Total MBA Pay At The Top 100 U.S. B-Schools

Total MBA Pay At The Top 100 U.S. B-Schools

You won’t read this very often: Harvard Business School graduates are having a hard time on the job market.

Not individually, where HBS continues to produce stellar career results for its MBAs. But a Poets&Quants analysis of the salary and bonus data released in April by U.S. News as part of its annual ranking of the top U.S. B-schools finds that Harvard was alone in 2023 among top-10 schools in losing ground in total MBA compensation.

In fact, last year average total compensation for MBA graduates — which includes averages of base salary and sign-on bonus adjusted for the percentage of grads reporting a bonus — increased year over year at 22 of the top 25 B-schools. But not at Harvard, which lost 3.3% from its 2022 total comp average of $194,723, to drop to $188,223.


2024 P&Q Rank School 2023 Overall Base Pay* 2022 Overall Base Pay Y-O-Y Increase 2021 Overall Base Pay Y-O-Y Increase, 2021 to 2022 2020 Overall Base Pay 2019 Overall Base Pay 2018 Overall Base Pay
8 Virginia (Darden) $199,247 $186,974 6.6% $174,246 7.3% $165,194 $165,292 $160,711
1 Stanford GSB $204,008 $193,388 5.5% $173,199 11.7% $171,100 $168,226 $162,704
31 Pennsylvania (Wharton) $194,876 $186,279 4.6% $175,021 6.4% NA $172,016 $165,528
12 Northwestern (Kellogg) $194,425 $185,873 4.6% $168,057 10.6% $168,837 $163,752 $151,605
10 New York (Stern) $196,176 $191,768 2.3% $178,182 7.6% $175,157 $168,291 $159,021
9 Michigan (Ross) $188,420 $181,039 4.1% $169,277 6.9% $158,060 $157,188 $156,163
2 Harvard Business School $188,223 $194,723 -3.3% $169,015 15.2% $166,706 $164,872 $159,314
6 Duke (Fuqua) $189,754 $182,080 4.2% $170,474 6.8% $163,750 $161,079 $155,129
3 Dartmouth (Tuck) $196,995 $186,690 5.5% $166,948 11.8% $169,598 $166,251 $157,821
7 Cornell (Johnson) $193,053 $186,462 3.5% $169,231 10.2% $166,315 $161,823 $154,533
11 Chicago (Booth) $199,741 $191,177 4.5% $175,290 9.1% $167,909 $164,607 $154,722
Source: Poets&Quants analysis of U.S. News & World Report data
*Calculated by taking average salary X 100, adding to average sign-on bonus X percentage of students reporting they received it, then dividing by 100.


HBS — and Washington Foster School of Business and USC Marshall School of Business, the other two top-25 B-schools where comp declined in 2023 — were in the clear minority. Comp increased at 39 of the top 50 schools and at 70 of the top 100 (out of 86 for which there is sufficient data). Nineteen B-schools across the P&Q top 100 reported double-digit compensation growth.

Harvard’s total comp in 2022 was that year’s highest among the top 100 B-schools as ranked by P&Q. In 2023, that distinction went to Stanford Graduate School of Business, which increased its total 5.5% to $204,008 from $193,388 — the only B-school out of 100 to cross the $200K threshold. In all, 24 schools eclipsed $170K in average total comp in 2023, up from 19 schools in 2022 (and just six in 2021), and 17 schools were over $180K, up from 14. Nine were over $190K, up from four, including two schools knocking at the door of $200K: Chicago Booth School of Business ($199,741) and Virginia Darden School of Business ($199,247); the latter school also had the biggest rate of comp growth year to year in the top 10, at 6.6%.

You don’t need to feel too bad for Harvard MBAs. From 2018 to 2022, total MBA pay for HBS grads grew more than 22%; in one year alone from 2021 to 2022, it grew more than 15%. (See table above.) That kept pace with other top schools like Chicago Booth, where pay grew 23% from 2018 to 2022, and Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, where it grew 22%.

