Getting Hired As An MBA Grad

The Highest Paid MBAs? Nah. Just A Horrible Survey

The Internet is the birthplace of many new ideas. Unfortunately, one of them is clickbait. All kinds of websites create less than credible surveys to get attention. Many of those surveys are based on flimsy data, small sample sizes, and worse.

The latest in the MBA space is a new survey from, a crowdsourced site for benchmarking salaries. It claims to rank the  top 20 business schools with the highest paid alumni. Treat the survey with a big grain of salt. The school that routinely comes out on top of these types of surveys–Stanford’s Graduate School of Business–doesn’t even make the table. Emolument doesn’t even tother to explain how many years the alumni in the survey have been out of school. And there’s also no mention of sample size, casting still more doubt on the results and the integrity of the website.

For a chuckle and some entertainment value, check out the rankings below.

MIT Grads earn median pay of $286K

MIT’s Sloan School of Management came out on top. Its graduates earn a median pay and bonus of $286,000. Harvard comes in second at $255,000. At third is University of Chicago with $250,000. Overall, American MBA program constituted all of the 10 highest-paid MBA programs. INSEAD, Europe’s highest placed school according to Bloomberg, came in 12th place. INSEAD graduates earn a median pay and bonus of $185,000. The University of St. Gallen and Cambridge Judge trailed closely behind at $181K and $180K, respectively. 

Methodology and Findings claims it analyzed pay data from 10,900 MBA professionals to examine which schools yielded the greatest pay – a relatively small and unscientific sample that doesn’t specify the number of respondents per school let alone set specifications based on region, industry, or graduation years.

The pay numbers also bring to mind the phrase, “It’s not only where you come from, it’s where you go.” U.S. MBA grads tend to make the most money. That’s not by accident. Academic reputation and prestige play an important role, obviously. However, US grads benefit from the pay premium that comes with working in the USA – and that goes beyond traditional MBA roles. For example, American tech workers earn more than 50% over their British counterparts, according to a 2015 study by Hired.

Among European schools, the report found that France’s INSEAD business school grads earned the highest salaries. However, if you look a bit closer, INSEAD is the only French school in the top 20. The UK has three business schools (Cambridge’s Judge, London Business School and Oxford Said) which made the top 20 rankings.

Garbage in, garbage out. The takeaway here is about the results. Instead, it reminds us to be highly skeptical of these clickbait Internet surveys.


Sources: Emolument, Bloomberg, Business Insider

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.