MBA Pay & Bonus Up 8% At USC

Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California

Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California

That didn’t take long.

Mark Brostoff, who for seven years ran the career center at Washington University’s Olin School of Business, joined the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in January of this year. In the ten months, he’s been in the job as assistant dean and director of MBA career services at Marshall, he can proudly point to a fast turnaround.

Marshall’s 2016 employment report, based on data from 95% of the 213 graduates in the Class of 2016, is a vast improvement on the year-earlier results. This year, 92% of the graduating MBAs boasted job offers three months after graduation, up from 81% a year earlier. Some 75% of the students had job offers at commencement, up from 61% in 2015.

What’s more, median starting pay and sign-on bonuses rose to a median $125,099, a 7.7% increase over last year’s $116,188. Median starting salaries rose $10,000 in a single year to $115,000 this year, up from $105,000 in 2015. Median sign-on bonuses, given to 48% of the MBA graduates this year, remained stable at $20,000.


Mark Brostoff, assistant dean and director of MBA career services at USC's Marshall School of Business

Mark Brostoff, assistant dean and director of MBA career services at USC’s Marshall School of Business

The overall improvement in Marshall’s numbers come as a significantly higher percentage of students landed jobs with consulting firms. This year, 31.0% accepted jobs in consulting, which offered the highest median salaries–$135,000–of any industry at Marshall, up from 22.0% last year. Media and entertainment as well as real estate also claimed higher numbers of Marshall MBAs.

Some 13.0% of the Class of 2016 went into media and entertainment jobs, up significantly from the previous year when the percentage was so low it remained unreported. Real estate jobs were taken by 7.0% of the class, a nearly doubling of the 4.0% level in 2015 (see table on following page).

One surprise: The percentage of students taking jobs with tech firms fell to 11% this year, from 17% a year earlier. Marshall MBAs headed into financial services also declined to 13.0% this year from 20.0% in 2015, a possible aberration because in 2013 Marshall sent only 12.1% of its MBA graduates into financial services.

The school said its highest reported starting salary was $166,400 for a job in a category described as “other” in energy, environmental services, government, law and retail. The lowest reported salary–$60,000–went to an MBA who took a job at a tech firm.However, the school did not report high and low offers for students who took jobs in the non-profit sector.

The school reported that 38% of the offers came from on-campus recruiting efforts, while 21% were landed as a result of internships. About 17% of the students found jobs through their personal network of family and friends, while other student-initiated search was the source for 7% of the job offers.