Wharton | Ms. PMP To MBA
GMAT 710, GPA 3.72
Columbia | Mr. CPA
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Health Clinic Founder
GRE 330, GPA 3
Tuck | Mr. Waterflooder
GMAT 700, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. E-Sports Coach
GRE 323, GPA 5.72/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Aspiring Tech Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.4
Tuck | Mr. Risk Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 7.1/10
Harvard | Mr. PE Strategist
GRE 326, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Student Product Manager
GMAT 760, GPA 3.4
London Business School | Ms. FANG Tech
GRE 321, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Mr. Corporate Development
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Sports Management
GMAT 690, GPA 3.23
Wharton | Mr. Private Equity Analyst
GRE 320, GPA 3.3
Wharton | Mr. Digital Health Start-Up
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. International Trade
GRE 323, GPA 3.6
Said Business School | Mr. Strategy Consulting Future
GMAT 720, GPA 3.98
Stanford GSB | Mr. Robotics
GMAT 730, GPA 2.9
London Business School | Mr. Supply Chain Latino
GRE 320, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Operations Manager
GRE 328, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Ms. Media Entertainment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
INSEAD | Mr. Jumbo GMAT
GMAT 770, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Basketball To B-School
GRE 334, GPA 3.73
INSEAD | Ms. Insightful Panda
GMAT 700, GPA 87.5%
NYU Stern | Mr. Bioinformatics
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Impact Investment
GMAT 760, GPA 3.2
Chicago Booth | Mr. Nonprofit-ish
GRE 333, GPA 3.81
INSEAD | Ms. Humble Auditor
GMAT 710, GPA 3.56

Highest Paid MBAs In The Class Of 2012

After a mistaken report that an MBA graduate of Manchester Business School landed a base salary of more than one million dollars last year, the actual numbers from other schools look rather puny for the Class of 2012. At the most prominent business schools, the highest starting salary went to an MBA of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business who ventured into private equity. The MBA started with a $260,000 base.

That pay, however impressive, is no match for some of last year’s big MBA winners. In 2011, the highest paid base went to a London Business School MBA who nailed a whopping $552,681-a-year job in the corporate sector in Australia. In fact, MBAs at four other schools–Wharton, Stanford, Chicago Booth, and Columbia–reported base salary of $300,000 or more last year–far more than the $260,000 total for a member of Stanford’s Class of 2012.

QUARTER OF A MILLION TO START FOR MBAS AT STANFORD, WHARTON AND MIT LAST YEAR

Still, a quarter of a million to start is nothing to sneeze at. And both Wharton and MIT Sloan had MBAs in the Class of 2012 reporting that they had gotten jobs with base salaries of $250,000 each in finance. MBAs at Chicago Booth and Columbia Business School were not far behind. Those two schools each reported a high base of $240,000 for MBAs who went into private equity (see table below).

Some of the reported sign-on bonuses this year were as lucrative as some of the highest base salaries. One Wharton graduate, for example, reported receiving a signing bonus of $200,000, while MBAs at both Stanford and New York University’s Stern School of Business landed signing bonuses of $150,000 each. At Dartmouth College’s Tuck School, one lucky MBA got a $142,000 sign-on bonus when the median for the class was just $25,000. Some 85% of Tuck’s Class of 2012 got sign-on bonuses with their new jobs.

WORK EXPERIENCE USUALLY REQUIRED TO HIT THE MBA PAY JACK POT

Often, the highest paid graduates are those with more work experience. The MBA at MIT Sloan who landed the top base pay of any grad this year–a cool quarter of a million to start–was a business undergraduate with more than five years of professional experience. The MBA got a investment management position in the Northeast. The $250,000 starting salary was more than double the $115,000 median for investment management for an MIT grad.

And there were a good number of surprises in the data. An MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School landed a job in manufacturing in the midwest with $90,000 in “other guaranteed compensation” in addition to a sign-on bonus and a base salary.

Highest-Paid MBA Graduates of 2012

Source: School employment reports for 2012
Notes: * Harvard only publishes data on the 75th percentile base salary. ** This is the median other compensation in private equity.

DON’T MISS: LONDON MBA LANDS HIGHEST SALARY OF 2011 or OOPS! NO MILLION DOLLAR MBA AFTERALL

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.