Average MBA Salaries Flatten At Premier European B-School INSEAD

Average Salaries Flatten For INSEAD MBAs

France’s INSEAD has released its MBA Class of 2022 employment report. File photo

The pay is always good for MBAs from elite business schools. Sometimes, though, it’s better in some places than in others.

While the MBA pay picture in the United States is full of big salary and bonus increases year-over-year, one of the top European MBA programs is reporting good news on the salary front, too — in euros, but not so much in dollars. INSEAD, ranked the top international business school for the last six years by Poets&Quants, has released the MBA employment report for its most recent two MBA cohorts showing that average salaries for its most recent pair of graduating classes saw robust growth in euros, up 11.7% to €106,200.

However, in U.S. dollars, INSEAD’s average starting salary of $113,700 actually represents a small decline from the previous graduating cohort’s mark of $113,900. Median signing bonuses, too, saw a small decline, to $26,900 from $27,400. The variance, a school spokesperson says, “is due to the relative strength of the U.S. dollar versus euros from 2021 to 2022.”


Brighter spots in the INSEAD MBA employment report for December 2021 and July 2022 graduates of INSEAD's 10-month MBA program include an increase in job offers after three months to a rate not seen at the school in more than a decade.

In a message attached to the new employment report, Rhoda Yap, global director of INSEAD's Career Development Centre, hints that the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic had an impact on recruitment of INSEAD MBAs. The flattening of MBA salaries follow a 9.3% increase the previous class enjoyed over its predecessors.

"As the world emerged from the pandemic into buoyant labour markets, 94% of our MBA students reported having received an offer three months after graduation in 2022, achieving a decade-high record," Yap writes. "Consulting remained a highly attractive destination sector for INSEAD talent, with 53% of our graduates heading there, followed by TMT (22%), Corporate Sectors (13%), and Financial Services (12%). Median and average base salaries (in Euros) increased by 8% and 11.7%, respectively."

INSEAD salaries remain comparable to other top European B-schools, and — like their counterparts throughout Europe — considerably lag U.S. schools. According to the most recent data available, London Business School's mean MBA starting salary was $114,526; HEC Paris' starting salary package was $128,628; and MBAs from IE Business School in Spain made $143,807 in international dollars to start. In the U.S., Class of 2022 MBAs at 17 of the top 30 B-schools average $147,648; the median for the other 13 B-schools, including six of the elite M7 schools, is $159,085.


The latest INSEAD's cohort's top salary was someone in "other financial services" in North America who reported a starting salary of $300,000; the lowest was $24,500 for someone in retail consumer and luxury goods.

However, INSEAD remains a consulting hotbed. The top three firms hiring the school's latest crop of MBAs were all consultancies, led by the MBB firms: McKinsey (160 hires), Boston Consulting Group (108), and Bain & Company (91). See table above for details. Interestingly, four of the top employers of INSEAD MBAs in the 2020-2021 recruitment cycle — Deloitte (6), Credit Suisse (5), Eli Lilly (5), and Microsoft (4) — did not hire this cycle.

But INSEAD also is a school for career changers: 84% of the latest group of grads changed country, sector or job function, including 57% who changed sector. Twenty-seven percent changed all three.


"Looking ahead," Yap writes, "we expect INSEAD talent to be able to leverage INSEAD’s CDC broad and diverse employer global portfolio and alumni network to identify opportunities in markets and sectors of continued growth. Additionally, we are evolving towards more bespoke programming, as well as leveraging the various modes of in-person or virtual as stakeholders become more thoughtful on travel modes."

Yap added a note about the geographical distribution of INSEAD MBAs, the largest group of whom (39%) found work in Northern Europe, with Asia Pacific (25%) next, followed by Africa/Middle East (12%) and North America (9%).

"Despite geopolitical uncertainties, INSEAD talent has demonstrated market resilience, with a record number of INSEAD talent finding roles in post-Brexit UK and Singapore," Yap writes. "The United Arab Emirates also re-emerged as a top-three target destination for INSEAD Talent with its highly competitive compensation packages. We look forward to empowering, connecting, and educating responsible leaders in their life-long career journey in the upcoming year."

See INSEAD's new employment data here.

Editor's note: This story originally incorrectly reported that average salaries at INSEAD are up 11.7% in U.S. dollars; though year-to-year pay did increase in euros, because of fluctuations in exchange rate the 2021-2022 cohort actually experienced a small decline in U.S. dollars.


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.