Chicago Booth | Mr. Indian O&G EPC
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Wharton | Ms. Product Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. Indian Globetrotter
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Jill Of All Trades
GRE 314, GPA 3.36
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Midwest Startup
GRE 328, GPA 3.51
Stanford GSB | Mr. S.N. Bose Scholar
GMAT 770, GPA 3.84
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB
GMAT 740, GPA 3.95
Wharton | Mr. Swing Big
GRE N/A, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Big Brother
GRE 329, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Nonprofit Admin
GMAT 620, GPA 3.3
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Three
GRE 310, GPA 2.7
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Big Pharma
GRE 318, GPA 3.3
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Kellogg | Mr. 770 Dreamer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.77/10
Tepper | Mr. Tech Strategist
GRE 313, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Musician To Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 1.6
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
Darden | Mr. Military Vet
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Ms. ELS
GRE 318, GPA 3.8
Wharton | Mr. Investment Banking
GMAT 750, GPA 3.1
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. US Army Veteran
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Techie Teacher
GMAT 760, GPA 3.80

The Million Dollar MBA Of The 2012 Class

CORRECTION: Manchester apparently misreported the million-dollar salary to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The mistake occurred as a result of a currency conversion. 

The unidentified MBA not only didn’t land his reported $1,088,638 base salary. In fact, the person’s starting salary was less than $90,000.

The salary error, first reported by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, did not impact the magazine’s recent rankings of business schools because starting salaries are not a factor in the BW rankings.

A spokesperson for the school apologized for the mistake. Before publication of our story, PoetsandQuants had called the school to ask for comment on the number, but the director of career services at Manchester had been on vacation.

“We have reviewed the data we received from our students for this year’s BusinessWeek ranking and it appears an error was made in the currency conversion of one individual’s salary, for which we are sorry,” said Clare Hudson, director of MBA careers at Manchester Business School.

“Although this hasn’t impacted our overall ranking position, we are working with the team at Bloomberg Business Week to ensure they have the correct data and we have already reviewed our processes to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.  Although a $1 million salary is remarkable for an MBA student, it isn’t unheard of as we have previously had a student achieve this salary graduating from our full-time MBA program.”

It was bound to happen someday. And for at least one MBA in the Class of 2012 it finally did. The graduating student landed a job with a starting base salary that broke the million-dollar barrier.

What is even more surprising is that it didn’t happen at a Harvard or Stanford or Wharton. Manchester Business School in Britain is reporting that one of its graduates from the Class of 2012  got a job in financial services for the largest reported starting salary in history for a freshly minted MBA: $1,088,638.

That’s more than nine times the $120,000 median starting salary of a Harvard MBA this year. And the million-dollar jackpot merely represents base salary, not a lot of the other goodies that are often dangled in front of the best and brightest MBAs: signing bonus, stock options, guaranteed year-end bonuses, or tuition reimbursements.

THE MANCHESTER STARTING SALARY IS NEARLY DOUBLE LAST YEAR’S HIGHEST REPORTED NUMBER

To give you a sense of just how extraordinary this number is, last year highest reported starting salary was for an MBA who graduated from London Business School. That graduate got a whopping $552,681-a-year job in the corporate sector in Australia.

In all probability, however, last year’s highest paid MBA hailed from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. The graduate entered the private equity field with a total compensation package of a mind-boggling $863,000.

Jonathan Masland, director of career development at Tuck, then said the big number was a new record and captured by a Tuck grad who did an independent job search. “That is the largest number I’ve seen,” he said. “In private equity, there is a performance structure that can be a lot. A really top MBA based on professional background would participate in the carried interest which can be substantial. That is part of typical private equity compensation.”

SALARY NUMBERS ARE SELF-REPORTED TO THE BUSINESS SCHOOLS

As is always the case, these numbers are self-reported by recent graduates to their business schools. The schools typically double check numbers that are on the extreme. To protect the confidentiality of the MBAs, the schools only disclose the base details of both the compensation and the industry in which the graduate landed the job. Manchester’s career services Director Clare Hudson was on holiday and could not be reached for comment. But the MBA who hit the salary lottery didn’t go to one of the school’s top employers this year led by American Express, KPMG, McKinsey & Co., and Johnson & Johnson. The lucky grad, moreover, pushed the average starting salary for Manchester MBAs who went into financial services to $143,196, from a more typically figure in the mid-80s.

The full employment reports for most business schools will trickle out in December and January. However, a few of the early numbers were reported by some schools to Bloomberg BusinessWeekfor its recent rankings project. Fordham University told BusinessWeek, for example, that its highest paid MBA graduates from the Class of 2012 reported a $500,000 starting salary in real estate and a $300,000 salary in non-profit management.

Most schools try to downplay these numbers so as not to raise unrealistic expectations. Harvard Business School, for example, does not report the high and low salary ranges for its MBAs. Instead, the school reports the 25th percentile salary and the 75th percentile. This year, the highest 75th percentile salary Harvard is reporting is for $200,000 for a graduate in the private equity or leveraged buyout field.

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.