MBA students’ summer internships are winding down. For most, it will have been a productive eight to 12 weeks, analyzing business metrics and creating financial models for evaluating investments, or working on branding projects, helping to launch products, and working in creative teams. Most spent the summer learning at the elbows of elite professionals.
Bottom line: None of these folks has been fetching coffee.
As the current crop of MBA interns looks ahead to the start of their second year, those beginning their B-school journey this fall are already wondering how they’ll spend the interregnum between their first and second years. And it’s never too early to start planning, because it’s not at all uncommon for students to secure internships in the opening weeks of their MBA — or even earlier.
If this is you and you’re wondering how much you can expect to earn next summer, you’ve come to the right place.
THE SCHOOL WITH THE HIGHEST INTERN SALARIES? THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU
Which schools’ MBA interns make the most? Examining the employment reports from last fall (the most recent available; new reports won’t be released until late fall or winter 2019), you might expect that the M7 schools would boast the highest median monthly salaries — and for the most part you’d be right. Student interns from Harvard Business School, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford Graduate School of Business, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Columbia Business School, and MIT’s Sloan School of Management reported a collective median monthly salary of $8,195; only Stanford and HBS had sub-$8K salaries, at $7,000 and $7,800, respectively.
Yet none of the M7 broke the $9,000 threshold. Only one top-25 school could boast that: NYU’s Stern School of Business, where MBAs earned a median $9,208 each month in their summer internships. Even as intern salaries have gone a bit flat in the last five years, the Stern School saw a better-than-25% increase, the most of any leading B-school (the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business was close behind at 25% salary growth). Overall for the top 25 U.S. schools, the average salary growth was 8.9%; in hard numbers the monthly increase has been $600.
“The median monthly pay increase for summer internships is due to a combination of factors,” says Beth Briggs, assistant dean of Career Services at NYU Stern, “including a 7% increase in summer internships in the consulting industry, a continued strong relationship with our investment banking partners, and upward growth in the technology sector.”
Of course, intern salaries vary widely by industry. Consulting generally pays the most; nonprofit is usually the lowest. But it’s the technology sector that has really exploded in recent years, both in terms of salary and interest. The fact is, tech has seen incredible growth in the last five years when it comes to MBA student internships. In 2014, an average of 17.8% of MBA students from top-25 schools interned at tech companies; by last summer, that number had ballooned to 22.6%. (See page 3 for details on internship destinations for the top schools.)
AT NYU STERN, ‘DEEP CONNECTIONS TO A DIVERSE SET OF INDUSTRIES’
A school’s career services, obviously, are crucial to securing a good internship. More and more, those services are kicking in even before students set foot on campus. At Washington Foster, incoming MBA students take an online course covering career search and management, including resume crafting, networking, and case interviewing; when they arrive in Seattle in September, first-years undergo a week of training that includes practicing those skills with each other and with coaches.
At NYU Stern, location plays a big part in the recent uptick in salaries — and the overall success of MBA interns. “We are very proud of our summer internship outcomes,” Beth Brigg says. “For the Class of 2019, 100% of students seeking internships secured them. Given our NYC location and deep connections to a diverse set of industries, students benefit from multiple high-touch engagements with our alumni that result in strong internship outcomes.
“Equally important,” she adds, “we closely work with our students to partner with them even before their MBA experience begins to help them identify their goals and create a plan to reach them. In fact, more than 80% of the Class of 2019 found their summer internship directly through a Stern-supported activity.”
See the next pages for intern salaries at the top 25 U.S. schools plus LBS and INSEAD, as well as the percentages of students from each school who seek internships in consulting, finance, and other industries.