MBA students at MIT Sloan can expect to earn an average annual salary of $286,000 including bonuses after graduation; over $30,000 more than the world’s second-best paid MBAs at Harvard Business School.
The Emolument study—based on a survey of nearly 11,000 MBA-qualified professionals—revealed how US business schools lead the way when it comes to post-MBA salaries, with 11 out of the top-20 best schools for alumni salaries in the US.
East coast US schools had a strong showing in the ranking, with a total of eight schools in the top 20, including Duke Fuqua, NYU Stern, and Wharton.
Three UK schools made it into the table: Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, London Business School, and the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, the second-strongest showing by a single country outside of the US.
Undoubtedly, a factor in US schools’ dominance of the table is the pay premium attached to working in the US, where salaries and bonuses have traditionally been greater than in Europe. This is particularly true in competitive industries like technology and financial services, which have hubs in California and New York.
Emolument’s study doesn’t account for the gender of the survey respondents, which a recent study by the Financial Times proves could have a big effect on pay after graduation.
Nor does Emolument publicize the nationalities of its survey respondents. While the US does have traditionally higher pay than elsewhere in the world, it also has greater barriers to entry for non-US citizens, and many US schools with the best-paid MBA graduates have a relatively low percentage of international students.
In other words, if you’re a prospective MBA student from outside of the US, you may have a greater chance of starting a new career and earning more if you choose a business school outside the US. MBA graduates from top-ranked INSEAD—which has campuses in France, Asia, and the Middle East—earn $185,000 including bonuses, according to Emolument.
Prospective MBAs should therefore be wary of using Emolument’s data alone as a template for their own applications. Thomas Drewry, co-founder of Emolument, suggests that there’s more to an MBA than a higher salary post-graduation.
“With an MBA also comes the less measurable but real benefit of being part of an exclusive network of high-achieving professionals, which comes in handy when looking for a top job or finding the perfect co-founder for an ambitious start up,” he says.
“Still, while MBAs represent a substantial cost for professionals, their impact on one's earning potential and career is undeniable.”