to conclusions like that then you will suck as a manager and fail at life. If you do that as a consultant people will laugh at you and it will end your career. Quit that Rush Limbaugh stuff!

    Lastly, in the spirit of openness, it may be easier for people to take your idea about schools not being transparent more seriously if you were transparent with your identity. “SchoolsAreHidingTheirStats” !?!?! Really? Now I realize that that name doesn’t make your claims any more or less true but it destroys your ethos.

  • SomeSchoolsAreHidingTheirStats

    Does anyone else find it strange that schools such as Tuck, Haas, Yale, Darden, Stern, UCLA and Cornell are not fully transparent and don’t disclose the number of hires at
    individual firms? It seems like these schools are not proud of their employment
    stats and try to be vague by listing placement by industry, geography, or sometimes “top hiring companies”, but never disclose the exact numbers so that they can’t be directly compared to other schools.

    Harvard, Stanford and Wharton do this and it is my educated guess that they do
    not disclose the number of hires at individual firms to maintain an “air of
    exclusivity” over the rest of the M7 as they are widely regarded as the top 3
    schools. If they would disclose these numbers it may make them look equal to or
    maybe even worse than some of their peer schools in certain industries so they
    decide to hide this information.

    However, Tuck, Haas, Yale, Darden, Stern, UCLA and Cornell do not have the
    benefit of the doubt that Harvard, Stanford and Wharton do. This makes me
    wonder why they are so secretive with their true employment placement since
    these metrics are meticulously recorded at every school. These schools choosing
    not to make this information public is a huge red flag if deciding to apply to
    one of these schools. As a consumer would you ever buy a car where the company
    didn’t disclose the crash-test results? I make this analogy because it can be
    argued that car safety is the single most important metric for automobiles and
    that employment placement is the most important metric for business schools. As
    a potential MBA consumer you have a right to know the true numbers if you are
    going to invest over $100,000 in the degree. I would demand that the school
    publicly release the exact number of interns and full-time hires at individual
    companies or I would never apply to that school.

  • Sandman85

    As someone who is part of the mba class of 2015, this article and subject matter is of great interest to me. Thanks to P&Q and Mr. Byrne for this.

    On a side note – I suspect that the individual who got paid 24k for consulting might have accidentally given his / her total internship compensation rather than his / her one month salary. Most of the top firms pay about the same and none of the major ones pay anywhere close to 25k per month for an internship. On the other hand – 25k makes sense if someone accidentally gave his entire 10 week salary information in place of the monthly salary.

  • Joe Richardson

    Ross students are racist??? There are more Consortium Rossers in the class of 2014 than ANY OTHER MBA program.

  • Not@RossJustTiredOfThisGuy

    Really? Come on. I look to P&Q for substantive articles regarding the MBA and career outlook and generally find the comments section helpful and informative. Your continual trolling against Michigan Ross has grown tiresome. I say if you are going to be posting such incendiary comments, you should identify yourself and discontinue posting anonymously.

    Anyways, John thank you for the work you do here on P&Q. Enjoy the site.

  • Renault

    Ha, still so much butthurt.

  • Bewareofstats

    Ross MBAs start out well but are mediocre and get stuck in middle management. This is where you see the M7 schools pull ahead because they are smarter and more ambitious and why their median pay >> Ross. Even peer schools such as Fuqua and lower ranked schools such as UNC in finance do better mid-career. Ross does not prepare people well for jobs after the first 3 years. I believe the racist nature of the arrogant, wealthy Caucasian students leads to this failure since they never learned to connect and communicate with others who are different than them to be a successful motivator in the success of others. This is where truly leadership shines and where Ross fails.