McCombs School of Business | Ms. Registered Nurse Entrepreneur
GMAT 630, GPA 3.59
Harvard | Mr. French In Japan
GMAT 720, GPA 14,3/20 (French Scale)
Chicago Booth | Ms. Nigerian Investment Banker
GMAT 720, GPA 3.57
Wharton | Mr. Chemical Engineering Dad
GMAT 710, GPA 3.50
Wharton | Mr. Ignacio
GMAT 730, GPA 3.0
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Athlete-Engineer To Sales
GMAT 720, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Co-Founder & Analytics Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 7.4 out of 10.0 - 4th in Class
Stanford GSB | Mr. AC
GMAT 750, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. Competition Lawyer
GMAT 720, GPA 4.0
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Mechanical Engineer & Blood Bank NGO
GMAT 480, GPA 2.3
Wharton | Ms. Marketing Family Business
GMAT 750- but considering retaking to offset low GPA, GPA Lower Second Class Honors (around 3.0)
Harvard | Mr. Pipeline Engineer To Consulting
GMAT 750, GPA 3.76
Tuck | Mr. Aspiring Management Consultant
GRE 331, GPA 3.36
Harvard | Mr. Investor & Operator (2+2)
GMAT 720, GPA 3.85
Stanford GSB | Mr. Certain Engineering Financial Analyst
GMAT 700, GPA 2.52
Columbia | Mr. Electrical Engineering
GRE 326, GPA 7.7
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Psychology & Marketing
GMAT 700, GPA 68%
Stanford GSB | Mr. Tech Startup Guy
GMAT 770, GPA 3.7
Tuck | Ms. BFA To MBA
GMAT 700, GPA 3.96
Foster School of Business | Mr. Automotive Research Engineer
GRE 328, GPA 3.83
Columbia | Mr. Investment Banker Turned Startup Strategy
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Tepper | Ms. Coding Tech Leader
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Ms. Big 4 M&A Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 2:1 (Upper second-class honours, UK)
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Wharton | Mr. Rates Trader
GMAT 750, GPA 7.6/10
Tuck | Mr. Engineer To Start-up
GRE 326, GPA 3.57
Columbia | Mr. RE Investment
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0

Your MBA’s Worth? Pay By Region

Chicago-Skyline

When it comes to starting pay, most MBA applicants focus on either overall pay or industry pay. And each is a strong barometer of employer sentiment about schools.  But there is another factor that determines earnings: Geography.

Where you live ultimately shapes what you do, how much you earn, and how high you go. That’s no secret. MBA programs are creatures of their surroundings. New York and Los Angeles, for example, are artistic Meccas. Not surprisingly, Columbia Business School and UCLA’s Anderson School of Management have emerged as top programs for entertainment management and technology. The industry infrastructure and talent are only a few miles away from these programs. And that creates opportunities for their MBA students to get face time, build relationships, find opportunities, sharpen skills, and eventually land jobs – good jobs with strong pay out of the gate.

HOW MUCH WILL YOU MAKE BASED ON WHERE YOU LIVE?

Wondering how much your MBA will be worth where you are – or where you’re hoping to go? Recently, Poets&Quants reviewed U.S. Newscollection of starting base salaries by function and school for the Class of 2015. While the metric was just one piece of a much larger puzzle, it did enable readers to compare schools side-by-side. That way, they could get a bearing on how much they could expect to receive in a potential offer. To further help readers in negotiating their package, Poets&Quants has also compiled data on average starting salaries by location and school.

Like the previous salary survey, the starting base pay is not adjusted for cost of living. The data also doesn’t include sign-on bonuses, enticements that are unevenly distributed across the graduate pool.  Harvard Business School is a case in point, where each region averages $25,000 in bonus, but the percentage of students receiving this bonus veers from 56% in the Mid-Atlantic to 89% in the Southwest states. Likewise, some programs, such as Dartmouth (Tuck), only capture bonus pay as a whole, not by industry or region – further dooming any true apples-to-apples comparison at a micro level.

The compensation also doesn’t calculate incentives like tuition compensation, stock options or profit sharing – or adjust for amenities like transportation, trips, or memberships (which schools often don’t request from graduates when formulating their employment reports).

A SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISON OF 50 MBA PROGRAMS

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge

In other words, the data is a rough snapshot of a point in time (as opposed to a 20-year pay outlook influenced by a myriad of variables — often with less connection to the business school as time passes). It is a tool to compare schools side-by-side using a consistent metric. Aside from revealing a school’s economic strength, the data yields a second benefit. It provides an idea of where a school has developed a footprint outside its geographic seat.  This not only signals a school’s appeal to a wider swath of employers, but also indicates where students can tap into a deeper alumni network.

Alas, smaller programs do suffer an inherent disadvantage here, as they have fewer students to populate key employers and sectors in the United States (and across the world). That said, graduates traditionally stay within an afternoon AmTrak ride away from where they studied. At NYU’s Stern School of Business, for example, 79% of the 2015 full-time class remained in the northeast. The highest concentration of Northwestern (Kellogg) 2015 grads planted roots in the Midwest (32.8%). The same is true with other regional powers like Emory (58% stayed in the south) and USC (86% of accepted North American offers stemmed from the west coast). In other words, a MBA’s most valuable asset – a network of classmates, supporters, and alumni – is often clustered in a certain area. Not only does location influence starting pay, but it can boost a graduate’s ability to land interviews, open doors, and expand options over the long haul.

COVERS SEVEN REGIONS (INCLUDING INTERNATIONAL)

Overall, the data is divided into these seven regions:

Northeast: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Mid-Atlantic: District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

South: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Midwest: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Southwest: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

West: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

International: All Around the Globe.

Average Salary and Bonus

Among the Top 50 full-time MBA programs ranked by U.S. News & World Report, only Columbia Business School was the only school that didn’t furnish salary data since it doesn’t track the geographic dispersal of graduates in its annual employment report.

To see the high, average, and low starting salaries of the 50 highest-ranked full-time MBA programs by region and school, click on the links below.

St. Louis Arch

St. Louis Arch

Northeast

Mid-Atlantic

South

Midwest

Southwest

West

International

Average Salary and Bonus

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