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


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
London Business School$193,877 (Base salary)Finance
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 stimate based on HBS only disclosing top 75th percentile of base. ** INSEAD data for 2012 due to December graduation date.

  • Lara_MZ

    When you gamble i.e. taking on a student loan to get an MBA, you have to consider both the upside and the DOWNSIDE. Look at the range of salaries, the mean and the median. Worst case scenario – you get the lowest range. Best case scenario – you get $350k. Most likely scenario – you get the median. Down boy.

  • kiko

    Hes Turkish. Thats whats wrong with him.

  • Ashish Anand

    I completely agree with u on this man

  • Ashish Anand

    seriously what the hell is wrong with you?

  • What is wrong with you?

  • ddearborn


    6 digit salaries plus bonuses and perks for graduating MBA’s from the top 20 schools in the world is hardly news. In fact big bucks for top MBA’s isn’t really news at all. So what was the point again? It reads more like a 2 minute commercial from a PR firm trying to drum up business. It almost has the sound of desperation, and perhaps a bit of longing for the good old days when a Harvard MBA actually was solid gold………

    These days it is common knowledge that being the best and brightest usually doesn’t get you into these MBA programs. And perhaps the salaries are beginning to reflect this.

  • anil

    world is build like this …. monkeys sit and make lot more money than working group..this should change, technology shall be given more importance than executers

  • RP

    “Instead, it was an thirty-something” – “a thirty-something”, surely.

    Love the site.

  • kfbs

    If he’s in PE/VC, he probably negotiated a percentage of the fund’s carried interest, possibly in addition to a bonus. That $10K compensation number is most likely crap.

  • smart-boothie-data-guru

    It’s hard to draw any conclusion without the bonuses matching each salary, too bad schools don’t mention that. I guess the UCLA guy with a $10k base salary in PE/VC must have a monumental bonus.

    Will we have a more meaningful table, i.e. median/std dev salaries of each school?