Wharton | Mr. LatAm Indian Trader
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
HEC Paris | Mr. Indian Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 2.1
Darden | Mr. Education Consulting
GRE 326, GPA 3.58
Wharton | Mr. MBB to PE
GMAT 740, GPA 3.98
Stanford GSB | Mr. Unrealistic Ambitions
GMAT 710, GPA 2.0
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. MBB Aspirant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Ms. Finance
GMAT 760, GPA 3.48
Harvard | Mr. Soldier Boy
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Worldwide
GMAT 730, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Angel Investor
GMAT 700, GPA 3.20
Rice Jones | Mr. ToastMasters Treasurer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. MBB Private Equity
GMAT TBD (target 720+), GPA 4.0
Said Business School | Ms. Creative Planner
GMAT 690, GPA 3.81 / 5.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Wedding Music Business
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 Auditor
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55
Harvard | Mr. Software PE
GMAT 760, GPA 3.45
Harvard | Mr. First Gen Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0 (First Class Honours)
Stanford GSB | Mr. Classic Candidate
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB/FinTech
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Break Into Buy-Side
GMAT 780, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Perseverance
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Politics Abroad
GRE 332, GPA 4.2/4.3
MIT Sloan | Mr. Canadian Banker
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Ms. Fintech To Tech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.54

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.