London Business School vs. UPenn’s Wharton

Poets&Quants:

Surprisingly, the largest single chunk of MBAs at Wharton have undergraduate backgrounds in the humanities and social sciences. At first blush, you’d expect to see far more math and engineering folks here because of the school’s strength in finance. Instead, you get a sizable group of poets.

Undergrad DegreesWhartonLondon
Humanities/Social Science42%NA
Engineering/Math30%NA
Business/Economics28%NA

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Jobs and Pay:

MBAs from London Business School are getting salary and bonus offers that exceed those of graduates from the best U.S. schools. In the Class of 2009, starting pay packages averaged $137,429, nearly $14,000 more per offer than those at Wharton. The reason: Largely, it’s the cost-of-living impact. The cost of living in London–and most of Europe–is considerably higher than it is in the U.S., accounting for much of the difference. About 51% of the graduates stay in the United Kingdom.

The estimates of median pay and bonus five years after commencement come from the Forbes’ survey of the best business schools and include an analysis of compensation for the Class of 2008. The median pay estimates 10 years after graduation and over a full career come from a study by PayScale done for BusinessWeek and do not include stock options or equity stakes by entrepreneurs. The study did not include schools outside the U.S.

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Job & Pay DataWhartonLondon
Starting salary & bonus$123,741$137,429
MBAs employed at commencement65.8%NA
MBAs employed 3 months after commencement74.6%81.0%
Median pay and bonus five years after commencement$200,000$209,000
Estimated median pay ten years after commencement$161,000NA
Estimated median pay & bonus over a full career$3,491,372NA

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Who Hires Who:

London Business School does surprisingly well, given its relatively small size. Befitting its location, finance looms large. In 2007, 46% of the school’s grads headed for jobs in financial services. Two years later, the global economic decline led to a 10-percentage point drop so that only 36% of the Class of 2009 went into finance jobs. Picking up the slack were consulting firms which scooped up 31% of London’s output, up from just 23% two years earlier. One surprise in the numbers in the table below: Prestige financial players such as Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan Chase, significant recruiters at Wharton and other top U.S. b-schools, were nowhere to be found at London Business School. Just as significant, it’s worth pointing out that more Wharton grads go into health care, technology, and consumer products and retail companies than those at London. NA does not necessarily mean that a company didn’t hire any graduates from the school, but rather that the number of grads it did hire did not qualify it for breakout treatment by the school. The cutoff number at Wharton was six hires; at London, it was two hires.

Hiring CompanyNumber of Hires

at WhartonNumber of Hires

at LondonMcKinsey & Co.5021Boston Consulting Group3110Bain & Co.186Morgan Stanley13NACitigroup123JP Morgan Chase12NADeloitte Consulting10NADeutsche Bank105Goldman Sachs94Credit Suisse89Microsoft8NAPacific Investment Mgt.8NAAmazon72Booz & Co.77BofA/Merrill Lynch76Barclays Capital611Johnson & Johnson64UBS3*2American Express3*2A.T. Kearney3*5Accenture3*3General Mills3*3Fidelity3*3PricewaterhouseCoopersNA2NomuraNA3Standard Chartered Bank3*3

About the Author...

John A. Byrne

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.