Columbia Closes Out 2022 By Reporting Record MBA Compensation: Over $200K

Columbia Business School’s 2022 employment report shows a huge increase in median base salary and total median compensation

It’s been nothing but good news for Columbia Business School in 2022. In January the M7 school opened the doors to its shiny new $600 million building. Columbia’s MBA Class of 2024 profile, released in September, showed that while the New York school couldn’t entirely dodge the widespread decline in MBA applications that has afflicted so many U.S. B-schools, its 5.5% decline was minor compared to those of most of its peers’ — and lowest among M7 schools.

The good news continues for Columbia in the waning days of 2022 with the release of an MBA employment report highlighted by skyrocketing salaries and overall compensation. Median salaries are up $25,000 from 2021, to $175K, and median comp is up more than 16% in two years, to $203,252. See table below for details.

“It is not only that we moved to our new, modern campus, infusing our community with a spirit of expansive optimism,” writes Columbia Dean Costis Maglaras in a foreword to the new jobs report. “It is not only that we welcomed the largest and most diverse class in our history. It is not even that our activity levels are bursting as we emerge from the pandemic. CBS looks different this year because we have fundamentally reimagined what we teach and study to ensure that our graduates and alumni are prepared to shape the future of business.”

HIGH STARTING SALARY: $400K FOR SOMEONE IN PRIVATE EQUITY

Columbia Business School Dean Costis Maglaras: "CBS programs and connections position our graduates to lead the future."

While the median starting salary for Columbia's MBA Class of 2022 was up $25,000, or 16.7%, to $175K, median signing bonus was flat at $30,000 for a second year after inching up to $30,300 in 2020. Median other compensation was up this year to $32,150 from $30,000.

Powered by the jump in base salary, Columbia grads' total median comp grew $24,872 in one year, a 13.9% increase from $178,380 in 2021. The $203,252 total — arrived at not by simply adding up medians, but by adjusting to account for the percentage of students receiving bonuses — puts Columbia firmly in third place among M7 schools. Harvard Business School's Class of 2022 reported total median compensation of $223,100; MIT Sloan School of Management reported median total comp at $204,700. Northwestern Kellogg School of Management's Class of 2022 median comp came out to $191,100, and Chicago Booth's School of Business reported a $196,600 median. Stanford Graduate School of Business has yet to report, and The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School does not report the percentage of those receiving a bonus, but did report a median base salary identical to Columbia's: $175K.

The top median salary at Columbia in 2022 was for those in venture capital, comprising 3.3% of the class: $180,000. That's not counting the 2.1% in "other" who reported a $203,750 median. Notable medians were also reported in investment banking ($175K) and consulting ($175K).

High salaries are always fun to seek out, when B-schools report them: For Columbia, the highest starting salary was $400,000 for someone in private equity, an industry that drew 4.7% of the class. Starting salaries of $300,000 were reported by someone in Internet services/e-commerce (9% of the class) and investment management (8.2% of the class). In other compensation, someone else in PE — or perhaps the same grad! — reported a $335,000 bonus, while someone in investment management reported a $200,000 bonus. The high signing bonus was $150,000.

MORE JOB OFFERS, SAME AMOUNT OF ACCEPTANCES

There were few significant year-to-year changes in the industry choices of Columbia grads this year. Finance remained the top choice, with 36.9% going into the field, up from 36%, and consulting was second, at 33.6%, up from 33.4%. Tech dropped to 16% from 17% and has fallen two years in a row.

Overall, placement was steady as well. Last year, Columbia reported that 94% of its Class of 2021 MBAs received job offers by three months after graduation, up from 90% in 2020 and more in line with the 93.9% of 2019 and 94.1% in 2018; and 92% accepted, up from 87% the previous year and 90.4% in 2019 (and 90.1% in 2018). This year, 95% had offers (up 1 percentage point), and 92% had accepted, same as last year.

The top three reasons the Class of 2022 gave for accepting an offer were firm culture and people (15.1%), company reputation (14.6%) and advancement opportunities (13.0%). Compare that to last year's top three reasons: firm culture and people (15.5%), job content (13.4%) and advancement opportunities (13.4%). In 2020, in the depths of the pandemic, Columbia grads' top three reasons for taking a job were job content (14.4%), growth potential (14.0%), and opportunity for advancement (13.6%).

HIGH HAPPINESS QUOTIENT FOR COLUMBIA MBAs

Geographically, Columbia MBAs like their counterparts at other top U.S. schools mostly stay in the States: 86% of the Class of 2022 stayed in the U.S., even though only 49% of the class were U.S. citizens; 7% found work in Asia, 4% in Europe, 2% in Central/South America, and 1% in Africa/ME.

Top employers were once again the MBB consulting firms: McKinsey & Company hired the most, 78, while 
Boston Consulting Group (44) and 
Bain & Company (33) were next on the list (see next page for employer details). 
Deloitte Consulting hired 28 Columbia MBAs this year, while 
Amazon hired 23 and Goldman Sachs hired 17.

Wherever they found work, Columbia's 2022 grads are mostly happy with their new jobs: 95% of students reported job satisfaction as a 4 or 5 on scale of 1–5, down slightly from 97% last year but up from 94% in 2020 and 93% in each of the two years before that.

See Columbia Business School's MBA Class of 2022 employment report here.

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