At MIT Sloan, the highest paid MBA landed a consulting job in Europe that pays $166,800 a year, 39% above the school’s median for consulting gigs. At the University of Virginia’s Darden School, the top paying gig was landed by a graduate with a dual degree from the university’s business and law schools. He went to work for a law firm for a base salary of $160,000 in the Mid-Atlantic.
Though Wharton is not expected to release its 2011 employment report until the week of Dec. 12th, preliminary data shows that one Wharton grad snagged a $300,000 bonus this year. In this case, it was a signing bonus. The school also reported that the highest starting salary for an MBA at Wharton this year was $375,000, the highest yet reported by any school, while the highest guaranteed bonus was $230,000. Further detail is not available at this stage until the employment report is released.
Harvard Business School attempts to play down their highest paid grads by reporting the compensation highs for what it calls the 75th percentile, excluding the numbers for the top 25% of the highest income earners. This year, Harvard said the 75th percentile was for an MBA in New England with a base salary of $200,000. The school did not identify the industry in which the MBA works.
HIGHEST SALARIES TEND TO BE PAID BY PRIVATE EQUITY AND HEDGE FUNDS
By and large, the highest-starting salaries these days are being paid by private equity firms and hedge funds which recruit far fewer MBAs than the elite consulting firms and investment banking partnerships that buy MBAs in the boatloads. Among the largest private equity players, TPG Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) are known as the highest paying PE shops.
Not far behind, according to a recruiter for a top private equity firm, are Blackstone, Bain Capital, Carlyle Group, Providence, and Apollo. Even so, median pay in private equity isn’t nearly as large as these big numbers. At Harvard, the median salary for an MBA going into private equity this year was $130,000 while those gaining jobs in the hedge fund field gained median base salaries of $150,000.
Highest Reported Base Salaries For MBAs in 2011
|HIghest Paid 2011 Base Salaries||School||Job||Location|
|$300,000||Chicago (Booth)||Private Equity||NA|
|$300,000||Columbia||Hedge Fund||New York|
|$250,000||Duke (Fuqua)||Investment Banking||Northeast|
SOURCE: Business school employment reports. An asterisk for Harvard indicates that the school only releases compensation figures at the 75th percentile of a range of figures.