Adjusting the new data to include 2023, here is how much total pay has increased in the last five years at select elite MBA programs:

School Pay Growth 2018-2023
Stanford GSB 25.4%
Penn (Wharton) 17.7%
Harvard Business School 18.1%
Northwestern (Kellogg) 28.2%
Chicago (Booth) 29.1%
NYU (Stern) 23.4%
Dartmouth (Tuck) 24.8%
Virginia (Darden) 24.0%
Michigan (Ross) 20.7%
Duke (Fuqua) 22.3%
Cornell (Johnson) 24.9%
Average 23.5%

Clearly, it’s good to be an MBA from a top B-school. But it’s noteworthy that pay growth at every one of the 11 schools listed above significantly slowed from 2022 to 2023, compared to the year between 2021 and 2022: at Stanford from 11.7% to 5.5%; at Kellogg from 10.6% to 4.6%; at Dartmouth Tuck School of Business from 11.8% to 5.5%. And nowhere saw a bigger drop-off than HBS: from 15.2% to -3.3%.


A word about P&Q‘s methodology. We calculate total pay by taking average salary and multiplying it by 100; multiplying the average sign-on bonus by the percentage of students reporting that they received it; then adding the two totals and dividing by 100. In this way we get a number that more accurately reflects compensation than merely adding base salary and bonus averages.

Because we are working with raw data collected by U.S. News, to make the total pay calculation we must first calculate signing bonus reporting percentage. We do this by dividing what the magazine reports as “Total reporting signing bonus” by “Full-time graduates known to be seeking employment.” Astute readers will note that this has led to some differences with pay totals in P&Q’s employment report stories, notably at schools we have reported reaching the “$200K compensation club”:

These differences are the result of different data sets and therefore can’t be reconciled; however, put together, they offer what we see as a fairly accurate picture of the compensation expectations of MBAs from these schools. They also, undeniably, offer a lesson in the mutability of pay data: Nothing is static, circumstances change, and the newer the numbers, the more we trust we place in them.


2024 P&Q Rank School 2023 Pay* 2022 Pay Pay Growth
87 Kansas $90,118 $68,938 30.7%
50 Ohio State (Fisher) $155,421 $123,880 25.5%
76 Buffalo SUNY $89,224 $72,111 23.7%
75 NC State (Poole) $118,114 $97,606 21.0%
89 Pepperdine (Graziadio) $111,183 $92,741 19.9%
77 Chapman (Argyros) $94,728 $82,085 15.4%
44 Minnesota (Carlson) $160,939 $140,985 14.2%
Source: Poets&Quants analysis of U.S. News & World Report data
*Calculated by taking average salary X 100, adding to average sign-on bonus X percentage of students reporting they received it, then dividing by 100.


Stanford GSB had the highest total comp in large part because it had the highest average salary: $189,010. (See our recent story on high and low MBA salaries and bonuses for details.) The highest bonus among all 100 schools was at Miami Herbert Business School: $83,400. The caveat to that is that at Miami, only five grads reported bonuses, and one of them got $300K, ballooning the school’s average. Outside of that outlier, Washington Foster’s $44,537 ranked as the highest bonus average.

Overall, 34 schools reported total compensation of $150K or more, up from 29 schools in 2022, and 30 reported $160K or more, up from 24. The lowest total in the top 10 was at No. 4 Columbia Business School ($187,939); the lowest in the top 25 was at No. 25 Florida Warrington College of Business ($150,379). In the top 50, the lowest total comp was at No. 47 Northeastern D’Amore-McKim School of Business ($99,314), while the lowest of all schools for which enough data was available to make a calculation was at No. 85 Mississippi State ($60,497).

In all, on the lower end of the scale, 19 schools had five-digit total compensation — down from 23 schools in 2022. See the next page for detailed data breakdowns.


And what about pay growth trends? The biggest pay growth in the top 10 was 6.6% at Virginia Darden; the biggest in the top 25 was Florida Warrington, up 12.6%. The biggest overall: No. 87 Kansas, a small program where total comp grew more than 30% to $90,118 from $68,938. See table above for other schools with notable year-to-year compensation growth.

Overall, 19 schools saw double-digit compensation growth from 2022 to 2023, while only three — No. 86 Hawaii Shidler (-43.7% to $66,184 from $117,643), No. 33 Texas-Dallas Jindal (-13.7% to $116,003), and No. 69 Arizona Eller (-13.2% to $101,573) — saw double-digit declines. In all, 24 schools saw negative growth, though three of those were by less than 1% and another eight by less than 2%.

On the other side, one school saw growth by less than 1%, and nine saw growth by less than 2%. See the next page for details.

See the next page for a table of complete salary, bonus, bonus reporting percentage, and total pay data for the top 100 schools in Poets&Quants’ 2024 ranking.

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