Applications may be down at nearly all business schools in the United States, but that hasn’t meant instability in the return on investment for an elite MBA. Evidence of its viability abounds. The NYU Stern School of Business is the latest top school to show that while U.S. MBA programs are having trouble drawing interest, particularly from abroad, the money students spend to get the degree is almost always worth it in terms of increased earning potential and upward mobility.
The Stern School released its 2019 MBA employment report today (October 15), and it shows Stern MBAs pulling down record-high salaries and bonuses comparable to — and in some cases exceeding — peer schools in the top 20. Median base salary rose 12% to an all-time high of $140,000, while average base salary rose more modestly, 4.8%, to $135,299. Median signing bonuses held firm at $30,000. Meanwhile, 90% of 2019 graduates had job offers at graduation — a school record — and 94.2% had secured jobs three months after, up from 93.7% last year and the highest rate in more than a decade.
“At NYU Stern, we equip our students with both the mindset and tools to excel in ambiguity and to embrace the change that characterizes today’s business landscape,” says Beth Briggs, assistant dean of Career Services. “This is reflected in our all-time-high median salaries, steady signing bonuses, and record employment rates for the two-year Full-time MBA Class of 2019. Regardless of the sector, we’ve graduated a class of strategists who can solve problems and drive results.”
MEDIAN BASE SALARIES ON THE UPSWING; MCKINSEY, DELOITTE ARE TOP EMPLOYERS
For the second year in a row, Stern School MBAs leaned heavily toward the consulting industry: Consulting jobs grew 8.7% over last year, to 37.1% of the graduating class of 398, making consulting the top employing industry for the second year in a row. Six of the top 10 employers for the Class of 2019 are consulting firms. Consulting is followed by financial services (29.4%, of which the largest group, 22.6%, went into investment banking), where Stern has deep industry ties, and tech (15%), a number that includes “technology” and “telecommunications” jobs. The number of tech grads fell slightly from 16.5% in 2018; however, Briggs points out that “in tech in particular, MBAs are securing roles across a greater range of companies than last year — a testament to their fluency at the intersection of business and tech, and the demand for such talent.”
Tech, however, appears to be the only area where median salaries fell, to $121,500 from $130,000, a 6.5% decline. By contrast, salaries rose by 20% in investment banking and 20% for financial services as a whole, both rising to $150K; and by smaller but not insignificant amounts in consulting, retail, and consumer packaged goods, too.
Three-quarters (74.9%) of Stern MBAs went to work in the Northeast, mostly in New York City; last year that number was slightly higher, 77.6%. The next closest region is the West, where 15.2% of 2019 grads went to make their fortunes. In 2018, 13.2% of Stern MBAs crossed the country for work.
Top 2019 employers of Stern MBAs include consulting firms McKinsey & Company, Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group, Ernst and Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Bain & Company; investment banks JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and Citi; and tech firms Amazon, Google, American Express, Microsoft, IBM, and Facebook. The overall top employers were McKinsey and Deloitte, which each hired 17 Stern MBAs, followed by BCG and EY with 14 each, and Amazon. Bain, JPMorgan, and PwC, with nine hires each.
In 2018, Amazon topped all employers of Stern MBAs with 24, followed by Credit Suisse (18), McKinsey (12), IBM (10), and JPMorgan and Bain, each with nine hires.