MBA Salary Average - What Job is Best?

Patrick Curtis

Reviewed by

Patrick Curtis WSO Editorial Board

Expertise: Investment Banking | Private Equity

Hey guys,

This topic is not for people who moved from banking to buy side post MBA and make huge sum of money. Assuming if you have a finance background (non-IBD) and go to MBA to change your career, which jobs (non-Investment Banking Associate/non-Strategy Consultant) usually offer the highest base salary? The reasons I am asking this are because:

  1. Not everyone wants to do IBD/MBB post MBA (think people with family commitment, etc.)

  2. My understanding is that only BB and MBB offer lucrative bonus. Most of other post MBA jobs, base salary is still 80-90% of total package.

Highest MBA Salaries

I can think of some options like below:

MBA Salary Ranges

Is there any other options and which one you want to go with? assuming if you are in a similar situation like me (have a family, don't want to work crazy hours and don't want to travel like crazy etc.).

Patrick Curtis is a member of WSO Editorial Board which helps ensure the accuracy of content across top articles on Wall Street Oasis. He has experience in investment banking at Rothschild and private equity at Tailwind Capital along with an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. He is also the founder and current CEO of Wall Street Oasis This content was originally created by member TechMonkeyCapital and has evolved with the help of our business school and gmat mentors.

Comments (69)

Oct 26, 2017 - 2:57pm
Communist, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You pretty much nailed it. Although I would argue a Product Manager at FAANG makes more than a MBB Consultant. Economic research (Cornerstone, NERA, Analysis) probably makes the least.

Oct 26, 2017 - 3:13pm
Masterz57, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Option 2. There are some other roles that pay close to that (Liberty Mutual's LDP starts at ~$135k base for what's mostly a 9-5 job) but they are more company-specific. Intel also has a leadership program that pays ~$130k base.

  • 2
Mar 22, 2018 - 10:13am
Poseidon_, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Masterz57:
Option 2. There are some other roles that pay close to that (Liberty Mutual's LDP starts at ~$135k base for what's mostly a 9-5 job) but they are more company-specific. Intel also has a leadership program that pays ~$130k base.

Do you have any other examples besides Liberty Mutual on this?

Mar 22, 2018 - 11:01am
Masterz57, what's your opinion? Comment below:

See "Intel" above. No - I only know of these because people I know went to them. There may be others out there but these don't exactly get publicized as they usually have small classes (Intel's ALDP takes 7-8 people a year).

Nov 3, 2017 - 10:02am
Attack_Chihuahua, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why the shit? He's not wrong, those jobs pay significantly above the median comp for MBA grads.

  • 2
Oct 26, 2017 - 5:14pm
TechMonkeyCapital, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks all.

Communist I thought that Cornerstone Research pays up to 150K in base for post MBA Associates?

Masterz57 Wonder if those people from a program like Liberty Mutual LDP have to compete aggressively with their peer to advance to their next level? I am leaning toward something like that, but probably with a Corporate Development focus.

Nov 4, 2017 - 11:00pm
BreakingOutOfPWM, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm pretty sure that Cornerstone is around $200k all in post MBA.

Tech pays pretty comparably to consulting first year or two out. A lot of folks in investment management make more than bankers or consultants their first few years (or forever...). Hedge funds can be brutal hours but the mutual fund shops can pay I think like $250k-$350k all in with better balance.

Oct 29, 2017 - 10:08pm
i hate audit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

i heard from some friends that interned that Amazon just bumped up their compensation package for their most recent class of interns. they will start at 185k (130k base, remainder in guaranteed cash/stock bonuses). this for the PM, Finance, Retail and Ops roles. the Technical PM role pays even more, but you need a tech background to land that one.

Oct 30, 2017 - 4:26pm
Masterz57, what's your opinion? Comment below:

When I graduated ~2 years ago Amazon was at $120k base with $45k stock signing bonus, so this would be about right. Major caveat though - the $45k stock vests in the following manner - 5%, 15%, 40%, 40% over 4 years. The vast majority of MBAs do not collect the full amount.

  • 2
Oct 30, 2017 - 5:57pm
i hate audit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Amazon comp has jumped up quite a bit in 2 years then it seems like. the current offer given to interns was:

base: 130k cash sign-on: 90k (50k in year 1, 40k in year 2) stock sign-on: 95k vesting over 4 years (5/15/40/40)

assuming no increase in base salary and no stock appreciation (LOL), comp for years 1-4 looks like this:

Y1: ~185k Y2: ~185k Y3: ~170k Y4: ~170k

Nov 3, 2017 - 10:04am
Attack_Chihuahua, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As the other guy said, don't just count those bonuses at face value. Amazon is notorious for fucking people over when it comes to being able to collect bonuses.

  • 1
Nov 3, 2017 - 3:13pm
Dances With Newfoundland, what's your opinion? Comment below:
TVCapital:
2 other options I could think of:

4/(Senior) Equity Research Associate at either sell side (big bank) or buy side (i.e. Sanford C. Bernstein) 5/Consultant at LEK (I heard people work there don't have to travel that much)

What about those 2 guys?

I think ER at Sanford Bernstein paid base of around $140K for post-MBA associates but not entirely sure.

Nov 3, 2017 - 2:31pm
consultant120, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why would you even bother with a MBA from a top school if you want to target those roles? Know a lot of people who leave my current firm to go to those types of roles all the time (at Facebook, Amazon, etc).

