Stanford GSB | Mr. Seller
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Government Consultant
GMAT 600, GPA 3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Space Launch
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Tuck | Mr. Recreational Pilot
GRE 326, GPA 3.99
Yale | Ms. Biotech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.29
INSEAD | Mr. Media Startup
GMAT 710, GPA 3.65
Kellogg | Ms. Clean Tech
GMAT 690, GPA 3.96
MIT Sloan | Ms. MD MBA
GRE 307, GPA 3.3
Tuck | Mr. Winning Team
GMAT 760, GPA 7.95 out of 10
Harvard | Mr. Research 2+2
GMAT 740, GPA 3.96
London Business School | Mr. Investment Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 2.2
Harvard | Mr. Renewable Energy Investing
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
NYU Stern | Mr. Long Shot
GRE 303, GPA 2.75
Darden | Ms. Teaching-To-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.47
Kellogg | Ms. Kellogg Bound Ideator
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
Wharton | Ms. PMP To MBA
GMAT 710, GPA 3.72
Kellogg | Mr. Sales Engineer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.00
Stanford GSB | Mr. LGBTQ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.58
Duke Fuqua | Mr. 2020
GMAT 630, GPA 3.92
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
Cambridge Judge | Mr. Versatility
GMAT 680, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Hustler
GMAT 760, GPA 4
Chicago Booth | Mr. M7 Aspirant
GMAT 760, GPA 3.79 / 4.00
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
HEC Paris | Mr. Indian Journalist
GMAT 690, GPA 2.8
Tepper | Mr. Family Biz
GRE 329, GPA 3.46
Stanford GSB | Just Jim
GRE 335, GPA 3.99

Six-Figure Havens for Global MBAs

Whose MBA grads are making the most dough? While there are a lot of factors that go into this, including the location of the school and the percentage of graduates entering the highest paid industries such as consulting and investment banking, these numbers are a good overall indication of quality. For one thing, how much money a grad three years out of school is making is a reflection of the quality of MBA candidates admitted to the school. Secondly, it’s a very good indicator of how well those MBAs are performing in their jobs.

On the other hand, these numbers also reflect both the pay and experience of students coming into these programs as well as the professions they tend to join once they have their MBAs. The fact that large numbers of MBAs from Harvard and Stanford head for high-paying jobs in consulting and finance helps their graduates get to the top of the list. A much higher percentage of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management graduates go into consumer packaging goods companies in brand management positions that don’t pay the kind of salaries MBAs routinely get in consulting firms and investment banks. Similarly, a lot of the business schools of public universities in the U.S. are farther down the ranks, in part because more of their MBAs end up in public accounting firms which don’t pay nearly as much as the big prestige consultants such as McKinsey, BCG, or Bain.

Among the surprises in this data set is the large number of non-U.S. schools, which have grads earning very good rates of pay. London Business School MBAs are averaging $141,606 three years out, higher than grads at Berkeley or Northwestern. Both London and INSEAD are in the top ten, respectively at nine and ten. Another shocker is that Harvard grads are earnings less than MBAs from Columbia and Wharton three years after graduation. Somewhat surprising is that graduates of Yale University’s School of Management, which rarely makes it into top 20 rankings of the best business schools, are in the top ten on salary.

One of the quirkiest findings is that the University of Cape Town’s business school grads are in the top 20 at exactly the last spot. Of any top 50 school on this ranking with the exception of one in Australia, Cape Town did deliver one of the smallest increases in salary from pre-MBA pay to three years after graduation: just 66%. Even so, Cape Town’s overall showing makes us a wee bit skeptical of some of the data, collected by accounting firm KPMG on behalf of the Financial Times. It’s worth pointing out the school that gave graduates the highest percentage increase over their pre-MBA salaries: MBAs with degrees from the Indian School of Business saw their salaries jump by a whopping 166% within three years of commencement. There could be some statistical anomalies in the data based on the number of responses from the alumni base of each of these schools.

We’re ranking the top 50 schools based on the current salary—not including bonuses and the value of other perks—of grads from the class of 2006, just before the recession really took hold.

BusinessSchoolAverage SalaryThree Years OutIncrease OverPre-MBA Salary
1.  Stanford$169,989110%
2.  Columbia$164,108121%
3.  Penn (Wharton)$163,561111%
4.  Harvard$161,336109%
5.  Chicago (Booth)$156,721116%
6.  Dartmouth (Tuck)$154,607112%
7.  MIT (Sloan)$154,300120%
8.  Yale$141,606131%
9.  London$141,606124%
10. INSEAD$140,497102%
11. Indian School of Business$140,202166%
12. California-Berkeley (Haas)$140,132166%
13. Northwestern (Kellogg)$139,310100%
14. IMD$139,20486%
15. Oxford (Said)$138,818108%
16. New York (Stern)$138,212121%
17. UCLA (Anderson)$138,103105%
18. IE Business School$134,392159%
19. Cape Town$133,35266%
20. Virginia (Darden)$132,623112%
21. Cranford$131,95489%
22. Cornell (Johnson)$130,954101%
23. IESE$129,734136%
24. Duke (Fuqua)$129,065101%
25. Cambridge (Judge)$128,714110%
26. Carnegie-Mellon (Tepper)$126,478102%
27. Michigan (Ross)$124,69796%
28. Australian School of Biz$122,89087%
29. ESADE-Spain$122,050126%
30. Emory (Goizueta)$121,973119%
31. HEC-France$121,944104%
32. City University (Cass)$120,63283%
33. Georgetown (McDonough)$120,574110%
34. Imperial College$120,306107%
35. Ceibs-China$119,309133%
36. Boston College (Carroll)$118,35296%
37. UNC (Kenan-Flagler)$116,09694%
38. USC (Marshall)$115,84091%
39. Texas-Austin (McCombs)$115,75090%
40. Hong Kong UST$115,535131%
41. Rice (Jones)$114,070105%
42. Macquarie Graduate School$113,79658%
43. Rotterdam (Erasmus)$113,640102%
44. Rochester (Simon)$113,480110%
45. Vanderbilt (Owen)$113,407103%
46. Lancaster$112,214131%
47. U.C.-Davis$112,12580%
48. Warwick$110,70086%
49. Manchester$110,59591%
50. Nanyang Business Sxhool$110,567109%


Financial Times, survey of average alumni salary three years after graduation. Data collected for the Class of 2006.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.