Highest & Lowest Paid MBAs of 2013


Of course, looking at the extreme highs in pay can easily create unrealistic expectations. So it’s equally important to have a look at the other extreme: how little an MBA from a top school can make. More often than not, the lowest reported starting salaries are accepted by graduates who venture into the non-profit or social sector–or who take jobs with massive potential payouts at year-end. The year’s lowest reported salary: Just $15,000 for a University of Michigan MBA who went into “services.”

Yet, at several top schools there were plenty of grads who reported accepting jobs that paid $50,000 a year or less–far below the average pre-MBA pay of their classmates.  A Fuqua MBA who went the social enterprise route accepted a $24,000-a-year job. An MBA in the Class of 2013 at the University of Michigan’s Ross School reported receiving a $15,000-a-year position in “services,” also presumably in the social sector. The lowest-paid Wharton grad walked out with a $30,000 job in an unknown field.

In a surprising number of cases, the lowest paid MBAs were not the non-profit types. At INSEAD, the lowest paid graduate in 2012 (the school’s commencement for its one-year MBA program is in December) was just $21,900 for a corporate planning job in media and entertainment in Asia Pacific. At Stanford, one MBA reported taking a $40,000-a-year job in consumer products and services, probably with a startup and a piece of equity. The lowest starting salary for the 5% of Stanford grads who went into the non-profit sector was $75,000, well above the lows in technology as well as media and entertainment. In fact, the high was a respectable $98,000 base. Nice work if you can get it, especially for a non-profit.

Highest Reported Base Salaries By Top Business Schools In 2013


London Business School               $193,877 (Base salary)          Finance

School Compensation Industry
Northwestern (Kellogg) $375,000 (Base salary) Investment Management
Pennsylvania (Wharton) $350,000 (Base salary) Unknown
Columbia Business School $310,000 (Base salary) Private Equity
Duke (Fuqua) $260,000 (Base salary) Energy/General Management
Chicago (Booth) $250,000 (Base salary) Private Equity
INSEAD  $247,000 (Base salary) ** Private Equity
NYU (Stern) $237,600 (Base salary) Hedge Fund
Stanford Graduate School of Business $225,000 (Base salary) Private Equity
Harvard Business School $222,000 (Base salary) * Private Equity
IE Business School $182,800 (Base salary) General Management
Dartmouth (Tuck) $180,000 (Base salary) Real Estate
Georgetown (McDonough) $180,000 (Base salary) Finance
Michigan (Ross) $168,000 (Base salary) Investment Banking
MIT (Sloan) $165,000 (Base salary) Private Equity
Emory (Goizueta) $162,000 (Base salary) Financial Services
Virginia (Darden) $160,000 (Base salary) Unknown
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) $160,000 (Base salary) Consulting
Indiana (Kelley) $160,000 (Base salary) Unknown
UCLA (Anderson) $160,000 (Base salary) Law

Source: Business school employment reports for 2013.  Note: * Conservative estimate based on HBS only disclosing top 75th percentile of base. ** INSEAD data for 2012 due to December graduation date.

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