Duke MBA Grads Enjoy Impressive Pay Hike

The Class of 2017 is enjoying a ‘blue’ Christmas. By blue, we mean Fuqua festive over December dreary.

Yes, the annual employment report is out.  Looking at the numbers, you can bet that second years have visions of sugar plums – or dollar signs – dancing in their heads!

A good year? That’s an understatement. In 2017, the Fuqua graduating class landed median pay packages of $145,500. That’s a $5,500 improvement over the previous class. Such pay places the school in the same league as Ivies like Dartmouth Tuck and Columbia Business School – and above Midwest darlings like Chicago Booth and Northwestern Kellogg. By the same token, average total compensation reached $147,896, nearly $3,400 better than the 2016 Class.


The results look even better when you drill into the numbers. For starters, the increases are heavily concentrated in improved base pay. 2017 graduates earned $125,000 in base out of the gate, a $5,000 bump in just one year. That’s not to say bonuses didn’t rise, however. Employers shelled out $29,236 in median sign on bonuses this year – a $4,000 improvement – with 82% of Fuqua grads reporting a bonus.

Here’s the best part: These numbers don’t even factor in the ‘Other Guaranteed Compensation’ category. It was removed from the 2017 employment report (and P&Q’s numbers below). In large part, this category inflated compensation figures, even if it more accurately accounted for the more complete look at MBA pay. Still, just 9% of 2016 Fuqua grads received such compensation on top of base and bonus. For savvy graduates who negotiated this compensation into their pay, it added $20,000 in value to their earnings.

Pay wasn’t the only measure of Fuqua’s prominence in the marketplace. Overall, 96% of the 2017 Class had received job offers within three months of graduation. What’s more, 93% of the class had accepted their offer during that time. That said, VISA status played an adverse role in these numbers; 96% of graduates with U.S. work authorizations had accepted offers at the three month mark compared to the 86% number posted by those who lacked such papers. Work status also played a role in pay. Graduates without a U.S. work authorization were paid $8,200 less than their peers. However, that gap was offset, to an extent, by sign on bonuses, which were $5,000 (mean) higher for graduates without authorization.

MBA Pay & Employment Remains Strong

SchoolJob OffersTotal Median PayMajor Employers
Chicago (Booth)97%$141,500McKinsey, Amazon, BCG, Bain, Accenture, Morgan Stanley
UPenn (Wharton)97%$149,300McKinsey, BCG, Amazon, Bain, Goldman Sachs
Michigan (Ross)97%$147,845*Amazon, McKinsey, Deloitte, BCG, Microsoft
Duke (Fuqua)96%$145,500Deloitte, McKinsey, Amazon, BCG, Accenture
Minnesota (Carlson)96%$122,4003M, Deloitte, Ecolab, Land O’Lakes, Microsoft
Harvard Business School95%$154,750*NA
Dartmouth (Tuck)95%$146,250McKinsey, Bain, Amazon, BCG, Microsoft
Northwestern (Kellogg)94%$140,350McKinsey, BCG, Amazon, Bain, Microsoft
New York (Stern)94%$154,147*Amazon, Deloitte, JP Morgan, McKinsey, Credit Suisse
Emory (Goizueta)94%$144,580*E&Y, Amazon, PwC, Deloitte, Citigroup, Georgia Pacific
Columbia93%$146,550*McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Amazon, Deloitte
Virginia (Darden)93%$149,750Microsoft, BCG, McKinsey, Accenture, Amazon
Vanderbilt (Owen)93%$130,750Amazon, Deloitte, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, North Highland
Stanford GSB92%$165,250*NA
Indiana (Kelley)92%$134,113*E&Y, Microsoft, P&G, Amazon, Deloitte
Cambridge (Judge)92%$130,218Amazon, McKinsey, Google, Uber, BCG

* Reflects starting salary, sign-on bonus and other guaranteed compensation, adjusted for the percentage of students receiving bonuses and other comp. The rest of the numbers include only salary and sign-on bonus because the school does not report other guaranteed compensation. Job offers data is for three months after graduation.