MBA Graduates Command a Salary Premium in the Hiring Market

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Starting salaries for MBA talent at US companies are at an all-time high.

Earning an MBA brings several advantages, not the least of which is enhanced earning potential. For decades, MBA graduates have successfully converted the skillsets and networks they developed as a part of their business school experience into higher starting salaries. New findings from the Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC) annual Corporate Recruiters Survey show that this year’s MBA graduates will continue to command a salary premium relative to other new hires.

Adjusted for inflation, the median annual base starting salary US companies will offer new MBA hires in 2019 is the highest on record (US$115,000)—notably higher than the median offered to direct-from-industry hires (US$75,000) and more than double the median offered to new bachelor’s degree hires (US$55,000).

Though median starting salaries vary considerably by world region, MBA graduates who land opportunities with companies in Asia Pacific and Europe also command a salary premium.

European companies will offer new MBA hires a median starting salary of US$95,000, compared to a median of US$35,000 for bachelor’s degree new hires and US$45,000 for direct-from-industry hires. Asia-Pacific companies will offer a median of US$45,000 to MBA new hires, compared to US$25,000 for bachelor’s new hires.

Overall, 56 percent of responding companies plan to increase MBA starting salaries this year, a greater proportion than those that plan to increase starting salaries for bachelor’s and direct-from-industry new hires (48 percent each).

The Corporate Recruiters Survey 2019 was conducted in February and March 2019 in association with career services offices at 116 participating graduate business schools worldwide. Analysis is based on responses from 1,202 employers in 45 countries worldwide who work directly with participating business schools.

Are you ready to increase your salary with an MBA? Take your career to the next level by exploring the programs at more than 1,600 business schools using the Program Finder and book your testing date for the GMAT exam—the most widely used assessment for MBA admissions for more than 60 years.

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