MBA Salaries, Bonuses & Job Success Rates At 30 Top U.S. B-Schools

MBA Salaries, Bonuses & Job Success Rates At 30 Top U.S. B-Schools

The 2020s have been a topsy-turvy decade for MBAs on the job hunt — to put it mildly. The decade opened with a pandemic that thrust the world economy into a brief but dramatic hibernation. By 2022, things were beginning to feel normal again, but late in the year one of the top three industries for MBA employment began a long, slow implosion that continues to this day. Tech’s troubles were followed by temblors in consulting and finance, MBAs’ other two main destinations, throughout 2023 — headwinds felt by graduating MBAs well before the major business schools in the United States and globally released their employment reports last fall and winter.

Now that (nearly) all of those reports have been published, we can officially make the call: In MBA job offers and acceptances three months after graduation, 2023 was the worst year in many years. In both measures, graduates of the top MBA programs reported declines nearly across the board — and the pain was particularly acute at some of the most elite institutions in the U.S.

Yet for those MBAs who did find jobs — still the overwhelming majority of those seeking them — salaries and bonuses did not disappoint; in fact, at most top U.S. B-schools, compensation kept growing at respectable-to-impressive rates. It’s the modern MBA paradox: Jobs are becoming harder to find, but they’re paying better than ever. An MBA can, and mostly does, still lead to financial security and a better life — but in 2024 it’s less a guarantee of one.


2024 P&Q Rank School Median Starting Base Salary (2023) Median Starting Base Salary (2022) Y-O-Y Salary Change Median Starting Base Salary (2021) Median Starting Base Salary (2020) 4-Year Salary Change
1 Stanford GSB $182,500 $175,000 +$7,500 $158,400 $156,000 +$26,500
11 Chicago (Booth) $180,000 $175,000 +$5K $155,000 $150,000 +$30K
7 Cornell (Johnson) $175,000 $165,000 +$10K $140,000 $140,000 +$35K
31 Penn (Wharton) $175,000 $175,000 None $155,000 $150,000 +$25K
2 Harvard Business School $175,000 $175,000 None $150,500 $150,000 +$25K
4 Columbia $175,000 $175,000 None $150,000 $150,000 +$25K
3 Dartmouth (Tuck) $175,000 $175,000 None $150,000 $150,000 +$25K
12 Northwestern (Kellogg) $175,000 $165,000 +$10K $150,000 $144,000 +$31K
14 MIT (Sloan) $175,000 $165,000 +$10K $150,000 $150,000 +$25K
5 Yale SOM $175,000 $160,110 +$14,890 $140,400 $140,000 +$35K
15 UC-Berkeley (Haas) $166,650 $155,000 +$11,650 $149,000 $140,000 +$26,650

Source: B-school employment reports


MBA pay grew significantly for graduates of several major programs in 2023 and new school records were set at many of them. Michigan Ross School of Business, Duke Fuqua School of Business, UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business, and other top U.S. B-schools reported noteworthy increases in both starting salaries and total compensation. At MIT Sloan School of Management, the MBA Class of 2023 achieved a total compensation median of $217,780, up from $204,700 in 2022; and the 2023 class’s mean salary grew significantly, too, by 5.5% to $168,095 from $159,391. At Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, MBA Class of 2023 employment data showed that median starting salary grew to $175K from $165K; with a median signing bonus stable at $30K, Kellogg’s median total pay grew to $200,500 — up nearly 5% from 2022.

And at Chicago Booth School of Business, total median comp grew to $203,430, up 3.5% in one year and 14% in two. Median starting salary for Boothies grew to $180,000 from $175,000, higher than the median $175K at most of its M7 peers.

Then there’s Stanford, P&Qs‘ No. 1-ranked B-school in the U.S. There’s no other way to say it: Except for placement rates, which like every other B-schools’ declined for GSB grads, Stanford had a great 2023. Average total compensation for Stanford MBAs reached more than $275K last year, up nearly $20K from 2022, as average base salary grew 3.7% to $189,010. Expected performance bonus grew nearly 9%, to an average of $99,347 — and most impressive of all, signing bonus grew an astounding 25% to an average of $42,249. A year after growing more than 11%, total average compensation for Stanford MBA graduates jumped another 7.7% in 2023, to a new school record $277,268.

