How Much Do MBAs Earn?. MBA.  

How Much Do MBAs Earn?

What factors determine the salary the MBA graduates receive? What are the top-paying fields?

There are facts and objective data which explain the amount of money MBAs earn in different fields. In some analyses, experience, geography and the alma mater of a graduate are taken into account. Still, it is quite difficult to determine the average salary, since some data lacks follow-up analysis, while other information distorts the general rate. Among such distorting factors are the graduate’s age, his or her previous work experience, career change, time of admission and graduation, as well as the billionaires’ salary which greatly influences the average rate.


Pay Level Depending on Post


MBAs may work in different fields, but their employment status (and thus, the tax level) is much the same. Of all the MBAs, financiers receive the fattest pay checks: their average annual income lies between $92,802 and $166,066. According to PayScale, the difference is due to the field specifics and the employee’s competency level. Next on the list are general managers, operations managers and directors whose average annual income is between $120,000 and $130,000. Financial directors and IT managers earn from $75,000 up to $100,000, while senior financial analysts and HR managers earn about $80,000.


Pay Level Depending on Field


Pay level analysis in various fields requires a different method based on other factors. According to research conducted in 2006 by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the top-paying field a year after graduation is healthcare: here, MBAs earn about $111,000 a year. Next are finance ($103,122), consulting ($101,736), power industry and communal services ($100,122), high-tech ($98,621), manufacturing ($98,417), retail and service industry ($94,558), and non-profit and public sectors ($73,125). Yet, as mentioned above, the data is not absolutely accurate, since in some fields – especially in healthcare – many employees were already high-paid professionals before they decided to get an MBA. Their pay level is considerably higher compared to other graduates.


Pay Level Depending on Experience


Pay and bonuses the MBAs receive grow with their experience, just as it is with any other professionals. This is true for any field or profession, as well as any MBA specialization.


Pay Level Depending on Alma Mater


The B-school’s reputation is an important factor influencing the pay level, especially for newly graduated professionals. According to the Official MBA Guide report, as of January 2011, the graduates of London Business School received the highest salary: $110,000. Next in line are the New York University alumni ($117,000). Graduates of Stanford University, France's INSEAD (European Institute of Business Administration), and MIT complete the top 5 of the highest paid employees.




High pay level is common for commercial centers and large metropolitan areas. In New York, MBAs earn about $100,000 a year in average. In Chicago, Seattle and Boston the pay level is the same. Yet, if we take the subsistence level into account, $100,000 in The Big Apple is not so satisfying as, for instance, $75,000 in North Dakota.


The Most Expensive MBAs

Among the MBA graduates whose salary greatly distorts the average rate is the former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, the founder of the financial news titan Bloomberg LP. With an 18-billion-dollar income, Michael Bloomberg is rated 10th among the richest people in the US. Bloomberg graduated from Harvard Business School. Another HBS graduate is George W. Bush, the only US president to receive an MBA degree. James David Power III, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School graduate, is the founder of the marketing giant J.D. Power and Associates. Among other MBA billionaires are junk bonds king Michael Milken (Wharton), financial tycoon Wilbur Ross Jr. (Harvard), Nike cofounder Philip Knight (Stanford) and hedge fund guru John Paulson whose network is estimated to have a net worth of around 12 billion dollars.



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Author: Victoria Dudka, MBA Strategy Consultants Team Lead

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