Harvard MBAs Now Landing Starting Pay Over $160K

Harvard Business School graduation

MORE HARVARD MBAS WENT INTO TECH EVEN THOUGH THE INDUSTRY’S SALARIES ARE $20K BELOW CONSULTING & FINANCIAL SERVICES

Tech firms continued to draw more of Harvard’s MBAs, this year claiming 19% of the class, up three percentage points from 16% a year earlier but equal to the percentage going into tech two years ago. The technology industry would have undoubtedly captured more of the class if its starting comp numbers were higher. Students who opted to join high tech made total median compensation of $154,359, about $6,000 less than the class median. Median base salaries were $10K less than the class median and $20K less than paid to graduates who went into either consulting or financial services.

MBAs who decided to accept offers from nonprofits, education or the government—the only sector where median starting salaries were below six figures at $95,000—fell to half the previous year’s numbers at just 2% of the class, down from 4% last year.

Otherwise, the year-over-year changes in industry preferences tended to be slight. Harvard grads going into healthcare dipped a percent to 6% this year as did MBAs going into real estate at 4%, while those taking jobs in consumer products also edged a percent lower at 3%. The number of MBAs who chose manufacturing (5%) or retail (3%) remained unchanged from last year, while media and entertainment (4%) was up a single percent.

SOME 9% OF THE HARVARD CLASS JOINED STARTUPS UNDER A NEW DEFINITION BY HBS

After Harvard reported that just 4% of the Class of 2017 joined a startup, down from 9% two years ago and 7% in 2016, the school this year changed the definition of a startup to include all private companies that are ten years of age or younger. By that new definition, last year’s percent going into startups changed from the previously reported 4% to 8%. This year, Harvard said that 9% of the Class of 2018 joined startups at median starting salaries of $130,000. The number of founders in the class—64—remained unchanged from last year but was down from 84 in 2015.

HBS said there were 934 members of the Class of 2018, of which 75% were seeking employment this year. Roughly 12% were sponsored by their employers and will return to them or are already employed. Another 8% started companies, while 1% decided to continue their education.