Tuck | Mr. First Gen Student
GMAT 740, GPA 3.0
Columbia | Mr. Global Healthcare
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Airline Developer
GMAT 710 (planning a retake), GPA 3.48
Harvard | Mr. First Gen Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0 (First Class Honours)
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 Auditor
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD Explorer
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Automotive Project Manager
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
NYU Stern | Mr. Honor Roll Student
GRE 320, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthtech Venture
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
MIT Sloan | Mr. AI & Robotics
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Social Entrepreneur
GRE 328, GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. Industry Switch
GMAT 760, GPA 3.95
Stanford GSB | Mr. Irish Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Marine Executive Officer
GRE 322, GPA 3.28
Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Tough Guy
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86

What Top MBAs Earn Five Years Out

Which school’s MBAs are earning the largest salaries five years after graduation? According to today’s (Aug. 3, 2011) data from Forbes magazine, it’s clearly Harvard Business School’s graduates who last year reported a median salary of $230,000. Wharton grads are not far behind, with a median salary of $225,000, followed by Stanford and Chicago Booth, both at $205,000.

What impact did the Great Recession have on the salaries of MBAs? It’s a mixed bag, based on the data gathered by Forbes from graduates who responded to its survey. Some 14 of the top 25 schools in median salary were up over their numbers two years ago, while 11 were down.

The biggest gainers include some surprises: Georgia Tech MBAs saw their median salaries jump by $27,000 over those surveyed two years earlier, the largest increase of any school in the top 25. Wharton was next with an increase of $25,000, followed by Texas at Austin and Virginia’s Darden School, which both went up by $19,000, and Northwestern’s Kellogg School, with an increase of $18,000.

The biggest losers, according to the Forbes data? Stanford MBAs saw their median salaries five years after graduation decline by $15,000, more than any other top 25 business school. The news also was bad for Rice University’s Jones School MBAs (down $14,000), University of Southern California’s Marshall School MBAs (down $11,000), and New York University’s Stern School along with Yale’s School of Management MBAs (both down $10,000 in the past two years).

Those who believe the MBA degree has less value today than previously will find no evidence to support that conclusion in this data from Forbes. The graduates of every single school on the top 25 list reported higher median pay last year than six years earlier. And MBAs from six different schools report making $200,000 or more in median salary vs. five in 2009, two in 2007 and none in 2005.  In many cases, the increases are significant, especially if you factor in the likelihood that many companies held back raises and promotions during the recession.

Harvard MBAs zoomed to $230,000 from $180,000 six years ago; Wharton MBAs saw their median salaries five years out jump to $225,000 from $177,000. Duke MBA pay went to $162,000 from just $121,000 six years ago.



School & Rank2010 Salary(Five Years Out)2008 Salary(Five Years Out)2006 Salary(Five Years Out)2004 Salary(Five Years Out)
1. Harvard Business School$230,000$215,000$200,000$180,000
2. Pennsylvania (Wharton)$225,000$200,000$196,000$177,000
3. Stanford$205,000$225,000$200,000$160,000
4. Chicago (Booth)$205,000$210,000$199,000$164,000
5. Dartmouth (Tuck)$200,000$205,000$180,000$165,000
6. MIT (Sloan)$200,000$190,000$159,000$145,000
7. Columbia$198,000$182,000$188,000$160,000
8. Northwestern (Kellogg)$183,000$165,000$170,000$143,000
9. Cornell (Johnson)$180,000$168,000$145,000$136,000
10. Virginia (Darden)$178,000$159,000$149,000$139,000
11. Berkeley (Haas)$171,000$163,000$148,000$128,000
12. Duke (Fuqua)$162,000$148,000$130,000$121,000
13. NYU (Stern)$160,000$170,000$198,000$150,000
14. UCLA (Anderson)$159,000$160,000$143,000$137,000
15. Yale$150,000$160,000$150,000$134,000
16. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)$147,000$145,000$119,000$118,000
17. Michigan (Ross)$146,000$155,000NA$135,000
18. Texas-Austin (McCombs)$144,000$125,000$125,000$108,000
19. USC (Marshall)$144,000$155,000$140,000$115,000
20. Vanderbilt (Owen)$140,000$128,000$110,000$120,000
21. Georgetown (McDonough)$138,000$147,000$128,000$130,000
22. UNC (Kenan-Flagler)$136,000$142,000$121,000$125,000
23. Emory (Goizueta)$128,000$121,000$126,000$105,000
24. Georgia Tech$127,000$100,000$110,000$100,000
25. Rice (Jones)$126,000$140,000$128,000$115,000

Source: Forbes MBA rankings from 2005 to 2011



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.