An MBA can be a ticket to the biggest blue-chip companies, and can swell your salary into six-figures.
But tuition fees are eye-wateringly expensive at a top-notch business school.
At the 20 best schools in US News and World’s most recent ranking, you will fork out at least $100,000 to earn your MBA.
At an elite school such as Harvard Business School or Wharton School, the total two-year bill will be upwards of $300,000 including tuition, fees and the opportunity cost of not earning a wage.
The good news: the return on investment is decent. At an Ivy League school, average starting salaries and bonuses more than cover MBA tuition.
At Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Darden School, the pay packet is more than $150,000.
Over time, the full cost of an MBA is recouped—and then some.
The wage tends to be bigger at schools ranked the highest overall, as they often have the best career services and alumni networks, which can help graduates land top jobs.
Salaries are also high at schools with a larger proportion of students flocking to historically well-paid sectors, such as finance and consulting.
At Stanford, the average annual base compensation of $144,455 surpassed last year’s all-time highs by about $4,000. Average annual signing bonus rose by nearly $3,000 to a record $29,534.
Interest in finance inched up a point to 32% and consulting gained 4 points to reach 20%.
Angel Pu landed a job at New York private equity firm Warburg Pincus. She said an informal investing group of classmates helped her.
“We would pitch investment ideas and teach each other based on our past experiences, and help each other get better,” she said.
“It was a group of very impressive and awesome people who I’m sure will accomplish amazing things. And of course we all became really good friends.”
Here's 19 business schools with the highest MBA salaries, based on data from US News’ latest MBA ranking: