Average Stanford MBA Pay Now Exceeds A Quarter Of A Million Dollars

Average Stanford MBA Pay Now Exceeds $250K

Stanford lost its No. 1 spot in the P&Q ranking for the first time in four years — but as its newly released 2022 employment report shows, the Graduate School of Business remains one of the most prestigious MBA programs in the world, with one of the best ROIs

They started their MBA journeys in a pandemic. By the time they were finished, Stanford Graduate School of Business Class of 2022 MBAs had set new school records for starting salary, expected performance bonus, and total compensation.

What’s more, they largely eluded another crisis: the great tech bubble burst of the last 18 months. More Stanford MBAs went into tech in 2022 than in previous years, making more money — and many more started their own tech ventures.

Stanford released its Class of 2022 employment report today (January 12), chronicling the remarkable ROI for 462 newly minted MBAs who last May completed two eventful years at the world’s most selective B-school. “These students,” says Jamie Schein, assistant dean and director of Stanford GSB’s Career Management Center, “exhibited a relentless drive to pursue opportunities that would allow them to make an impact in the fields where they are passionate. We could not be more excited for them as they continue their journeys.”


Just how impressive was Stanford's Class of 2022? Let the numbers tell the story: Average MBA starting salary jumped to $182,272, up more than $20K and 12.6% from 2021, by far the biggest one-year jump in the last decade at the school. The huge salary growth was mirrored by big increases in the two other key pay elements: average signing bonuses, which grew 15.6% to $33,684, and average expected performance bonus, which jumped 16.7% to $91,476. Adjusting the latter two by the percentage of those reporting them (see the table above), Stanford MBAs' total average compensation in 2022 was a gobsmacking $257,563 — up 11.1% from 2021 and 2020 (classes for which average total pay was virtually identical), and an incredible 19.2% from the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

The median numbers are only slightly less astounding: Stanford MBAs' median starting salary increased to $175,000 — equaling fellow M7 schools Harvard, Wharton, Chicago Booth, and Columbia — powering total median pay growth 8.9% year-over-year to $218,350, second in that rarefied group behind only Harvard Business School. Further fueled by a $10K boost in median expected performance bonus to $45,000, Stanford's median total pay has grown 12.3% since 2020, when the first coronavirus MBA class graduated, and 16.3% since 2019, the last "normal" year before the pandemic.

Stanford's remarkable MBA pay packages pace those at most of its peer schools, where $200K to start a new job is no longer a fantastical proposition. Harvard's Class of 2022 led all M7 grads, reporting total median compensation of $223,100; MIT Sloan School of Management reported median total comp at $204,700. Columbia Business School, which released its jobs report in late December, saw its grads' total median compensation grow $24,872 in one year, a 13.9% increase from $178,380 in 2021, to $203,252. Chicago Booth's School of Business reported median total pay of $196,600, while Northwestern Kellogg School of Management's Class of 2022 median comp came out to $191,100The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School does not report the percentage of those reporting a signing bonus, making a total compensation calculation impossible; but Wharton did report a median base salary identical to Columbia's, Harvard's, and now Stanford's: $175K.


Average Stanford MBA Pay Now Exceeds $250K

Christoph Jamann, Stanford MBA Class of 2022: "I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve built a new life in the United States and, most importantly, am working for a company I’m super passionate about"

Job placement rates continued to be solid for Stanford MBAs, though they took a slight downturn, not unusual at a top B-school in 2022. Ninety-three percent of the 309 Stanford MBAs in the Class of 2022 who sought employment received offers within three months of graduation, down from 96% in 2021, and nearly 85% accepted, down from 91%. Offers for Stanford grads had dipped from 94% in 2019 to 91% the next year as job seekers and employers grappled with the unknowns of a global health crisis — but Stanford being Stanford, by the next year, 2021, stability had returned, with offers rebounding to 96%. Though they are now down again, the school characterizes the decline in both areas not as a worrisome trend but “a sign that some graduates persisted in pursuing opportunities that aligned with their personal values and interests.”

One of those graduates was Christoph Jamann. The German native's focus over the last two years was on three possible future career paths: aviation, tech, and Formula 1. After witnessing the decline of the airline industry amid the pandemic early in his MBA and the more recent downturn in the tech industry from a Silicon Valley perch in Palo Alto, Jamann opted to pursue a position in the sport he has loved since childhood.

“I promised myself I would stop pursuing the standard path and really follow the passions I have,” he says in a news release from Stanford accompanying the release of the new MBA employment report. “Growing up near a racetrack as a child, and seeing the momentum for F1 in the U.S., I knew this was the direction that I wanted to go.”

With the help of Stanford's CMC, Jamann landed two internships, at McLaren Racing and Angel City Football Club, the women’s professional soccer team; he also turned down an offer in tech. Last June, he started as director of strategy for Formula 1’s team in Las Vegas, and by October he had risen to chief of staff.

“An alum told me to see the GSB as a sandbox — to explore and find my passions,” he says. “I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve built a new life in the United States and, most importantly, am working for a company I’m super passionate about.”


