Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
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
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare PE
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Military Quant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Kellogg | Mr. Concrete Angel
GRE 318, GPA 3.33
Kellogg | Mr. Maximum Impact
GMAT Waiver, GPA 3.77
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Wharton | Ms. Interstellar Thinker
GMAT 740, GPA 7.6/10
Harvard | Mr. Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Female Sales Leader
GMAT 740 (target), GPA 3.45
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Ms. Gay Techie
GRE 332, GPA 3.88
INSEAD | Mr. Product Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 63%

The Business Schools That Create The Most ‘Market Value’


There’s the Fortune 500 which ranks and stacks the top 500 corporations by annual revenue.

There’s the Forbes 500 which ranks companies by stock market valuation.

And now there’s the Poets&Quants’ market value creation rank for the top business schools in the U.S..

As is true with either the Fortune or Forbes 500, size does indeed matter. So it will come as no surprise that the estimated value of the graduating Class of 2014 at Harvard Business School–based on the total compensation paid to 905 members of that class–significantly beat every other MBA program. The class’ market value: $141 million.


In fact, only three MBA programs in the U.S. topped the $100 million mark. Wharton, which had 815 graduates in its Class of 2014, put MBAs into the market worth $122.3 million. Columbia Business School, wit hits 719 full-time MBA graduates in 2014, was third with $104.8 million.

Rounding out the top five were the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Booth came in at $82.9 million, while Kellogg was close behind at $80.0 million.

The analysis by Poets&Quants include average salary, bonus, and other compensation multiplied by the number of graduates in a school’s class. The numbers are meant to be estimates of what employers would pay if all the members of a graduating class were available for hire. In essence, then, the sum captures the near-term “value” of the MBA graduates a school puts into the marketplace.


While the “market value” of an MBA class may have be relevant to a business school’s potential near-term impact, the more revealing numbers for applicants and students alike may well be the total compensation packages received by graduates. Though Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business ranked seventh among U.S. schools, graduating 393 MBAs in 2014, for example, its grads nailed down the largest average total comp per person: $169,274.

That number includes average starting base salary, signing bonus, and other first-year compensation. The number, moreover, is weighted by the proportion of graduates who reported sign-on bonuses and other compensation so it reflects the true average comp for a class’s MBAs since not all graduates get signing bonuses or other first-year compensation.

MBA pay, looked at this way, includes quite a few surprises. Stanford grads on average are pulling down pay packages that are nearly $14,000 higher than the MBAs at HBS. If you look at average salary and sign-on bonus, it’s very close. The big difference is in ?other compensation” reported by 37.5% of Stanford’s class vs. 16.5% of Harvard’s class, or an average of $70,505 at the GSB vs. $63,216 at HBS. And it must be said that these are conservative numbers. The average pay package figures do not include tuition reimbursement, relocation expense reimbursement, auto allowance, profit sharing, 401K match, stock or stock options.


That’s not the only surprise. The MBAs at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business actually scored higher average total comp packages than HBS grads: $157,347 vs. $155,817, respectively. Credit the super expensive Bay Area and the perks companies are awarding for MBA talent. Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business was fourth in total compensation, with Tuck MBAs averaging $155,037.

Another big shocker in the data was the strong showing by the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business where average comp packages hit a school record $151,838. Also somewhat surprising was the market performance of MBAs from Duke University’s Fuqua School where the average compensation packages totaled $152,352. Those numbers even exceeded the averages at Wharton which posted a $150,113 mean comp package.

In all, only seven U.S. schools delivered average compensation of $150K or up: Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard, Dartmouth, Duke, Michigan, and Wharton. Just missing that level of total pay were Columbia Business School, where the average comp was $148,060, MIT Sloan, where the average was $147,561, and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia whose MBAs landed average starting compensation of $145,434.

(See following page for our interactive table on compensation at the top 25 U.S. MBA programs)

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.