MBA Envy? Not When You Know The Crazy Hours MBAs Work

MBAs put in some hellish hours at work: A median 54 hours a week. At the extreme high end is Goldman Sachs where MBAs essentially work two work weeks in one, clocking in 86 average hours weekly

MBAs put in some hellish hours at work: a median 54 hours a week. At the extreme high end is Goldman Sachs, where MBAs essentially work two work weeks in one, clocking in 86 average hours weekly

Those six-figure salaries that graduating MBAs make seem awfully enticing until you find out just how many hours a week newly minted MBAs put in on the job.

What about that millennial expectation to land an impactful job yet gain some semblance of work-life balance? Forget it.

The median number of hours racked up by an MBA in his or her first year of employment is a whopping 54 hours a week, nearly two additional days of work beyond that old 40-hour workweek, according to TransparentMBA, a startup that tracks MBA compensation and work data.

GOLDMAN SACHS: A REMARKABLE 86 HOURS PER WEEK FOR MBAS

But even that number doesn’t begin to scratch the surface. At the top end, MBAs working for investment banking firm Goldman Sachs claim they average a heart-stopping 86 hours a week. So much for all that Wall Street talk in recent years about a kindler, more gentler lifestyle that encourages Goldman’s interns to take Saturdays off, leave the office at midnight and not return until 7 a.m.

Truth is, those big starting salaries and bonuses come with sweatshop work hours. Though Goldman tops the list, many of its rival banks are not far behind. MBAs at JP Morgan say they routinely put in 72-hour weeks, while those at Morgan Stanley clock an average 70 hours weekly.

MBA jobs at the big global consulting firms don’t have it much easier. MBAs at McKinsey & Co., one of the most prestigious employers in the world, told Transparent MBA that they work an average of 72 hours per week. At Boston Consulting Group, it’s 63 hours every week, while at Bain & Co., the average is 58 hours per week. Bain’s numbers may be lower because the firm adopts a “home office” system to cut down on all the travel time.

THE TECH FIRM AT THE HIGH END OF MBA HOURS? AMAZON

The “easiest” MBA jobs when it comes to workloads? The big corporate giants and, surprisingly, many of the tech firms. MBAs who work for Microsoft average just 44 hours a week, while those who toil for Apple put in 52-hour weeks, a couple of hours below the median. Facebook MBAs average just an hour a week more at 53 hours, while Amazon MBAs hit the 54-hour a week median working for the e-commerce giant.

The MBA work life tends to be much more normal at such places as General Electric, PepsiCo, and 3M, where MBAs put in between 45 to 43 hours a week.

Despite the crazy hours, few will likely weep for these MBAs and the hardship they endure. When Transparent MBA crunched the compensation and hours together to get the effective hourly wage by industry, the pay certainly justified those long nights and weekends of work.

THE HIGH END HOURLY WAGE FOR AN MBA? $120.18 AT HEDGE FUNDS

At the top of the hourly wage game for MBAs? Hedge funds and mutual funds, which pay $129.46 an hour. They were followed by investment management jobs, where the effective hourly wage worked out to be $120.18. MBAs in consulting, in contrast, pulled down $69.87 an hour, while those in healthcare had an effective hourly wage of $64.03. Dead last, not surprisingly, was the hourly wage for MBAs who opted to work in a nonprofit: $27.08 an hour. But then, there is all that immeasurable psychic income from doing good.

The TransparentMBA numbers show that the average post-MBA offer clocks in at about $75/hour, representing an average total compensation of more than $200,000/year for MBA graduates who work 59 hours a week. While investment management pretty much rules the roost, tech jobs show up pretty well on the pay scale. As an industry, high tech placed third (e-commerce) and fifth (software) with an average of about $100/hour effective salary.

Consulting and I-banking fall to the middle despite generous overall compensation, says Kevin Marvinac, a co-founder of TransparentMBA. “Investment banking at $66 an hour and consulting at $70 an hour are jobs that fell due to high overall hours worked. However, these jobs will no doubt continue to be in high demand based on ancillary benefits like excellent training and the sheer volume of jobs available to MBAs.”

(See the average weekly hours clocked in by MBAs at leading companies on the following page)

  • Joe

    Does anyone think the McKinsey folks are exaggerating? They are such an outlier to the other 9 or so Consulting firms that are much more closely grouped.

  • danition69@gmail.com

    In Finland people work about 40 hours per week outside IB

  • MBA-Entrepreneur

    No entrepreneurs here?

  • spacewings

    Not sure about this, I am working in a French tech company making 50-55 hr/week on average.

  • bigmonkey

    Good stuff and very interesting. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out next from transparentmba. One thing to note though is that these are salaries and data points from graduates who are only up to working one full year since graduation right?
    It makes sense to see consulting and banking so low on the scale as their hours are incredible during the early years.
    It would be interesting to see what the outcome would look like with data points 3-5 years out of graduation as the senior roles in banking/consulting see a lot less hours worked and their compensation boosted immensely.

  • Warren

    French work 35 H/W.

  • Funny you should suggest that. We are working on that!

  • datadoubleclick

    John,

    Would be great to take page 2 one step further, as I’m sure the total compensation data are available for companies listed. It would be even more valuable to see per-hour comp on a company basis than only aggregated by function/industry. Consulting companies like McKinsey, Deloitte, and ZS are clustered around the same starting total comp (i know this from my classmates) but have major variation in hours worked.

  • meh

    Who works 40/wk anyway?

  • DiggaALittleDeeper

    I would take this data with a pinch of salt. I have friends who work at Facebook. They easily do 70+ hr weeks. In tech companies, depending on your role ofcourse, expect 55-60 hr weeks.