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Columbia Business School MBA Jobs & Salary Review

How much do Columbia Business School MBAs earn? Which companies employ them and where? Find out all this and more in our MBA jobs and salary review

Thu Feb 22 2024

Based in New York City, Columbia Business School is a world-renowned provider of graduate management education. 

Specializing in finance, leadership and entrepreneurship, and producing students capable of entering any industry after graduation, Columbia's full-time MBA program is a top 10 degree and even ranked first in the Financial Times MBA Ranking last year. 

In 2023, 84% of Columbia MBA graduates received job offers within three months of graduation. Their average MBA salary was $175,000, while many students also received signing bonuses, the highest of which was $222,800.  

The most popular industries for Columbia MBAs are typically consulting or financial services, with two thirds of students taking roles within those industries. The Big Three consulting firms, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain were the biggest recruiters of Columbia students, taking on 82 graduates between them. 

Columbia MBAs also found work at some of the world's largest companies across other desirable industries, with Amazon, Google, and Apple among the employers of the most recent graduating class. 

With the school's entrepreneurial pedigree, some students also choose to start their own businesses, launching startups in areas like healthcare, fashion, edtech after graduating. 

Columbia received STEM designation for its MBA program in 2020 after adding more technology and data science to its curriculum. As a result, international Columbia MBA students are allowed to stay and work in the US for up to three years without an H-1B work visa, increasing the desirability of the course for International students.  

So what return can you expect from the Columbia MBA?*


*Average is based on the previous version of the GMAT Exam and not the updated GMAT Focus Edition that came into effect in February 2024. For more information, read our explainer.

Companies hiring Columbia MBA grads


Columbia grads find roles all over the world and in a wide variety of sectors.  

With access to a network of more than 48,000 alumni working in over 100 countries, students can receive support from professionals working within almost any industry. The reputation of Columbia's MBA as one of the best in the world also means graduates have a good chance of success wherever they apply, which is why 2023 graduates earned places at some of the world's largest companies.  

In keeping with Columbia tradition, the most popular industries for grads to go into were consulting and finance in 2023. Technology made up around 11% of graduates, while a smaller number chose companies within other industries such as education, non-profit work or healthcare. Across all Columbia Business School programs, 48 students chose to launch their own ventures in 2023.

Most popular industries for Columbia MBAs

Average Columbia MBA salary

Post-MBA salaries are one of the most important factors candidates consider when applying for MBAs. Columbia's MBA costs $84,496 for tuition, and the school estimates total costs can rise to around $127,058 with living expenses and accommodation factored in. Salaries are therefore an important measure of return on students' investment.  

With the majority of graduates taking up roles in consulting and financial services—traditionally lucrative industries—the average salary for Columbia MBA grads is above average. 

Students earned $175,000 on average in 2023, a significant increase from $150,000 in 2020. This is considerably higher than the average starting salaries of MBA grads across the US, which was $115,000 in 2022, so candidates can expect a good return on their investment after graduating from the Columbia MBA. 

Below is a breakdown of average salaries for each industry Columbia students entered after graduating.  

Columbia MBA's average salary by industry

*These figures are averages of the median salaries earned across subcategories within each of these sectors. For a more detailed breakdown, see the original report.

With most industries paying graduates more than the average MBA starting salary, Columbia students can expect to be well rewarded for completing their course. Bonuses can also be lucrative for graduates, 71% of students received a signing bonus averaging around $30,000 in 2023. A further 17% of graduates received additional bonuses, ranging from $2,480 to $285,000, with an average of $31,000.    

The most lucrative industry in 2023 was consulting, which saw MBAs earning a median base salary of $190,000 in their first year after leaving the course.   

Columbia MBA graduate job destinations 

Most Columbia MBA students take up roles domestically after graduation, however, 47% of students in 2023 entered the course from outside the US. Columbia is proud of its international approach, which features 80 alumni clubs around the world. While most domestic students go on to work in US companies, Columbia grads took on roles across the world, with many relocating to Asia and Europe in 2023.    

Columbia MBA grad destinations

Who is the Columbia MBA for?


For those looking to work in finance or consulting, Columbia Business School's track record in placing graduates into big-name firms is clear, and the network of alumni working within those industries will be a great asset to students when looking for a job.  

The school helps MBAs find work all over the world, whether they want to work internationally or within the US.  

Financially, the cost of Columbia's MBA is more than most programs globally, but it is similar to other prestigious M7 business schools like Stanford, Harvard, and Wharton. The average salary is also similar to those schools, so for candidates looking to study at a top 10 US business school Columbia is a good option.  

If you're looking to study your MBA in a major city, Columbia's location in the heart of New York City makes it the course for you.  


*The data sourced in this article is based on the Columbia 2023 Employment Report