Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Fanatic
GMAT 770, GPA 3.46
Wharton | Mr. Marketing Director
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Mr. Airline Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.73
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corporate VC Hustler
GMAT 780, GPA 3.17
Harvard | Mr. Smart Operations
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Darden | Mr. Strategy Manager
GRE 321, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Sovereign Wealth Fund
GMAT 730, GPA 3.55
Ross | Ms. Healthcare Startup
GRE 321, GPA 3.51
Georgetown McDonough | Ms. Air Force
GMAT 610, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Real Estate Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Emory Goizueta | Mr. Multimedia
GRE 308, GPA 3.4
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Poet At Heart
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Yale | Mr. Ukrainian Biz Man
GRE 310, GPA 4.75 out of 5
Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
GMAT 680, GPA 3.65
Stanford GSB | Mr. Sustainable Business
GRE 331, GPA 3.86
Wharton | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Yale | Ms. Impact Investing
GRE 323, GPA 3.8
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Food Waste Warrior
GMAT Not written yet (around 680), GPA 3.27
Stanford GSB | Ms. Future Tech Exec
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. Finance To Education
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Columbia | Mr. Aussie Military Man
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0 (rough conversion from Weighted Average Mark)
Harvard | Mr. Hopeful Philanthropist
GMAT 710, GPA 3.74
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech
GMAT Not Taken Yet, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Analytics Man
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1

MBAs That Return More Than $3 Million

Want to earn more than $3 million over the next 20 years? You’ll need to get into one of only seven MBA programs in the U.S., according to a new study of MBA career compensation out today (June 13).

Not surprisingly, Harvard MBAs pulled down the most: a whopping $3.6 million over a 20-year span. Wharton grads were next in the gravy train line, with $3.3 million in median pay, followed by Stanford MBAs whose estimated earnings hit were just shy of $3.3 million. And get this: these numbers don’t include stock grants or options, which would significantly increase these numbers.

PayScale crunched the data for Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s top 57 full-time MBA programs in the U.S. On average, graduates from these schools earned about $2.4 million each over a 20-year career, or $122,146 annually. BusinessWeek reported, however, that graduates of the 10 programs with the highest earnings brought home an average of just over $3 million each, or $153,568 a year, compared with under $2.3 million, or $114,752 annually, for the remaining 47 schools ranked by the magazine.

Of course, there’s more at work here than where a person got his or her MBA. Geography and industry choices also play an undetermined role in the estimates of compensation by PayScale, which collects salary data from individuals through online pay-comparison tools. For each school, PayScale estimated median cash compensation—including base pay and bonuses but not stock options—for five points in their careers. The numbers are based on a sample of 24,000 MBAs from the top 57 schools ranked by BusinessWeek.

The data below, for the top 25 highest earning MBAs, shows median pay ten years after graduation, 20 years out, and total pay over a career lasting 20 years. BusinessWeek calls the 20-year totals a “rough estimate.” Nonetheless, for most MBAs, that would mean compensation until they turn 48—long before retirement. So these numbers are fairly conservative estimates of pay over a career.


Business SchoolTotal Over 20 Years Median Pay 20 Years Out Median Pay 10 Years Out
1. Harvard Business School$3,606,601$217,000$169,000
2. Pennsylvania (Wharton)$3,340,334$200,000$155,000
3. Stanford$3,291,894$211,000$157,000
4. Columbia$3,203,292$188,000$153,000
5. Dartmouth (Tuck)$3,092,471$172,000$145,000
6. MIT (Sloan)$3,056,072$180,000$137,000
7. Northwestern (Kellogg)$3,034,837$195,000$135,000
8. California (Berkeley)$2,951,549$174,000$135,000
9. Chicago (Booth)$2,919,270$192,000$132,000
10. Virginia (Darden)$2,883,197$179,000$137,000
11. Yale School of Management$2,838,664$159,000$141,000
12. Duke (Fuqua)$2,814,183$172,000$132,000
13. Cornell (Johnson)$2,785,912$173,000$128,000
14. New York (Stern)$2,725,321$163,000$124,000
15. UCLA (Anderson)$2,702,338$159,000$131,000
16. Emory (Goizueta)$2,701,743$178,000$121,000
17. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)$2,654,521$159,000$126,000
18. Georgetown (McDonough)$2,618,025$170,000$115,000
19. Vanderbilt (Owen)$2,595,074$170,000$122,000
20. North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)$2,569,966$158,000$116,000
21. Notre Dame (Mendoza)$2,554,927$154,000$125,000
22. Texas-Austin (McCombs)$2,529,283$166,000$120,000
23. Michigan (Ross)$2,495,495$143,000$118,000
24. Southern California (Marshall)$2,446,050$143,000$118,000
25. Rice (Jones)$2,443,862$143,000$121,000

Source: Payscale for BusinessWeek


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.