McCombs School of Business | Ms. Second Chances
GRE 310, GPA 2.4
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Cornell Johnson | Mr. IT To IB
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
Stanford GSB | Mr. Entrepreneurial Bassist
GMAT 740, GPA 3.61
Kellogg | Mr. Green Business
GMAT 680, GPA 3.33; 3.9 for Masters
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Account Executive
GMAT 560, GPA 3.3
NYU Stern | Mr. Military Officer
GRE In Progress, GPA 2.88
Kellogg | Mr. Real Estate Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Kellogg | Mr. Finance To Education
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Emory Goizueta | Mr. Multimedia
GRE 308, GPA 3.4
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Commercial Banker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
IU Kelley | Mr. Construction Manager
GRE 680, GPA 3.02
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Fanatic
GMAT 770, GPA 3.46
Harvard | Mr. Sovereign Wealth Fund
GMAT 730, GPA 3.55
Harvard | Mr. Smart Operations
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Darden | Mr. Strategy Manager
GRE 321, GPA 3.5
Ross | Mr. Airline Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.73
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corporate VC Hustler
GMAT 780, GPA 3.17
Wharton | Mr. Marketing Director
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Ms. Healthcare Startup
GRE 321, GPA 3.51
Georgetown McDonough | Ms. Air Force
GMAT 610, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Poet At Heart
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Yale | Mr. Ukrainian Biz Man
GRE 310, GPA 4.75 out of 5
Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
GMAT 680, GPA 3.65

MBA Envy? Not When You Know The Crazy Hours MBAs Work

MBAs put in some hellish hours at work: A median 54 hours a week. At the extreme high end is Goldman Sachs where MBAs essentially work two work weeks in one, clocking in 86 average hours weekly

MBAs put in some hellish hours at work: a median 54 hours a week. At the extreme high end is Goldman Sachs, where MBAs essentially work two work weeks in one, clocking in 86 average hours weekly

Those six-figure salaries that graduating MBAs make seem awfully enticing until you find out just how many hours a week newly minted MBAs put in on the job.

What about that millennial expectation to land an impactful job yet gain some semblance of work-life balance? Forget it.

The median number of hours racked up by an MBA in his or her first year of employment is a whopping 54 hours a week, nearly two additional days of work beyond that old 40-hour workweek, according to TransparentMBA, a startup that tracks MBA compensation and work data.


But even that number doesn’t begin to scratch the surface. At the top end, MBAs working for investment banking firm Goldman Sachs claim they average a heart-stopping 86 hours a week. So much for all that Wall Street talk in recent years about a kindler, more gentler lifestyle that encourages Goldman’s interns to take Saturdays off, leave the office at midnight and not return until 7 a.m.

Truth is, those big starting salaries and bonuses come with sweatshop work hours. Though Goldman tops the list, many of its rival banks are not far behind. MBAs at JP Morgan say they routinely put in 72-hour weeks, while those at Morgan Stanley clock an average 70 hours weekly.

MBA jobs at the big global consulting firms don’t have it much easier. MBAs at McKinsey & Co., one of the most prestigious employers in the world, told Transparent MBA that they work an average of 72 hours per week. At Boston Consulting Group, it’s 63 hours every week, while at Bain & Co., the average is 58 hours per week. Bain’s numbers may be lower because the firm adopts a “home office” system to cut down on all the travel time.


The “easiest” MBA jobs when it comes to workloads? The big corporate giants and, surprisingly, many of the tech firms. MBAs who work for Microsoft average just 44 hours a week, while those who toil for Apple put in 52-hour weeks, a couple of hours below the median. Facebook MBAs average just an hour a week more at 53 hours, while Amazon MBAs hit the 54-hour a week median working for the e-commerce giant.

The MBA work life tends to be much more normal at such places as General Electric, PepsiCo, and 3M, where MBAs put in between 45 to 43 hours a week.

Despite the crazy hours, few will likely weep for these MBAs and the hardship they endure. When Transparent MBA crunched the compensation and hours together to get the effective hourly wage by industry, the pay certainly justified those long nights and weekends of work.


At the top of the hourly wage game for MBAs? Hedge funds and mutual funds, which pay $129.46 an hour. They were followed by investment management jobs, where the effective hourly wage worked out to be $120.18. MBAs in consulting, in contrast, pulled down $69.87 an hour, while those in healthcare had an effective hourly wage of $64.03. Dead last, not surprisingly, was the hourly wage for MBAs who opted to work in a nonprofit: $27.08 an hour. But then, there is all that immeasurable psychic income from doing good.

The TransparentMBA numbers show that the average post-MBA offer clocks in at about $75/hour, representing an average total compensation of more than $200,000/year for MBA graduates who work 59 hours a week. While investment management pretty much rules the roost, tech jobs show up pretty well on the pay scale. As an industry, high tech placed third (e-commerce) and fifth (software) with an average of about $100/hour effective salary.

Consulting and I-banking fall to the middle despite generous overall compensation, says Kevin Marvinac, a co-founder of TransparentMBA. “Investment banking at $66 an hour and consulting at $70 an hour are jobs that fell due to high overall hours worked. However, these jobs will no doubt continue to be in high demand based on ancillary benefits like excellent training and the sheer volume of jobs available to MBAs.”

(See the average weekly hours clocked in by MBAs at leading companies on the following page)

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.