MBAs At Microsoft, Bain & Google Top Pay Sweepstakes

The original Transparent MBA team. Pictured from left to right are Jeremy Selbst, Mitch Kirby, Alyssa Jaffee and Kevin Marvinac. Courtesy photo

The original TransparentMBA team. Pictured from left to right are Jeremy Selbst, Mitch Kirby, Alyssa Jaffee and Kevin Marvinac. Courtesy photo


Marvinac and TransparentMBA also sliced the data within industries, adding such areas as real estate, mutual hedge fund management, and “chemicals-plastics,” among others. Industry-wise, MBAs entering real estate top the hourly wage list. At $87.46, real estate MBAs make an average upward of $11 more than the next highest industry. Venture capital and private equity are next in line with $76.31 and $71.74, respectively. Jobs at mutual funds and hedge funds show up fourth at $71.37.

Toward the bottom are the nonprofit, hospitality, and arts and media industries, where MBAs make $33.33, $34.97, and $42.25, respectively. Popular industries for MBAs such as tech, consulting, and investment banking scatter the middle of the list. Tech, for instance, has an effective hourly wage of $58.31. However, e-commerce and Internet falls further down the list at $49.24. Meanwhile, MBAs entering consulting can plan on $53.40 an hour, and investment bankers are at $47.66.

Once again, at 79 hours a week, investment banking is the most overworked industry. Surprisingly, MBAs entering environmental and natural resources careers are looking at almost equal i-banking work hours —with much less compensation. MBAs in that industry report clocking 75 hours a week for annual income of $170,000, an effective hourly wage of $43.59. The industry that works the least, according to the data, is “recreation-leisure-sports,” with a typical 40-hour workweek.

Marvinac says job function and industry is separated when users enter data, and the “basic framework” for both categories is based on MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance standards. Differences stem from “fringe” employees, Marvinac says. An example is someone who works in the venture capital division of the Pritzker Group, he says. Technically, they work in private equity, but their job function falls into venture capital. Based on that example, Marvin says, the job function category tends to be slightly more helpful.


While Marvinac says the data is not yet robust enough to glean major career trends, it does pass the “gut-check” on anecdotal evidence. One of those anecdotes, he says, is that work-life balance may well be something of a myth among the MBA millennial crowd. “Anecdotally, I think this term ‘work-life balance’ isn’t the correct term anymore,” he says. “I think for a lot of these folks going to top MBA programs, it’s ‘work-life integration.'”

A discernible trend from the data is that more students are now making career decisions based on work-life integration and flexibility. “Students are making decisions based on work-life integration versus work-life balance, specifically, with this trend towards flexibility,” Marvinac reasons. To be sure, tech firms and startups have nailed the flexibility and work-life integration, which Marvinac describes as an increasingly blurred line between work and life outside of work. Investment banks (generally) have not. The investment banks are aware that a reputation for long hours might be damaging their recruiting pipelines.

“I think our generation is more okay with those blurred lines than our parents or their parents’ generations,” he says, noting TransparentMBA’s job satisfaction and flexibility data. “And I think this data backs that up. At tech firms, there seems to be a good satisfaction score because of that flexibility.”

Still, interest in working on Wall Street remains strong for MBAs. “People going into investment banking know what they are getting into,” Marvinac begins, noting he has never worked as an investment banker. “This is very well vetted out to them before taking these jobs. And, I think, a lot of them are using it as a stepping stone or knowing as you proceed in your career towards senior positions, the hours drop dramatically and the strategy and tactical execution and number crunching increases.”

TransparentMBAThis data was provided by TransparentMBA, a free career data resource for MBAs, alumni, and prospective students. Sign up today and access their 220,000+ data points across 2,000+ companies.

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