MBAs At Microsoft, Bain & Google Top Pay Sweepstakes



For many that amount doesn’t mean much. For freshly minted MBAs, it should mean more. $54.06 is the average hourly wage a recently graduated MBA makes, according to a new study of pay by TransparentMBA.

The startup, founded by Chicago Booth School of Business students, is the Glassdoor for MBAs, tracking pay and lifestyle trends of MBA interns and graduates. The hourly wage data, based on reports from more than 700 MBAs at more than 80 schools across the world, tracks compensation of graduates in roles fewer than two positions after their MBA.

While $54.06 serves as a baseline, it doesn’t scratch the surface of the story. For instance, of the employers with more than 10 MBAs to report compensation amounts, none pays more per hour than Microsoft. Despite a relatively low total compensation average of $158,463, the 19 Microsoft MBAs to report data also reported working a not-too-demanding average of 45 hours a week, making the hourly rate come out to a $67.72 average. Next up was Bain & Company, where recently graduated MBAs can expect to make about $62.19 per hour. Meanwhile, at Google MBAs pulled down $61.33 per hour.

Near the bottom for companies with sufficient data points, according to TransparentMBA, are Amazon, McKinsey, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where MBAs make $45.15, $45.45, and $48.14, respectively. Interestingly, eight newly graduated MBAs at Fidelity Investments reported a total compensation average of $230,950 at 52 hours a week for a whopping $85.96 an hour average. Arguably more intriguing, at the bottom was five MBAs at Apple who reported making an average of $137,000 but worked 70 hours a week for an effective hourly wage of just $37.64.


Job function-wise, nothing is as lucrative as private equity. Recently graduated MBAs can expect to make a remarkable $85.98 an hour in the field. Working just 50 hours a week and making upward of $223,000 makes it an attractive, albeit elusive, job function. “A lot of MBAs are trying to break into it and you pretty much have to have an investment banking or private equity background if you want to come into private equity,” explains Kevin Marvinac, TransparentMBA co-founder and chief operating officer.

Not surprisingly, another increasingly attractive and lucrative job function for MBAs is venture capital. Also averaging just 50 hours a week, MBAs in venture capital are making $70.14 an hour, the TransparentMBA data reveals. Up next is investment management, where MBAs take in $70.05 an hour while working 58 hours a week. Marvinac believes venture capital is increasing in popularity because of the potential upside and the relatively light workloads of 45 hours a week for associates — the most common position for newbie MBAs. Toward the cellar are MBAs heading into human resources, where $37.80 an hour is the typical wage. Project managers and MBAs who land jobs in information technology don’t fare much better at $40.45 and $42.35 an hour, respectively.

In terms of total compensation, private equity again tops the list with an average of $223,538. Investment management is not far off, where recently graduated MBAs report an average of $209,447. “The compensation in some areas are pretty astronomical,” Marvinac points out, noting MBAs heading into investment management and hedge fund management.


Of course, MBAs headed into i-banking have little cause for worry. Freshly minted investment bankers make more than $195,000 on average. As Poets&Quants previously reported, they also work two traditional work weeks in one. Indeed, the nearly $200,000 doesn’t seem as attractive considering investment bankers report working an average of 79 hours a week — far more than any other industry. In fact, the next most worked industry is human resources, with an average of 16 hours a week less at 63 total hours.

“The data obviously shows what most people think and assume, which is that investment bankers coming out of MBA programs work a ton of hours,” says Marvinac, noting the tendency to use investment banking as a stepping stone to another position or career. “Great compensation packages, but a ton of hours,” he adds.

  • Michael Lee

    interns should be way more than 50 too. Maybe support services work only 50.

  • Kevin

    Scott – thanks for the comment. The career path data is part of our long-term goal – to be able to show prospective MBAs and students what their future can look like based on their post-MBA decisions. Stay tuned!

  • Hi Robust,

    In your pulled quote from the article you leave off the most important part of the sentence, which is “major career trends.” As stated throughout the article (and multiple articles covering TransparentMBA and their data), this data is interesting as a conversation (and thought) starter and job research point for MBAs.

    Keep in mind this is data from a (relatively) small subset of the population, which is MBAs in the first or second positions after graduating. For this subset, real estate was the most lucrative in terms of effective hourly wage. Obviously this is not always going to be the case, which is why Marvinac stated (and we reported) the data set clearly doesn’t tell the entire story of a lifetime career (or that MBAs are going to start ditching I-banking and tech for real estate in droves).

    Your experience might be that MBAs at major tech firms work just as many hours as the I-banks, but going off TransparentMBA’s data and the anecdotal data they reference, your experience seems to be not as common as what others are reporting.


  • It is great to see this level of detail by the TransparentMBA team. It will be interesting to see the progression over 5-10 years as well. I often ask former clients about their career growth and there is a quite a spread. For instance, salaries and bonuses at some consulting firms increase a lot over 5 years, whereas at other firms they may not jump as quickly.


  • Robust?

    “While Marvinac says the data is not yet robust enough to glean”

    Noted right after making an absurd statement based on said data: “real estate is most lucrative career”.

    That’s simply not true. Someone saying “I want to make as much money as possible” is not going into real estate. That’s great that the hours are lower and some MBAs do want that but “real estate is most lucrative”? Seriously?

    I love that y’all are covering this but instead of making assertions based on data you fully admit isn’t robust just to get a story, why not report the data then wait until it’s more robust to verify your claims?

    Lastly, saying that tech firms understand work life integration while banks don’t is silly. I have a tech background and no special love for banks (consulting intern) but IB was doing free meals way before it was cool at tech firms.

    MBAs are cool working crazy hours because the firm/tech is hip and they think they’re going to cash in, not because the work life balance is so amazing (otherwise everyone would be heading to real estate, right?).

  • anotherpeguy

    seriously wtf are these people smoking. maybe 50hrs/week as an intern…

  • Nick

    I’m curious how many people reported working in Real Estate and what function(s) they are. As an incoming MBA student studying Real Estate, the numbers are flattering but also much higher than I expected.

  • Kevin

    Hi LMAO – surprisingly, those are the numbers we see for Full-Time positions. However, we do have a relatively small sample size, and many are smaller firms or niche firms (e.g. focusing in real estate only, for example).

    For Internships, the hours worked is closer to what you may have in mind at 67 hours/week. We still see a huge variance – highest hours worked is 120/week and lowest is 40 – so it’s really firm- and market-dependent.

    You can see all the data for free at

  • lmao

    PE working 50hrs/week LMAO, this data clearly must be a joke.

  • Sherry

    I have an MBA & have only the capstone remaining for my MAFM & I don’t make anywhere NEAR that money. How depressing lol