There was some pain, notably at the top of the rankings. Some leading B-schools had a down year money-wise, including a few of the M7 schools. Harvard was the worst-hit of that elite group, with a 2023 class median salary that stayed flat at $175K, median signing bonus that was flat at $30K, and median performance bonus that remained at $40K — and because fewer grads reported receiving the latter two, total compensation for HBS grads was down, to $220,100 from $223,100 in 2022. It was the second time in three years that total comp for Harvard MBAs declined year-over-year. Columbia Business School, too, saw a decline in overall compensation. At a third M7 school, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, median salary for the 2023 MBA class was flat at $175K — but more concerning for Whartonites was that in finance, where more than a third of Wharton MBAs found work, median salary grew less than 1% to $175K.


Salaries and bonuses were not the problem for MBAs in 2023, though salary growth rate slowed compared to previous years. According to an analysis of data from employment reports at 30 top U.S. schools, from 2020 to 2021, six schools saw their base salaries decline; from 2021 to 2022 and from 2022 to 2023, none did. Yet salaries slowed: The overall average salary at 18 schools that report it was $155,394, which is up 5.2% from $147,648 in 2022; however, that was up 9.3% from 2021. At the 12 schools that report medians, the average was significantly higher: $168,125; at the 10 elite schools in the table at the top of this page (seven of which have median salaries of $175K), the average median is $175,415, which is up from $169,511 in 2022, a 3.5% increase.

In 2023, once again, the biggest overall base salary among the schools reporting averages was at Stanford GSB, at $189,010, more than $20K higher than the next closest, NYU Stern School of Business ($168,182). (However, eight schools report a median base salary of $175K, up from seven schools in 2022.) In 2022, Stanford led all schools with an average base salary of $182,272, with Stern following at $161,475. But in both raw dollars and percentage, Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business outdid them both in 2023, reporting the biggest increase year-to-year in MBA base salary among the schools that report averages, up $17,860 (13.1%) to $154,679. Scheller has also had the most impressive salary growth going back to the pandemic year of 2o2o, up $33,634 (27.8%) since then.

The slowing salary growth can be seen in the year-to-year increase in base salary for the 16 schools with averages, which was $9,556 from 2022 to 2023. That’s down from $12,880 between 2021 and 2022. Just three of the 16 schools saw double-digit percentage increases year-to-year in base salary; from 2021 to 2022, eight schools out of 17 did.

From 2020, however, the picture brightens, with the average four-year increase in base salary for 16 schools $23,352; compared to just $15,362 from 2020 to 2022. And while last year we reported that 13 of 17 schools saw double-digit percentage increases in base salary from 2020 to 2022, we now know that from 2020 to 2023 that club grew to include all 16 schools that report averages.


2024 P&Q Rank School Average Sign-On Bonus (2023) Average Sign-On Bonus (2022) Y-O-Y Bonus Change Average Sign-On Bonus (2021) Average Sign-On Bonus (2020) 4-Year Bonus Change
17 Washington (Foster) $44,537 $40,657 $3,880 $39,283 $36,380 $8,157
24 Georgetown (McDonough) $43,325 $36,342 $6,983 $34,073 $34,707 $8,618
1 Stanford GSB $42,249 $33,684 $8,565 $29,148 $32,551 $9,698
16 CMU (Tepper) $40,139 $38,956 $1,183 $30,399 $33,463 $6,676
26 Rochester (Simon)* $38,941 $33,250 NA $36,000 $34,500 NA
7 Cornell (Johnson) $38,826 $38,310 $516 $37,684 $36,391 $2,435
10 NYU (Stern) $38,192 $40,936 -$2,744 $38,211 $37,892 $300
8 Virginia (Darden) $37,588 $34,749 $2,839 $35,488 $33,266 $4,322

**Simon switched to reporting average from median in 2023

Source: B-school employment reports


MBA signing bonuses are historically quite stable; for schools that report medians, they may even seem stagnant. Many schools have reported the same median bonus for years — $30K — including Columbia, MIT Sloan, Harvard, Duke Fuqua, Michigan Ross, Yale School of Management and others.

