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Highest Paying Business Jobs for MBAs

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With the decision to invest in graduate management education comes the all-important question—how much will I earn after an MBA?

It’s a question that will ultimately impact your return on investment. An MBA is expensive; the average MBA at a top-ranking business school costs around US$149,000 in the United States and US$97,000 in Europe.

To help you make the decision on whether to invest in business school, here’s how your salary could change before and after an MBA.

Pre-MBA salary

Business schools welcome a variety of candidates from different industries. Heading into an MBA, it’s likely you’ll be in an entry level or more junior management role, looking to accelerate your career.

Before starting your studies, your salary will typically depend on your industry and experience. According to PayScale, a junior project manager can expect to earn around US$51,000.

If you work in tech as a junior software engineer, you’ll tend to receive around US$90,000. Junior data analysts, on the other hand, earn US$60,000.

Salary after your MBA

A highly ranked MBA program can offer you a salary premium. After a top MBA, it’s likely you could be earning six-figures in some of the best paid jobs across finance, tech, consulting, and an array of other industries.

Top MBA Programs

What are the best MBA programs for you? Check out our list of top MBA programs by GMAT score sending, featuring HBS, Stanford, and Wharton.

France and Singapore’s INSEAD ranks first in the 2021 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking. Three years after completing their studies, graduates from the program can expect to see their salaries increase 96 percent, with an average salary of US$190,700.

When looking solely at the salary you can expect three years after an MBA, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business comes out on top, with graduates receiving an average of US$204,700. In second place is the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, where graduates receive an average salary of US$192,400—an 87 percent increase on pre-MBA salaries.

At Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, you can expect to see a 102 percent salary increase, earning US$191,000. Yale School of Management, which ranks fourth overall in the FT’s 2021 ranking, sees its alumni earn US$189,000, with a salary increase of 133 percent.

Interactive Tool: Estimate Your Post-MBA Salary

How much could an MBA increase your salary? Use our MBA salary calculator to estimate your post-MBA salary based on real data from alumni and top employers.

If a strong percentage increase in salary is your goal alongside a reputable base figure, you might want to look east.

China’s Fudan University’s School of Management sees its grads’ salaries spike 190 percent, to US$121, 198. The Shanghai University of Finance and Economics College of Business follows closely behind, with grads on average earning US$105,648, a 189 percent increase in salary after their MBA.

China is represented four times among the top 10 schools for salary percentage increase. Grads from Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Antai College of Economics and Management earn on average 159 percent more than they did pre-MBA, while CEIBS grads earn 156 percent more.

Highest paying MBA jobs

The salary you earn after an MBA reflects the learnings you get in the classroom. During an MBA, you’re taught about every aspect of business from top to bottom, ranging from marketing and strategy to finance. This also puts you in good stead to switch careers.

Companies like Google and McKinsey are among those that hire the most MBA graduates.

An average MBA graduate can expect a starting salary of around US$165,000 at one of the Big Three consulting firms—McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group. Stick with them on a 10-year career path though, and you could see that salary rise to between US$450,000 and US$650,000.

If you’re looking to continue your career in tech, the annual salary of a chief technology officer (CTO) in the US, depending on the size of the company and your experience level, can range from US$100,000 to US$350,000.

Your salary in the US as a senior product manager at a company like Facebook could be around US$170,000, according to Glassdoor. In other companies like Apple, you can expect to earn around US$185,000 for the same role.

If finance is more for you, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the average salary for a US financial manager is US$134,200. On top of that, the BLS says that an experienced investment banker can earn up to US$450,000. An MBA graduate fresh out of business school can expect to receive US$125,000 (not including performance bonuses).

MBA Return on Investment Calculator

Use our ROI Calculator and play out your earning scenarios with and without an MBA.

Although an MBA may seem pricey, once you consider your post-MBA salary, the decision to go to business school becomes clearer. The career progression, opportunity to switch industry, global network, and salary you could earn after an MBA means that ultimately, your return on investment will be worth it.

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