What Did the Class of 2012 Make this Year?

MBA Salaries

“An MBA is a profitable investment.”

The Poets & Quants article that covers this topic starts out like this: “if you still need evidence that a highly ranked MBA degree is worth the investment, look no further than this year’s starting median salaries.”

I guess this year’s class fared pretty well!

The article continues to point out that the actual salaries are not that much higher than in previous years, but that it’s the percentage of growth from pre-MBA salaries to post that indicates the significant shift.

Here are some highlights from the article (the percentages are for median starting salaries, excluding signing bonuses):

  • The highest percentage increase over pre-MBA salaries goes to Michigan State’s Broad School – a 268.6% increase!
  • Notre Dame Mendoza’s 2012 grads reported a 148.8% increase over their pre-MBA salaries.
  • Minnesota Carlson – up 132.2%.
  • UNC Kenan-Flagler – up 122.2%.
  • Indiana Kelley – up 119.6%.
  • Stanford GSB graduates reported the highest median starting salary at $125,000 and a 38.9% increase over their pre-MBA salaries.
  • Harvard and Wharton 2012 graduates landed a median salary of $120,000. The increase from pre-MBA to post-MBA salaries, however, was only 33.3%, the lowest increase of the top 30 MBA programs.
  • 3 out of 4 HBS graduates received a median signing bonus of $20,000.
  • 1 in 5 HBS grads received a median bonus of $25,230 which was designated as “other guaranteed compensation.”
  • Cornell Johnson, Yale SOM, USC Marshall, Emory Goizueta, Texas McCombs, UNC Kenan-Flagler, and NYU Stern all reported median starting salaries of $100,000.
  • Chicago Booth grads reported a median starting salary of $115,000, an $8,000 increase over last year (2011) and a $13,000 increase over the year before (2010).
  • Duke Fuqua starting salaries were at $110,000, up $8,600 from last year (2011) and $10,000 from the year before (2010).

This chart (from P&Q) provides more details:

School 2012 Median Salary Post-MBA Pay Hike 2011 2010
  1. Stanford GSB $125,000 38.9% $125,000 $120,000
  2. Harvard $120,000 33.3% $120,000 $110,000
  2. UPenn (Wharton) $120,000 33.3% $120,000 $110,000
  4. MIT Sloan $118,500 48.1% $119,000 $110,000
  5. Chicago (Booth) $115,000 53.4% $107,000 $102,000
  6. Northwestern (Kellogg) $115,000 45.6% $110,000 $105,000
  6. Dartmouth (Tuck) $115,000 77.7% $110,000 $105,000
  8. UC-Berkeley (Haas) $115,000 59.7% $111,000 $110,000
  9. Duke (Fuqua) $110,000 83.3% $101,400 $100,000
  9. Michigan (Ross) $110,000 80.3% $103,000 $100,000
  9. Columbia $110,000 37.5% $110,000 $100,000
12. Virginia (Darden) $105,000 59.1% $100,000 $100,000
12. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) $105,000 101.9% $100,000 $95,000
14. UCLA (Anderson) $103,500 66.9% $100,000 $100,000
15. USC (Marshall) $100,000 53.8% $96,000 $94,000
16. Cornell (Johnson) $100,000 66.7% $100,000 $96,000
16. Emory (Goizueta) $100,000 100% $100,000 $90,000
16. UNC (Kenan-Flagler) $100,000 122.2% $100,000 $95,000
16. Texas-Austin (McCombs) $100,000 55.0% $100,000 $95,000
16. NYU (Stern) $100,000 48.4% $100,000 $100,000
16. Yale $100,000 60.2% $100,000 $100,000
22. Notre Dame (Mendoza) $99,500 148.8% $93,500 $90,000
23. Indiana (Kelley) $99,500 119.6% $95,000 $90,000
24. Minnesota (Carlson) $97,505 132.2% $95,507 $90,000
25. Rice (Jones) $95,000 97.9% $95,000 $95,000
26. Brigham Young (Marriott) $94,050 80.9% $92,000 $88,550
27. Georgia Tech (Scheller) $94,000 50.0% $90,000 $85,020
28. Texas A&M (Mays) $93,500 60.6% $85,000 $85,000
29. SMU (Cox) $90,000 50.0% $82,400 $81,000
30. Michigan State (Broad) $86,700 268.6% $87,500 $86,200

See the full Poets & Quants article, “What The Class of 2012 Made This Year,” for more info.

Takeaways:

  1. For most people going to a ranked business school, an MBA is a profitable investment. And that’s looking at it from a purely financial perspective. GMAC research also shows that MBAs have an extraordinarily high level of satisfaction with their MBA experience.
  2. MBA admissions should not be “Top 10 or Bust.” Because starting salaries are so high for graduates of the “Greater Top 10” – roughly the top fifteen – many applicants don’t want to consider anything outside those lofty tiers. However, depending on your goals and background, the schools outside the top fifteen can provide a very healthy ROI. If you can’t get into the top tier, then consider programs that support your goals and are not so highly ranked. Unless your pre-MBA salary is already approaching six figures, your MBA may still pay off handsomely.


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