Cornell Johnson | Mr. FinTech Startup
GMAT 570, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Ms. Future Tech Exec
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Sustainable Business
GRE 331, GPA 3.86
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech
GMAT Not Taken Yet, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Analytics Man
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Hopeful Philanthropist
GMAT 710, GPA 3.74
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Darden | Ms. Teaching-To-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.47
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Yale | Mr. Ukrainian Biz Man
GRE 310, GPA 4.75 out of 5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Future Angel Investor
GMAT 620, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Ms. Software Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.84
Harvard | Mr. PE Strategist
GRE 326, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. FBI To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.85
Harvard | Mr. MBB Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
Yale | Ms. Impact Investing
GRE 323, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Cal Poly
GRE 317, GPA 3.2
Darden | Ms. Business Reporter
GMAT 2150, GPA 3.6
Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
GMAT 680, GPA 3.65
Harvard | Ms. IB Deferred
GMAT 730, GPA 3.73
Harvard | Mr. Amazon Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
Kellogg | Mr. Military In Silicon Valley
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. E-Sports Coach
GRE 323, GPA 5.72/10
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

What You Can Expect To Make With An MBA From A Top School



How valuable is an MBA degree? You can answer that question in any number of ways. But the bottom-line answer might well be how much money you will earn immediately upon graduation.

Anyway you look at it, 2014 was a very good year for average salary and bonus. At many schools, including Harvard and Stanford, it was the first year that average pay exceeded pre-recession levels. The $144,750 average commanded by Harvard MBAs was finally above the $144,261 that members of the Class of 2008 received. The $142,834 average by Stanford MBAs exceeded the $140,771 received by Stanford grads in 2008. And at nearly all the schools, average pay hit new record levels.

MBA graduates from 44 different business schools in the U.S. landed jobs with six-figure pay packages last year, up from 24 in 2010 when the Great Recession had its biggest impact on the entry job market. The last five years have witnessed a complete recovery from the deepest part of the Great Recession. Average salary and bonus at all business schools fell, often dramatically, for MBAs who graduated in 2010. Since then, double-digit pay increases in first year MBA compensation have occurred at many business schools.


Indeed, some of the biggest gains were at schools that were hit hardest by the recession. At the University of Michigan’s Ross School, average salary and bonus has jumped 20.9% in the past five years to $140,497 in 2014, making Ross one of only seven schools in the U.S. with average pay above $140K. But when the recession’s impact on Ross in 2010 was severe: Average MBA pay fell by nearly $10,000 to $116,201 from $125,995 a year earlier.

But the biggest percentage increases since the Great Recession occurred at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, a beneficiary of the soaring economy in Seattle. Helped greatly by Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks, average salary and business for Foster MBAs has risen by 36.9% since 2010 to $125,367 from $91,593. At the University of Rochester’s Simon School, average MBA pay is up 30.6% to $101,961 from $78,083 in 2010. And at Emory University’s Goizueta School, average salary and bonus for MBAs has jumped by 28.0%, the third highest increase, to $128,347 from $100,300 at the height of the recession. At 15 U.S. schools, average pay has increased by 20% or more percent since 2010 (see table below)

The latest compensation numbers are reported by the schools to U.S. News & World Report for its ranking of the best full-time MBA programs published earlier this week. These numbers differ from those reported by schools in their employment reports because the average signing bonus is weighted by the proportion of those graduates who reported a bonus. As such, the averages are more in line with what students can expect because not everyone in a class reports a signing bonus.

Biggest Increases in Average Salary & Bonus Since The Great Recession

SchoolIncrease2014 Average Pay2010 Average Pay
University of Washington (Foster)36.9%$125,367$91,593
University of Rochester (Simon)30.6%$101,961$78,083
Emory University (Goizueta)28.0%$128,347$100,300
University of Florida (Hough)26.0%$94,986$75,403
Georgia Institute of Technology (Scheller)24.9%$115,279$92,282
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)24.3%$131,865$106,066
Washington University (Olin)23.4%$111,974$90,767
Ohio State (Fisher)23.2%$112,883$91,628
Arizona State (Carey)22.6%$112,884$92,101
Vanderbilt University (Owen)21.9%$113,830$93,351
University of Michigan (Ross)20.9%$140,497$116,201
Purdue University (Krannert)20.9%$108,426$89,655
Texas A&M University (Mays)20.8%$110,219$91,246
Boston University20.4%$108,558$90,157
Penn State University (Smeal)20.4%$114,971$95,480

Source: Business schools reporting to U.S. News & World Report


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.