Business School Salary Statistics: What MBAs Earn

The median starting salary for new MBA hires is $115,000, not including signing or performance bonuses.
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Business school salary statistics can help you decide if getting an MBA is worth the money, especially if you leave the workforce to study full-time or you need to take out MBA student loans for your education.

Business school salary statistics by degree

The median starting salary for new MBA hires is $115,000, according to a 2022 survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council, or GMAC. That’s $40,000 more than the median starting salary for a bachelor's degree.

Degree type

Median starting salary

Master of Business Administration

$115,000

Experienced direct-from-industry candidates

$115,000

Master of Finance

$110,000

Master in Business Analytics

$105,000

Master of Data Analytics

$105,000

Master of Accounting

$95,000

Master in Management

$95,000

Bachelor's degree

$75,000

Source: Graduate Management Admission Council 2022 Corporate Recruiters Survey

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Average MBA signing bonus

Many MBAs stand to earn more than just a salary: GMAC found that 76% of U.S. companies offer MBA new hires a signing bonus, with the median amount being $10,500. The pay package may also include guaranteed year-end bonuses, as well as performance bonuses based on an MBA’s job, employer and, of course, accomplishments at work.

Previous work experience and MBA specialization can also play a role in an MBA’s overall compensation. For example, the average starting salary for consultants with MBAs is $175,000 with an average signing bonus of $30,000, according to data from Management Consulted, which trains business consultants.

MBA salary by school

The business school you attend may have the biggest effect on your post-graduate salary and signing bonus. U.S. News & World Report found that MBAs from top-ranking schools made the most money, with an average compensation of $175,789.

Here are the highest combined MBA salaries and bonuses by business school:

Business school name

Average salary and bonus

New York University (Stern)

$181,803

University of Chicago (Booth)

$180,044

University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

$178,692

Stanford University

$176,956

University of Virginia (Darden)

$176,167

Columbia University

$174,114

Cornell University (Johnson)

$173,185

Harvard University

$172,774

Duke University (Fuqua)

$172,627

Northwestern University (Kellogg)

$171,528

Business schools at the bottom of the U.S. News rankings — or not ranked at all — had an average compensation of $55,755.

MBA salaries and student loans

A good rule of thumb is to try to avoid having a monthly student loan payment that is more than 10% of your projected after-tax monthly income. This can be difficult in times of high interest rates and as tuition continues to rise. But maxing out at 10% of your net income, your MBA student loan repayment would be more manageable than if the payment took a bigger chunk from your paycheck.

As an example, an MBA graduate who makes $115,000 — assuming an after-tax take-home pay of roughly $6,630 each month — would want their monthly student loan payment to be no more than $663 a month.

If your student loan payment takes up less than 10% of your income, or you find yourself with more discretionary income, consider doing the following to save on loan costs:

  • Prepaying your loans. Paying more than the minimum on your loans could help you lower interest costs. Putting some or all of your bonus money directly toward your debt could speed up repayment even more.

  • Refinancing at a lower interest rate. Having a strong income could help you qualify for a low MBA student loan refinance rate. Use a student loan refinance calculator to estimate your potential savings.

If your salary is not even to support your debt, see if you’ll qualify for MBA loan forgiveness; otherwise, enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan is the best option for affordable federal student loan payments. MBAs who opt for private loans should discuss repayment options with their lender if they’re struggling to afford payments.

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