McCombs School of Business | Ms. Registered Nurse Entrepreneur
GMAT 630, GPA 3.59
Stanford GSB | Mr. Former SEC Athlete
GMAT 620, GPA 3.8
Tuck | Mr. Army To MBB
GMAT 740, GPA 2.97
Columbia | Mr. Forbes 30 Under 30
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB Advanced Analytics
GMAT 750, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Impactful Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Mr. Banker To CPG Leader
GMAT 760, GPA 7.36/10
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Engineer
GMAT 720, GPA 7.95/10 (College follows relative grading; Avg. estimate around 7-7.3)
Ross | Mr. Leading-Edge Family Business
GMAT 740, GPA 2.89
Darden | Mr. Logistics Guy
GRE Not taken Yet, GPA 3.1
Chicago Booth | Mr. Desi Boy
GMAT 740, GPA 3.0
Kellogg | Mr. Stylist & Actor
GMAT 760 , GPA 9.5
Columbia | Mr. Ambitious Chemical Salesman
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Tepper | Ms. Coding Tech Leader
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Wharton | Mr. Rates Trader
GMAT 750, GPA 7.6/10
Harvard | Mr. Irish Biotech Entrepreneur
GMAT 730, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Cricketer Turned Engineer
GMAT 770, GPA 7.15/10
Wharton | Mr. Planes And Laws
GRE 328, GPA 3.8
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Refrad
GMAT 700, GPA 3.94
Harvard | Mr. Supply Chain Photographer
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Space Launch
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Kellogg | Ms. Product Strategist
GMAT 700, GPA 7.3/10
Columbia | Mr. MBB Consultant
GRE 339, GPA 8.28
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Avocado Farmer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.08
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. International Development Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.9
Columbia | Mr. Wannabe Grad
GMAT 710, GPA 3.56
Kellogg | Ms. Indian Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.3

Online MBA Programs With The Best Salary Outcomes

The online MBA might not be the career-switching degree its full-time residential sibling is, but that doesn’t mean virtual MBA students aren’t leveraging the program for higher earnings. As part of our 2021 Best Online MBA Programs, we surveyed alumni graduating during the 2019-2020 academic year for nearly all 47 ranked schools. We also asked each graduate for their pre-MBA and post-MBA salaries.

Lo and behold, we found that online MBA graduates could experience significant income boosts thanks to their new MBA education, with average percentage jumps as high as 63%. Alumni from Imperial College Business School in London reported earning the greatest average change of a whopping $58,360, a hefty 57% over the $102,466 they reported upon entry into the program.  In their first year after getting the MBA, they reported earning an average of $160,826. Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business reported average increases of $57,728, a 63% jump, to $149,773.

Of course, a salary boost most typically reflects other benefits of an online MBA degree, including increased responsibility and a promotion to a new role. What it may not measure is the bump in self-confidence a graduate would experience nor the longer-term benefits of the education itself or the alumni network a student acquires with graduation.

ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS WITH THE HIGHEST POST-GRADUATE SALARIES

While the gains at Imperial College and Carnegie Mellon were ahead of all other schools, graduates of many of the ranked online MBA programs did quite well, thank you. The University of Washington’s Foster School of Business posted the third-largest dollar increase in average salary, with alumni reporting earning $42,234 more in their first year after graduating for an average of $155,167. Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business online MBA graduates reported an average salary increase of $38,055, a tidy 42% jump in pay. It was the Silicon Valley-based university’s first-ever graduating class that reported the numbers. Rounding out the top-five were the graduates of the MBA@UNC program at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School’s online MBA program, where graduates reported an average increase of $35,684.

Among all 43 ranked schools in our analysis–programs with an alumni response rate of at least 10%–the average salary increase was $21,551.

While Imperial College and Carnegie Mellon recorded the largest average salary increases, neither school had the highest average salaries reported by recent graduates. The University of Massachusetts-Amherst Isenberg School had online MBA graduates report an average post-MBA salary of $210,143 — much higher than any other school in this year’s ranking. Isenberg online grads boosted their pay by $33,429 over their average pre-MBA salaries of $176,714.

Following Massachusetts-Isenberg is Hofstra University, which reported an average post-MBA salary of $161,444 — an increase of $19,111 from an average pre-MBA salary of $142,333. Imperial College’s post-MBA average of $160,826 was the third-highest, followed by Washington Foster’s $155,167 and Baylor University’s post-MBA average of $153,078. Baylor’s average increase was $31,548.

ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS WITH THE LOWEST SALARY BUMPS

Of course, not all graduates reported frothy salary increases. Graduates of the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s online MBA program actually reported an average loss of $1,000. To be clear, those numbers were dragged down from at least a couple of alumni reporting they had no salary as they were still looking for jobs. Louisiana State University reported a salary increase of just $500.

Two schools that placed very highly in this year’s ranking reported the next two-lowest increases. Villanova University’s School of Business, which placed No. 7 overall, reported an average salary increase of $1,731. Graduates of No. 4 George Washington University had an increase of just $4,619, but did have a high average post-MBA salary of $140,879. Rounding out the lowest five schools for salary increases is the University of Delaware’s Lerner School of Business, which had a salary increase of $9,650.

Florida International University reported the lowest average post-MBA salary at $77,168. The next lowest was the University of South Florida, where graduates reported an average post-MBA salary of $80,125. The University of Michigan-Dearborn reported the third-lowest post-MBA average salary at $83,125.

ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS WITH THE HIGHEST AND LOWEST CAREER IMPACTS

To measure the immediate career impact of an online MBA degree, we also asked alumni to report if they received a salary raise, promotion, or switched employers directly because of the degree. When averaging all three data points, graduates from Carnegie Mellon reported the greatest impact on their professional career trajectories. Some 65.4% of Tepper graduates reported earning a promotion, 76.9% reported a raise, and 50.0% reported switching employers, for an overall average of 64.1%.

An average of 62.37% of graduates from the Mason School at The College of William & Mary reported a promotion, raise, or employer switch. The University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business followed with an average of 60.78%. Rounding out the top-five were Santa Clara (59.26%) and the Washington Foster (57.29%).

See the next two pages for salary outcomes and career impact of all 43 schools to be ranked and have a minimum alumni response rate of 10%.

The 2021 Poets&Quants Online MBA Rankings Package

THE BEST ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS OF 2021

HOW ONLINE MBA STUDENTS RATE THEIR EXPERIENCE

HOW ONLINE MBAS RATE THE IMPACT OF THE DEGREE ON THEIR CAREERS

ONLINE MBAS WITH THE BEST SALARY OUTCOMES

ACCEPTANCE RATES FOR THE TOP ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS

AVERAGE GMAT, GRE & GPAS FOR THE 2021 TOP ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS 

AVERAGE WORK EXPERIENCE OF STUDENTS AT THE TOP 2021 ONLINE MBA OPTIONS

MOST & LEAST EXPENSIVE TOP ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS OF 2021

VIDEO: DEANS’ PANEL — A CONVERSATION WITH LEADERS OF THE TOP ONLINE MBA OPTIONS

PODCAST: MBA ALTERNATIVES: A BUSINESS CASUAL CONVERSATION ON THE PROS AND CONS OF MBA ALTERNATIVES FROM ONLINE MBAS TO PART-TIME MBAS AND EXECUTIVE MBA PROGRAMS 

VIDEO: OUR BACKSTAGE WEBINAR SERIES ON THE TOP ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS

THE METHODOLOGY BEHIND P&Q’S 2021 ONLINE MBA RANKING

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