Most noteworthy in the 2022 employment report breakdown of jobs by industry is the percentage of Stanford grads who went into tech: It's up at a time when even a slight increase is extraordinary. Consider that according to latest estimates, more than 150,000 tech workers lost their jobs in 2022; yet 30% of Stanford's MBAs found tech jobs in 2022, up from 29% in 2021, 28% in 2020, and 24% in 2019 — the largest bloc of a graduating GSB class, in fact, to work in tech since 33% of the GSB's MBA Class of 2018. Where precisely did they find jobs? While consumer tech jobs were halved this year to 7% of the class from 14%, enterprise tech grew to 10% from 6%. Another 7% secured fintech employment.

Consulting, meanwhile, dropped to 15% of the class from 18%, while finance was flat at 33%. Under the finance umbrella, private equity slipped to 14% from 15%, and venture capital inched upward to 12% from 11%. Healthcare was flat at 5%, and media/entertainment was 5% from 4% in 2021.

By function, most 2022 Stanford grads' jobs fall into the finance category (34% from 32% in 2021), with general management (23%; led by business ops/strategy/planning, 15%) and marketing (22%; led by product management, 12%) next most-common. Consulting jobs slipped to 15% of the class from 20% last year.

Top salaries by field were in finance, for which the median grew to $200K from $175K in 2021; VC, at a median of $237,500, led all finance (and other) sub-categories. Median consulting pay grew to $190K from $165K, and median tech pay jumped to $163,750 from $150K. The latter was $140K in 2020 and 2019. 

Stanford this year declined to report salary ranges, instead offering 75th percentiles. The largest was $262,500 for VC. The largest median expected performance bonus was also VC ($185,000), while the largest median signing bonus ($50,000) was for investment management as well as its general finance.

Average Stanford MBA Pay Now Exceeds $250K

Source: Stanford GSB


Average Stanford MBA Pay Now Exceeds $250K

Diana Ding, Stanford MBA Class of 2022, teamed up with a classmate to launch a search fund focused on women's health

Stanford's Class of 2022 and 2023 are already “making their mark," says Paul Oyer, senior associate dean for academic affairs. “These students and graduates faced great challenges starting their MBA journeys in the midst of a global pandemic,” he says. “Now, they are pursuing careers that line up with their personal and professional passions, and their diversity of outcomes reflects their diversity of interests and experiences. They are well prepared to make a substantial impact in their organizations and the world.”

Of course, Stanford is located in Silicon Valley and Silicon Valley is the world capital of startups, so naturally GSB grads' passions often tend in that direction. In 2021, 18% of the school's graduating MBA class started a new venture — same as the previous year — and pursued it full-time post-graduation. That was the highest level of startup creators in the MBA ranks that the school had ever reached.

The highest, that is, until this year. In 2022, 19% of Stanford's graduating MBAs started a new venture, with nearly half of them — 47% — launching a tech startup, up from 37% of all startups from the Class of 2o21. Another 13% of 2022 startups were in healthcare, up from 8%; 7% in energy, same as 2021; and 6% in consumer products, up from 5%. Remarkably, only 6% were in finance, down from 17% one year ago.

One of those entrepreneurs is Diana Ding, who had no plans to be an entrepreneur at all when she began her MBA in 2020. Ding assumed that she would return to investing after graduation, but she pivoted after learning about search funds through a club on campus and becoming fascinated by that form of entrepreneurship, which involves raising money to acquire businesses and then helping them run and grow.

Ding and classmate Sydney Lehman teamed up to launch a fund focused on women’s health after focusing on the idea through an independent research project and the GSB course Startup Garage. Last spring, they launched their search fund, Zone 2 Partners, which will acquire women’s health-related businesses and manage their operations for the long term.

“Historically, a lot of women’s health has been underfunded,” Lehman says. “We are passionate about our mission of actively supporting women throughout their lifetimes.”


In past years, most graduating Stanford MBAs have remained on the West Coast, and Covid-19 restrictions only reinforced GSB grads’ desire to avoid relocation and other travel. In 2020, a year defined by travel restrictions, 60% of Stanford MBAs stayed in the West, and they may have taken a pay cut to do it, making a median $155,000 — lowest of all grads who stayed in North America, and lower than the continental median of $160,000. The 20% who relocated to the Northeast that year — the New York-Boston corridor, mostly —made the most, with a median pay of $170K.

By 2021, when 56% of Stanford MBAs opted to stay on the West Coast, median salaries had caught up to the continental median at $160K — while, 22% took jobs in the Northeast that year at a median of $158K. For 2022, Stanford did not break down regional salaries, but 58% of the class remained on the West Coast, while 26% went to the Northeast.

Zooming out a bit, in 2020, 89% of Stanford grads stayed in North America, 6% went to Asia, and 3% went to Europe. Another 1% each went to Africa and Latin America. In 2021, 93% stayed in North America, with only 3% moving to Europe and 1% to Asia. Last year, 96% stayed in U.S., with the same number going to Europe (3%) and Asia (1%). Median salary for GSB grads who stayed in the States was $175K; for all others, $150K.

Read the full Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA Class of 2022 employment report here.


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