What Industries Give MBAs The Big Pay Bump

highest lowest paid mbas 2014

Back before business school, did you wonder how much more money you’d make with an MBA? Well, that’s probably a stupid question, because you obviously did, and then decided to get an MBA.

How much more money should you be making though? Does an MBA provide a higher return in some industries versus others? At TransparentCareer, we dug into our data on some of the top industries. This is what we found out.

Consulting

Pre-MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $85,000/$98,150

First Job post MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $140,000/$184,500

Hours Worked/Week: 59 Hours

Satisfaction: 6.5

Popular Companies: McKinsey & Co, Boston Consulting Group, Bain, Deloitte, ZS

With the highest salary bump on the list, consultants with an MBA reported earning $55,000 more a year in salary compared to their MBA-less (is that a word? It is now) counterparts. If you want to work in consulting, chances are McKinsey, BCG, and Bain are near the top of your list. That’s fine, but there are also many other consulting firms you may not be as familiar with, but should be (see Consulting Firms MBAs Should Put On Their Radar Screen).

Consumer Products

Pre-MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $73,250/$77,775

First Job post MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $105,000/$140,000

Hours Worked/Week: 48 Hours

Satisfaction: 7

Popular Companies: Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, General Mills

As an industry, consumer products hires a high volume of MBAs every year, only trailing behind consulting and investment banking in terms of numbers. Consumer products also has incredibly satisfied MBAs on average, with their median satisfaction score ~20% higher than the all-MBA average. Part of this likely comes from better work-life balance, with MBAs in the industry typically working just 48 hours a week, much lower than more strenuous fields such as consulting or investment banking. Check out our list of the best consumer product firms here.

Investment Banking

Pre-MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $85,000/$120,000

First Job post MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $125,000/$220,000

Hours Worked/Week:77

Satisfaction: 6.4

Popular Companies: Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase

Pulling the highest amount of hours worked a week at 77, investment banking boasts both the highest total compensation on this list at $220k, and also the highest post-MBA bump, with MBAs earning $100k more than those without the degree. Expect high competition for top positions though – Goldman Sachs only hired 9,700 of 313,000 applicants in 2015. Take a look at our list for the best investment banks for MBAs here.

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.