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Harvard Business School MBA Jobs & Salary Review

Which companies hire MBAs from Harvard Business School? What do they earn? Is the HBS MBA right for you? Find out in our MBA jobs and salary review

Thu Dec 21 2023

BusinessBecause

Since establishing the world's first MBA program, Harvard Business School (HBS) has set a precedent for business education globally. A consistent chart-topper, the HBS MBA is ranked the world's best by the Financial Times.

Then there's the wealth of HBS notable alumni working for the biggest companies in the world, from Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook to former president, George W. Bush.

In the 2022-23 academic year, Harvard received 8,264 applications to its full-time MBA program. 1,187 were accepted in 2023, giving it a 14% acceptance rate. 

The two-year, full-time MBA program offers candidates a general management education with a true focus on real-world business practices, with the opportunity to build their entrepreneurial mindset too.

So, what kind of return can you expect from the Harvard MBA?*


Companies hiring HBS MBA grads 


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HBS MBAs go on to launch careers with top companies worldwide. Hundreds of global organizations hired from the MBA class of 2023 or during a summer internship from the class of 2024. 

Apple, Microsoft, and SpaceX are among the hirers of Harvard MBA grads. Big tech has become so dominant in our lives that the opportunity to snap up fresh HBS MBAs is a no brainer for recruitment teams from these firms.

Traditionally popular routes such as finance and consulting are also among HBS MBA recruiters. Grads go on to land jobs at the big three consulting firms, Bain & Company, McKinsey, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), as well as firms like IBM and JP Morgan Chase. 

Consumer goods are popular routes for HBS MBAs too, at the likes of Nike, Glossier, and L’Oréal. Johnson & Johnson also hired HBS MBAs from the class of 2023. 

Add to that mix the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Tesla, and The Walt Disney Company, and HBS MBAs in 2023 found employment with some of the largest and most reputable organizations out there. 


Harvard MBA graduate industry destination



HBS Class profile 


The Harvard MBA class of 2025 has 938 students made up of 45% women and 39% international. On average, women make up 39% of applications for MBA programs, making HBS’s gender split above average. 

With an average financial aid package of $46,000 being...

d 11% of students being the first in their families to attend college, HBS is making steps forward in diversity on all levels.

HBS MBAs arrive with a range of academic backgrounds, with 25% coming from engineering, 22% business/commerce, 21% economics, 17% math and physical sciences, 12% social sciences, and 4% from the arts and humanities. The average GPA for these students—based on the US 4.0 grading system—was 3.73.

To apply, 69% of the MBA class of 2025 completed the GMAT and 34% completed the GRE, with a handful completing both. GMAT scores ranged between 500 and 790, with a median total of 740. Students’ GRE verbal scores ranged between 150-170, with a median score of 163. Their GRE quantitative scores ranged between 145-170 with a median of 163.



HBS: Popular MBA jobs 


The most popular career direction for grads from the most recent class was finance, with 33% of MBA grads entering the sector. Financial services has consistently been one of the most popular MBA grad routes—alongside consulting and technology. 

According to the GMAC Prospective Students Survey, 38% of 2023 prospective GME students plan on entering financial services. 

The industry also boasts one of the highest starting base salaries for HBS grads; average base salaries in this sector range from $157,500 to $200,000.

The two other most popular graduate destinations—consulting and technology—saw 25% and 16% of MBAs move into each sector, respectively.

Smaller numbers of grads started careers in consumer products (4%), services (2%), entertainment (1%), and retail (1%). 6% went for the manufacturing industry and 5% went for the nonprofit/government and healthcare sectors.

HBS has a strong entrepreneurial record too: 13% of 2023 grads joined a startup upon graduation.

127 graduates founded their own business, and 52% connected with a cofounder whilst at HBS—if meeting your future business partner is something you want out of your MBA. 66 businesses are listed as making a social impact.


Average MBA Salary


Making sure your salary offers a strong return on investment for the time and money put into studying the MBA is a huge factor behind many students’ decision to pursue graduate management education.

If a high salary and bonuses are something you’re after, the HBS MBA delivers.

In 2023, the median base salary for HBS grads was $175,000—this is higher than the average US MBA salary of $125,000, according to the GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey.

On top of that, the median signing bonus was $30,000 and the median performance bonus was $40,000. 57% of grads received a signing bonus, with 70% receiving a performance bonus.

HBS MBAs who entered the consulting sector had a higher average median base salary than their peers entering other industries, with the consulting median salary coming in at $192,000. That’s compared to the median salary of $140,000 in an industry like consumer products; still not small.

For consulting, the median signing bonus was $35,000 and 52% of MBAs entering consulting received a signing on bonus, while 86% received a $30,000 performance bonus. For the 1% of grads who started careers in entertainment and media, the median base salary was $152,500, with a median bonus of $15,750.

Finance had a median salary of $175,000. The median signing on bonus was $40,000, and 46% of grads received a signing on bonus. Something to consider is that 76% of those entering finance received a performance bonus with a median amount of $150,000.

Healthcare professionals had a median starting salary of $165,000 and signing bonus of $30,000, which 57% received.

Manufacturing had a median salary of $150,000 and a slightly lower median signing bonus of $25,000, which 60% of grads were given.

For the 1% of grads entering retail, the median salary came to $159,000, and in the services industry, the median salary came to $140,000. The median performance bonus was $72,500, which 62% received.

16% of grads entered the technology sector, where they found a median starting salary of $158,050 and a median signing bonus of $30,000.

For the 5% entering nonprofit and government industries, the median base salary was $120,000.


Harvard MBA graduate job destination



Around 89% of  grads chose to stay in the US upon graduation, largely in the northeast (54%). Those working in the northeast received a base salary of $180,000. However, the highest median base salary is in the south with grads earning a median salary of $192,000. The west had the lowest median base salary of all US regions at $170,000. 

While the median base salary for grads working in Asia, who made up 3% of grads, was slightly lower at $121,000. 79% received a performance bonus, with a median of $40,000 and the median signing bonus was $40,000, received by 53% of grads.

For the 5% of grads who launched careers in Europe, the median base salary was $145,500, with a median signing bonus of $21,000—received by 46%—and 57% received a performance bonus, with a median of $78,000.

Only 1% of grads moved to the Middle East and North Africa and their median base salary was $140,000. 

Under 1% of grads went to Australia and Oceania, Canada, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa to launch their careers after their coveted HBS MBA. 


Who is the HBS MBA for?


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Harvard places a large proportion of its students into the traditional MBA sectors of financial services, consulting, and technology.

With some of the best minds having passed through Harvard’s doors, if you’re a budding startup founder the network and institutional support available from the HBS MBA should also stand out.

The MBA offers a demanding and fast-paced environment, where the classroom mirrors the global business landscape. Harvard wants future leaders, so make sure you are prepared to break away from the crowd.

How do you get into Harvard Business School

You need to have a strong academic profile, a good GMAT score, and ambition in abundance. 

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*The data in this article is based on the Harvard MBA Class Profile and Harvard MBA Employment report

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