Nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford Graduate School of Business first emerged as an alternative to the East Coast business schools, quickly developing into a world-leading school.
Stanford GSB alumni are the world’s highest-paid MBA graduates, with the class of 2020 recording an average graduate starting salary of $160k.
The Stanford MBA class of 2020’s entrepreneurial spirit was also in full swing: 18% of the class launched ventures, the highest rate since 2013, with 37% of female MBA students forming or joining startups.
Besides generating tech-savvy entrepreneurs, Stanford is one of the best MBA courses for finance careers—34% of 2020’s graduating Stanford MBA class entered finance.
Stanford MBA graduates achieved a total average compensation of over $231k in 2020, an increase of 7.2% from 2019. This total takes into account base salary, performance bonuses, and sign-on bonuses.
Considering an MBA at Stanford? Here's our breakdown of your career and salary prospects as a Stanford MBA, based on the school's most recent MBA careers report:
Stanford MBA class profile
Most popular industries for Stanford MBAs
91% of 2020’s Stanford MBA grads received job offers within three months of graduating, down from the previous year’s 94%, with MBAs accepting 85% of job offers, a decrease in 3% from 2019, signaling COVID-19’s impact on employment opportunities.
Finance was the most popular route for MBA grads in 2020 with 34% joining this sector, up by 1% from 2019. These strong rates prove grads value the return on investment offered by finance careers.
Technology and consulting were the second and third most popular routes, respectively. 28% of graduates entered technology, an increase of 4% from 2019, while 15% entered consulting, decreasing by 3% from 2019.
With 73% of Stanford grads changing industry or job function, Stanford is a great place to be if you're considering a career transition. Through company networking events, you’ll meet some of Stanford’s popular employers, potentially bagging yourself an internship or post-MBA career.
At employer presentations, you’ll get the chance to direct your burning questions to companies. Half of the class of 2020 landed MBA jobs through school-facilitated activities.
Stanford promises to prepare students for careers with meaning and impact, with 19% of 2020’s class landing socially responsible roles.
Companies hiring Stanford MBAs
Of the 445 organizations that hired Stanford's class of 2020, 94% hired one or two, demonstrating the vast range of employers targeting Stanford MBAs.
Among the top ten employers of the 2020 class were tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook. And if you dream of entering consultancy, there’s good news too: McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Bain, were also among the top employers of high caliber Stanford grads.
Many Stanford MBAs also land jobs with leading investment banks and financial organizations, like HSBC, American Express, and Goldman Sachs.
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in a more intimate company environment, Stanford’s Fewer Than 300 networking events introduce you to Bay Area employers with—you guessed it—fewer than 300 employees.
Stanford’s strong links to the traditional MBA triumvirate of finance, technology, and consulting means you’ll gain the best opportunity to land a career in one of these sectors since you’ll potentially meet employers from these industries at school-run events.
Average Stanford MBA Salary
Stanford's MBA class of 2020 achieved record-high graduate salaries for the sixth consecutive year, boasting an average starting base salary of $159,544, an increase of $7,041 from 2019.
Grads landed a median base salary of $156,000, an increase of $6,000 from the previous cohort. For US-based MBA grads overall, average starting salary was around $115,000 in 2019, with Stanford MBA salaries well above the US average.
Stanford MBAs also achieved record results in terms of average sign-on bonus, $32,551, and average expected performance bonus of $78,299.
Stanford MBA salaries on graduation. Total compensation combines starting salary with bonuses.
Stanford MBAs who entered finance—the most popular industry among Stanford MBAs—earned the highest average base salary of $182,706 and an average sign-on bonus of $41,376.
Stanford grads entering less traditional MBA routes won't necessarily earn less than grads in more traditional sectors like consulting and technology.
MBAs in consumer products recorded the second-highest average base salary at $169,435. Media and entertainment impressively ranked as the third highest-paid industry, with an average base salary of $165,500.
Consulting firms paid Stanford MBAs an average base salary of $156,222.
Stanford MBA graduate job destinations
The 89% of grads who pursued careers in North America earned an average base salary of $164,727, higher than any other region. The majority (60%) stayed in the West, meaning Stanford grads won’t have to travel far from the business school for that generous paycheque. The median base salary for students employed in North America was $160,000.
Europe was the second-highest paid region, with students earning an average base salary of $133,268 and a median base salary of $132,500. Asia finished third, bringing an average base salary of $111,973.
Stanford MBA Success Stories
For many Stanford MBA graduates, success isn’t all about fancy titles or high salaries. Stanford MBA grad Jenna Nicholas is testament to this notion—she’s the cofounder and CEO of Impact Experience, an organization looking to increase investment in marginalized communities.
A recipient of Stanford’s Social Innovation Fellowship, Jenna uses the leadership skills acquired through her MBA to combat implicit bias and its influence on investment decisions.
“The best ways of managing people, how to create teams, and get the best out of everybody—all of that is deeply emphasized on the MBA,” notes Jenna (pictured below).
The Stanford MBA offers the perfect opportunity to dramatically change your career. For car aficionado, Stanford MBA grad, Marc Brunssen, transitioning from a consulting job at BCG to entering the self-driving autonomous vehicle industry was a dream come true.
Marc believes the MBA experience works two-fold; “It’s first about personal development, and second about career pivoting; really having the time to think about what you want to do with your life.”
If you’re interested in joining a world-class business school with strong links to top MBA employers, the Stanford MBA is for you. Those with sky-high salary ambitions won’t be disappointed, while Stanford MBAs are just as likely pursuing socially impactful careers too.
If you get accepted into the Stanford MBA, you’ll ultimately join the prestigious ranks of Stanford’s notable alumni, rubbing shoulders with successful CEOs and entrepreneurs, and perhaps becoming one yourself.
The Stanford MBA will especially benefit those looking to remain in North America after graduating. Most Stanford MBAs land jobs in the West Coast, with the school offering stellar networking, career opportunities, and industry connections in the region.
*The data in this article is based on the Stanford GSB MBA Employment Report