After a mistaken report that an MBA graduate of Manchester Business School landed a base salary of more than one million dollars last year, the actual numbers from other schools look rather puny for the Class of 2012. At the most prominent business schools, the highest starting salary went to an MBA of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business who ventured into private equity. The MBA started with a $260,000 base.
That pay, however impressive, is no match for some of last year’s big MBA winners. In 2011, the highest paid base went to a London Business School MBA who nailed a whopping $552,681-a-year job in the corporate sector in Australia. In fact, MBAs at four other schools–Wharton, Stanford, Chicago Booth, and Columbia–reported base salary of $300,000 or more last year–far more than the $260,000 total for a member of Stanford’s Class of 2012.
Quarter of a million to start for MBAs at Stanford, Wharton and MIT last year
Still, a quarter of a million to start is nothing to sneeze at. And both Wharton and MIT Sloan had MBAs in the Class of 2012 reporting that they had gotten jobs with base salaries of $250,000 each in finance. MBAs at Chicago Booth and Columbia Business School were not far behind. Those two schools each reported a high base of $240,000 for MBAs who went into private equity (see table below).
Some of the reported sign-on bonuses this year were as lucrative as some of the highest base salaries. One Wharton graduate, for example, reported receiving a signing bonus of $200,000, while MBAs at both Stanford and New York University’s Stern School of Business landed signing bonuses of $150,000 each. At Dartmouth College’s Tuck School, one lucky MBA got a $142,000 sign-on bonus when the median for the class was just $25,000. Some 85% of Tuck’s Class of 2012 got sign-on bonuses with their new jobs.
Work experience usually requires to hit the MBA pay jack pot
Often, the highest paid graduates are those with more work experience. The MBA at MIT Sloan who landed the top base pay of any grad this year–a cool quarter of a million to start–was a business undergraduate with more than five years of professional experience. The MBA got a investment management position in the Northeast. The $250,000 starting salary was more than double the $115,000 median for investment management for an MIT grad.
And there were a good number of surprises in the data. An MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School landed a job in manufacturing in the midwest with $90,000 in “other guaranteed compensation” in addition to a sign-on bonus and a base salary.
Highest-Paid MBA Graduates of 2012
Source: School employment reports for 2012
Notes: * Harvard only publishes data on the 75th percentile base salary. ** This is the median other compensation in private equity.