But average bonuses see yearly fluctuation, and sometimes it is dramatic. Stanford reported the biggest year-to-year bounce in 2023, an $8,565 jump to $42,249; Stanford also has seen the biggest increase since 2020, up $9,698 in four years. The average year-to-year increase in bonus for 11 schools with averages that saw increases was $3,366; a year earlier, at 15 schools, the average increase was $3,015. Across four years, the average bonus increase at 15 schools that saw increases was $4,896; in 2022, at 16 schools, it was $2,961.

The numbers don’t always go up: Six schools saw their bonus averages dip in 2023, with the worst decline at USC Marshall School of Business, where average bonus dropped by $4,687 to $32,531. In 2022, four schools saw their bonuses decline from 2021; but from 2020 to 2023, only two schools saw declines.

Overall, four schools reported sign-on bonus averages over $40K in 2023, up from two schools in 2022 and none in 2020. Only two schools had bonus averages below $30K, same as in 2022, but down from 7 schools in 2020.

The biggest overall bonus average in 2023 was not Stanford — the GSB was third — but Washington Foster School of Business, at $44,537. In medians, above a sea of $30Ks was Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business, with a median of $35K.


School 2023 Job Offers After 3 Months 2022 Job Offers After 3 Months Y-O-Y Trend 2021 Job Offers After 3 Months 2020 Job Offers After 3 Months 4-Year Trend
Northwestern (Kellogg) 94.5% 99.0% -4.5 97.1% 95.0% -0.5
Cornell (Johnson) 94.0% 97.0% -3.0 97.0% 93.0% +1.0
Penn (Wharton) 97.2% 98.7% -1.5 99.0% 93.5% +3.7
Dartmouth (Tuck) 96.0% 98.0% -2.0 98.0% 94.0% +2.0
Chicago (Booth) 95.6% 96.8% -1.2 97.7% 92.8% +2.8
Yale SOM 91.5% 96.1% -4.6 95.7% 90.2% +1.3
MIT (Sloan) 90.2% 96.6% -6.4 95.9% 95.5% -5.3
Harvard Business School 86.0% 95.0% -9.0 96.0% 90.0% -4.0
Columbia 84% 95.0% -11.0 94.0% 90.0% -6.0
UC-Berkeley (Haas) 89.9% 93.8% -3.9 89.9% 89.1% +0.8
Stanford GSB 89.0% 93.0% -4.0 96.0% 91.0% -2.0

Source: B-school employment reports


It was in placement rates — job offers and acceptances three months after graduation — that most U.S. B-schools had trouble in 2023. But four of the M7 schools had an especially tough year.

At Columbia, only 84% of the MBA Class of 2023 reported receiving offers after 90 days, down from 95% in 2022 (and 94% in 2021), and just 81% reported accepting, down from 92% in each of the previous two years. The numbers are the worst on record for Columbia, including even the coronavirus pandemic classes, though by the close of 2023 the school reports that 92% of the class had job offers, and 91% had accepted. Harvard and MIT grads had historic trouble finding work in 2023, too: Harvard Business School’s Class of 2023 employment data showed that 86% of last year’s grads received job offers 90 days after graduation, down from 95% a year earlier, and 80% accepted, down 10 percentage points from the previous year’s 90%. And of MIT Sloan School of Management’s 336 job seekers in last year’s MBA class of 446, 90.2% received job offers by three months after graduation, and 86.9% accepted. You have to go back to 2013 to find another sub-90% job acceptance result for Sloanies.

Stanford may have kept course in MBA salary growth but finding work for its grads was a different matter. The GSB had its worst placement numbers in years, with job offers at three months post-graduation sinking to 89%, lower even than the pandemic class of 2020 (91%), and acceptances — normally a lower number for Stanford than most schools because of the high number of entrepreneurs in each class — at just 82%, lower than every class going back to 2016. Even Stanford’s two pandemic classes of 2020 and 2021 managed job acceptance rates of 85% and 91%, respectively. Given the challenging environment, Stanford’s number of MBAs seeking employment was dramatically lower this year: 256 compared to last year’s 309. Just 62% of the class went job seeking, down from 67% in 2022, 66% in 2021, 67% in 2020, and 72% in 2019.


