Stanford GSB | Ms. Quadrilingual Amazon
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
INSEAD | Mr. Product Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 63%
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Mr. Concrete Angel
GRE 318, GPA 3.33
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Harvard | Mr. Military Quant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare PE
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Ms. Female Sales Leader
GMAT 740 (target), GPA 3.45
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Gay Techie
GRE 332, GPA 3.88
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Columbia | Mr. Energy Italian
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Quality Assurance
GMAT 770, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
NYU Stern | Ms. Luxury Retail
GMAT 730, GPA 2.5
Stanford GSB | Ms. Russland Native
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Aerospace Engineer
GRE 327, GPA 3.92
N U Singapore | Mr. Naval Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2

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.