Another Record MBA Pay Year At Harvard Business School

Outside on the Harvard Business School campus


Another determination in pay is location. MBA graduates who accepted jobs overseas earned more than $25,000 less in starting total compensation than the majority of students who gained jobs in the U.S. The difference? $173,400 in the U.S. vs. $148,350 outside the U.S. The main element of pay that was different was starting salaries: A median of $150,000 in the states versus $124,150 abroad (see table on page four).

Harvard said that roughly 10% of its graduates went into startup companies, defined as organizations that are still private and 10 years of age or younger. That is a big decline from the 17% who chose this career option last year. Those firms paid the MBAs median base salaries of $140,000 in 2020, $3,000 more than the median last year. Not surprisingly, 53% of those companies were in the tech space, while 12% were in healthcare.

Whether COVID had a direct impact on students becoming entrepreneurs is an open question. But what is not a question is the big rise in startup activity among Harvard MBAs in the Class of 2020. Some 105 members, or 11.3% of the graduates chose to become entrepreneurs founding startups. That’s a big jump on the previous year when only 65 graduates, or 7% of the class, did their own startups. Harvard said that 56% of this year’s founders have a co-founder on their teams and 47% (up from 22% in 2019) of them connected with their co-founders on the HBS campus.

HBS said there were 930 members of the Class of 2020, of which 72% were seeking employment this year. Roughly 13% were sponsored by their employers and will return to them or are already employed, down from 15% a year earlier.

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