School 2023 Job Accepts After 3 Months 2022 Job Accepts After 3 Months Y-O-Y Trend 2021 Job Accepts After 3 Months 2020 Job Accepts After 3 Months 4-Year Trend
Northwestern (Kellogg) 91.9% 97.0% -5.1 96.1% 93.0% -1.1
Cornell (Johnson) 93.0% 96.0% -3.0 95.0% 90.0% +3.0
Penn (Wharton) 92.3% 96.2% -3.9 96.8% 91.6% +0.7
Dartmouth (Tuck) 93.0% 96.0% -3.0 97.0% 92.0% +1.0
Chicago (Booth) 94.3% 95.6% -1.3 96.4% 91.4% +2.9
Yale SOM 88.4% 93.3% -4.9 94.1% 85.9% +2.5
MIT (Sloan) 86.9% 94.4% -7.5 94.8% 91.1% -4.2
Harvard Business School 80.0% 90.0% -10.0 92.0% 83.0% -3.0
Columbia 81.0% 92.0% -11.0 92.0% 87.0% -6.0
UC-Berkeley (Haas) 88.7% 92.8% -4.1 88.3% 86.9% +1.8
Stanford GSB 82.0% 85.0% -3.0 91.0% 85.0% -3.0

Source: B-school employment reports


Columbia’s 11-percentage-point decline in job offers was the worst out of 30 schools, but HBS’s and Washington Olin Business School’s 9-point decline (the latter to 86%) were close behind. Columbia also had the dubious distinction of owning the biggest year-to-year drop-off in job acceptances, but HBS and Washington’s Foster School kept CBS company with 10-point slides of their own, and Olin slipped 9 points.

Overall, the lowest offers were at Columbia (84%), HBS (86%), and Washington Olin (86%), while the lowest acceptances were at Harvard (80%), CBS (81%) and Stanford (82%). Twenty-five of 30 schools saw declines in offers (compared to only eight schools in 2022), and 28 in accepts (compared to 12). Seven schools in 2023 were sub-90% in offers; none were in 2022. Thirteen schools were sub-90% in accepts; only one, Stanford, was in 2022.

The pain was widespread, with even the highest echelons of MBA programs feeling it. Offers and acceptances were down year-to-year at all 10 of the elite schools analyzed in the two tables above, including all of the M7 schools, with offers declining an average of 4.8 percentage points and accepts dropping an average of 5.4 percentage points.

Some schools kept on truckin’ through the storm. Wharton boasted the highest job offer rate (97.2%), with Vanderbilt Owen School of Management and the Scheller College at Georgia Tech close behind at 97%. Owen, Scheller, and Emory Goizueta Business School — three Southern U.S. schools, it must be noted — had the highest job acceptance rates, all at 96%. Owen had an especially good year: Staying even at 97% offers, it was one of just two schools (along with NYU Stern, which saw a small increase) not to report declines in that measure — and Owen and another Southern school, Virginia Darden School of Business, had the distinction of being the only two schools to see increases in accepts: Darden up 1.5 percentage points to 94.5%, and Owen up 1 point to 96%.

Lest pessimism rule, a comparison with the doldrums of the coronavirus pandemic should offer a bit of reassurance: In job offers, from 2020 to 2023, 19 schools saw increases, led by 12-percentage-point jumps at Washington Olin and Notre Dame Mendoza. Only six schools saw decreases in that span (worst: Columbia, down 6 points). In job acceptances, 21 schools saw increases, again led by Olin (up 13 points) and Mendoza (up 12); while eight schools saw declines, with UCLA Anderson School of Management the biggest at -7.3 points (to 85.6%).

Another wrinkle: In 2020, seven schools were sub-90% in job offers — same as in 2023. However, 15 schools were below 90% in acceptances four years ago, and only a dozen schools are in that position today.

See the next page for complete tables of salaries and bonuses from 2020 to 2023 at 30 of the leading U.S. MBA programs; see page 3 for placement rates across those four years at the same schools.


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