A New Salary-Vs-Debt MBA Ranking

SoFi co-founders Dan Macklin (L) and James Finnigan - Ethan Baron photo

SoFi co-founders Dan Macklin (L) and James Finnigan – Ethan Baron photo

“The worst MBA programs . . . you’re coming out with debt that is bigger than your salary, which is not a good mix,” Macklin says. “If I was considering applying for an MBA at these schools I would want to know that information. I’m fairly sure that that information isn’t easily available to MBA applicants, deliberately so.”

SoFi’s numbers come from more than 240,000 approved and denied refinancing applicants, over a 21-month period when the applicants were an average of three years out of their MBA programs. For those who didn’t receive financing, the salary numbers are self-reported, but Macklin says applicants know SoFi will check so they typically provide accurate information. “It’s extremely reliable. This is based on real information from real people who have come out the other side and have graduated but still have the debt and the scars to go with it,” Macklin says.


It perhaps should be noted that U.S. News & World Report this year identified a largely different set of schools according to what MBAs make right out of school, and found much higher initial salary-to-debt ratios for many schools than was found for any institutions listed in SoFi’s report on salaries three years out. The U.S. News top spot for salary-to-debt ratio went to the University of Tulsa Collins College of Business, where grads averaged $61,000 in starting compensation but faced a measly $10,500 in average debt, for a whopping 5.8X ratio. The University of Washington Foster School had a 3.6X ratio, with $106,000 salaries and less than $30,000 in debt.

SoFi was founded in 2011 by Macklin and Mike Cagney, both master’s students in the Stanford GSB Sloan program (now the MSx program), and James Finnigan. On top of its $4 billion in student loan refinancing, the company has issued another $1 billion in mortgage and personal lending. In September, SoFi received $1 billion in Series E financing, on top of some $766 million raised previously.

Salaries & Debt At 20 Top MBA Schools

School Poets&Quants Rank Average  Salary 3 years post-graduation Average Debt Salary-to-Debt Ratio
Columbia Business School 5 $183,472 $121,213 1.5x
The Wharton School 3 $182,214 $113,676 1.6x
Stanford Graduate School of Business 1 $177,590 $76,987 2.3x
MIT Sloan School 7 $161,760 $93,753 1.7x
Harvard Business School 2 $158,372 $83,778 1.9x
Chicago Booth 4 $157,408 $111,361 1.4x
Dartmouth Tuck 8 $156,448 $89,282 1.8x
Northwestern Kellogg 6 $153,061 $99,234 1.5x
Berkeley Haas 10 $152,439 $86,197 1.8x
NYU Stern 16 $149,365 $101,580 1.5x
London Business School P&Q non-U.S. rank: 1 $148,852 $95,983 1.6x
Virginia Darden 13 $144,927 $106,526 1.4x
Yale SOM 12 $140,508 $103,189 1.4x
Duke Fuqua 9 $139,227 $106,236 1.3x
Michigan Ross 11 $139,049 $98,865 1.4x
Cornell Johnson 15 $138,751 $105,301 1.3x
UCLA Anderson 14 $138,733 $90,823 1.5x
Georgetown McDonough 22 $137,464 $102,424 1.3x
USC Marshall 26 $137,123 $101,800 1.3x
UNC Kenan-Flagler 18 $134,536 $95,666 1.4x

Source: SoFi

NEXT PAGE: MBA Programs with the Highest Salary-to-Debt Ratios

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