Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
London Business School | Mr. FANG Strategy
GMAT 740, GPA 2.9
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. Hopeful Fund Manager
GMAT 770, GPA 8.52/10
MIT Sloan | Mr. Healthtech Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.44
Harvard | Mr. Navy Nuke
GMAT 710, GPA 3.66
London Business School | Mr. LGBT Pivot
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Rice Jones | Mr. Student Government
GMAT 34 (ACT for Early Admit Program), GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Columbia | Mr. Energy Italian
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. SME Consulting
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55 (as per WES paid service)
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Quality Assurance
GMAT 770, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8

Where Six-Figure MBA Pay Is A Done Deal

moneytreeFor the MBA Class of 2008, the year started out like a song. By the time New York investment bank Bear Stearns collapsed in March, most MBAs already had their job offers in hand. And when all hell broke loose in mid-September, with Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers filing for bankruptcy, the Class of 2008 was already settled into their jobs.

So when you look back four years ago at MBA pay in 2008, it looked pretty good. Harvard Business School MBAs landed average salary and bonus that year of $144,261, the highest of any U.S. school. Stanford Graduate School of Business MBAs were not far behind, averaging $140,771.

The global financial crisis, however, soon wrecked complete havoc with both the job market and starting pay. A new analysis by Poets&Quants shows that for a few schools at least, a full recovery has yet to occur. Harvard MBAs who graduated last year, for example, made less than their counterparts four years ago in 2008–$142,501 in 2012 versus the $144,261 for the Class of 2008.

Yet, there are other top schools where MBAs have seen average starting salaries and bonuses not only recover from the financial implosion but have also grown. That has been especially true at Emory University’s Goizueta School, the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School, and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. From 2008 to 2012, average starting salary and bonus have increased by 14.8%, 13.6% and 11.2%, respectively.

MBAs AT EMORY, MINNESOTA & DUKE HAVE SEEN BIGGEST JUMPS IN PAY

Emory’s Class of 2012 averaged $124,066, up from $108,107 four years earlier. Carlson’s MBA graduates last year averaged $118,986 in salary and bonus, up from $104,745. And Fuqua’s Class of 2012 averaged $136,461 in starting pay, up from $122,742. These sums do not include other pay including tuition reimbursement, travel expenses, stock grants, or guaranteed year-end bonuses.

The analysis is based on newly published data provided by the business schools to U.S. News & World Report for its recently published annual ranking of the best full-time MBA programs in the U.S. One major benefit of the U.S. News data is that it is a true average of starting salaries and bonuses for MBA grads. Almost all the schools report these numbers separately and fail to take account of the fact that all grads do not receiving signing bonuses. U.S. News includes the MBAs in a class who failed to get a signing bonus so that the number is the real average.

SIX-FIGURE SALARIES AND BONUSES ARE AVERAGE AT 39 U.S. BUSINESS SCHOOLS

The results are fairly revealing for a number of reasons. All together, there are 39 business schools in the U.S. alone whose graduates make six-figure salaries and bonuses right out of the gate. And when you look back at the trend line from 2008, only MBAs at five of the 39 schools are making the same or less last year than the graduating class four years earlier.

And who would have thought that Dartmouth Tuck’s MBAs are being paid better by the market than those from Wharton, Chicago Booth, Columbia or Northwestern? And guess whose MBAs are highest paid immediately after No. 1 Harvard and No. 2 Stanford? It’s the graduates of MIT Sloan who landed average salary and bonus last year of $139,035.

One obvious caveat: These are unadjusted numbers. They don’t account for geography or industry choice. So schools in urban metro areas, such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago, are likely to send more graduates into jobs that are higher paying than schools in Austin, Texas, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Bloomington, Indiana. The same is true for schools that funnel large numbers of graduates into high-paying consulting and financial jobs.

(See the following page for our table of the schools where MBAs graduate with six-figure salaries and bonuses)

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.