Record Breaking MBA Pay At Stanford GSB

Maeve Richard, assistant dean and director of the Career Management Center at the Stanford Graduate School of Business - Ethan Baron photo

Maeve Richard, assistant dean and director of the Career Management Center at the Stanford Graduate School of Business – Ethan Baron photo

Given those massive numbers, finance attracted nearly one in three members of Stanford’s Class of 2015. Some 31% of the class ventured into finance this year, up from 29% last year. Tech firms hired 28% of Stanford’s MBAs, up four percentage points from last year’s 24% level. Many consulting firms obviously came up short at Stanford, even though they increased their base salary offers to a $130,000 median, up $5K over 2014. Consultants recruited a record low 14% of the class, down from 16% a year earlier. Only four years ago in 2011, consulting attracted 27% of Stanford’s MBA output.

The job market was so good that Stanford MBAs became quite choosy over their opportunities. The school revealed that five graduates reneged on offers they had accepted. Some 79% of the class had offers at graduation, but only 72% had accepted them at that time. Ninety days after commencement, 92% of the school’s 259 job seekers in the MBA Class of 2015 reported receiving job offers, down two percentage points from last year’s 94% level. But job acceptances at the same time fell to 86% from 92% last year as MBAs became more selective.


“This cohort has a very positive outlook on the market and a higher tolerance for risk,” said Maeve Richard, said assistant dean and director of the Career Management Center. “The strong market has allowed them to defer decisions about multiple offers, and in some cases, turn down offers to remain focused on searching for an ideal opportunity. Stanford MBAs care deeply about making a difference and a job’s potential for impact, and they are willing to wait until they find the position that suits them best.”

Within the tech sector, the school said that continued diversification has led to the addition over the last few years of subcategories that account for emerging areas such as marketing, education, retail, and manufacturing, which have been added to the traditional categories of Internet services/e-commerce, software, and consumer electronics/hardware. Though highly popular at Stanford, those tech jobs pay far less than the most lucrative positions in finance.

Stanford said the median base for an MBA in tech this year was $125,000, some $25,000 less than the overall median salary for those who entered finance (see table below for the stunning numbers for Stanford MBAs taking finance jobs.) The average pay difference was even greater with MBAs going into finance landing average salaries of $158,849 versus $120,383 in tech–a stunning $38,500 gap. The median signing bonus in tech was $29,000, some $8,500 less than the $37,500 sign-on bonuses in finance. The biggest difference occurred in the median guaranteed annual bonus number which in finance was more than five times larger than tech: $108,750 vs. $20,000.

How do these numbers compare against Stanford’s peer schools? They are far and away, the highest reported MBA compensation numbers ever reported by a school (see chart below for comparisons).