Sayonara

  • 4
Nov 4, 2017 - 7:41pm
i hate audit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

thats kind of like saying whats the point of getting an MBA to go into MBB/BB, theres plenty of ppl that get direct-promoted into the post-MBA consulting/banking roles at those firms. not everyone is starting off in banking or consulting so everyone has a different reason for why the MBA makes sense to them.

Nov 10, 2017 - 10:48am
latempo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yea I agree MBA makes sense going from another industry into MBB/BB. What really doesn't make sense to me is for people who are already capable of getting MBB/BB/High Tech jobs and spend that much cash and time on an MBA

Nov 10, 2017 - 1:15pm
Commuter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I left finance, worked at fintech startup, now at larger firm in a Senior PM role.

No MBA, but i was a decent self taught programmer and got roughly a years worth of engineering experience at the startup before being promoted to full time product. This has helped tremendously in all my interviews including FAANG firms. Had 3 major offers.

I work basically from 8/9-5 M-F, others come in after 9 but I have a team in Beijing to chat with every morning.

Base mentioned is par. Bonus is allover the place depending on group.

WSO Vice President, Data@JustinDDuBois
  • 2
Feb 22, 2018 - 7:46pm
Gibbs, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Commuter:
I left finance, worked at fintech startup, now at larger firm in a Senior PM role.

No MBA, but i was a decent self taught programmer and got roughly a years worth of engineering experience at the startup before being promoted to full time product. This has helped tremendously in all my interviews including FAANG firms. Had 3 major offers.

I work basically from 8/9-5 M-F, others come in after 9 but I have a team in Beijing to chat with every morning.

Base mentioned is par. Bonus is allover the place depending on group.

Is this startup called "Wallstreetoasis dot com" ??

Feb 23, 2018 - 11:40am
Commuter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

WSO was during and directly after college. I had other full time jobs simultaneously.

WSO Vice President, Data@JustinDDuBois
Feb 26, 2018 - 7:36pm
UCLA Anderson dude, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I know of one Amazon technical product manager from my business school class.

Base: 142k Cash sign-on: 95k (55k in year 1, 40k in year 2) Stock sign-on: 120k vesting over 4 years (5/15/40/40) Performance Bonus: ~20k

Other ideas are corporate finance or product management roles at Silicon Valley firms (e.g., Autodesk, Netflix, Adobe, Apple, Google) or pharma (e.g., Genentech, Gilead) with pay packages north of 150K all-in.

Feb 26, 2018 - 9:04pm
Gibbs, what's your opinion? Comment below:
UCLA Anderson dude:
I know of one Amazon technical product manager from my business school class.

Base: 142k Cash sign-on: 95k (55k in year 1, 40k in year 2) Stock sign-on: 120k vesting over 4 years (5/15/40/40) Performance Bonus: ~20k

Other ideas are corporate finance or product management roles at Silicon Valley firms (e.g., Autodesk, Netflix, Adobe, Apple, Google) or pharma (e.g., Genentech, Gilead) with pay packages north of 150K all-in.

Do you know the comp packages for non-technical PMs - Finance/Ops etc? Something that mere mortals can do?

Scratch that. I know the answer.

Feb 26, 2018 - 8:40pm
Rejected Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

wow.. I guess most post MBA jobs outside top tier Ibanking and consulting come with pretty unimpressive comp package. I know many guys working in back office finance clearing 150k all in, with no grad degrees, myself included.

MBA would entail positive ROI for most, if one attends MBA business schools">M7 MBA, or a top 20-25 MBA on a hefty scholarship. Outside of these 2 narrow paths, MBA seems to be a risky proposition after all.

Feb 26, 2018 - 8:52pm
Gibbs, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think you're looking at the wrong way. What would you make 5-10 years out?

Feb 26, 2018 - 9:17pm
Rejected Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

you're right. Not much of a major pay increase in future, unless I keep getting promoted.

Then again, what is a guy in corp finance post MBA going to make 5-10 years out of MBA? Will that guy ever crack 300-400k reasonably?

Feb 26, 2018 - 9:30pm
Gibbs, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Damn bro - you're making me pessimistic about my B School journey.

But since I'm topping out at under 90K in my current role, and don't have much upward mobility, I guess it still makes sense.

Feb 26, 2018 - 9:43pm
mrharveyspecter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Probably pretty easily tbh. Corp finance managers at tech companies are at ~200k base or so. If you made it to director level you could easily get to 300-400k for all in comp.

Probably a little lower for other industries, but I would think you could still get to 250k or so just by doing a decent job and slowly working your way up.

Feb 26, 2018 - 9:49pm
Rejected Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Interesting.. didn't know in-house corp finance gigs come with rapid comp increases like that. Do you know if part time MBA's can break into tech firms in corp fin / marketing / etc? Part time at Booth / Stern / Kellogg type of places.

Talked to some friends working in top consulting, and they all told me not to do a lower T15 MBA at full sticker price. For MBB, they told me it's really M7+Tuck or bust. If I am to 'settle' for corporate jobs post MBA, I don't think it's worth it to go MBA full time. I might just do part time...

Feb 26, 2018 - 11:51pm
i hate audit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

its def possible to get in through part time programs but its definitely A LOT more difficult. most part-timers are not looking to switch jobs/careers so some/most schools dont even let part-timers participate in the normal on-campus recruiting events that companies hold for full-time students.

regarding corp fin salary progression: i expect to easily clear 200k within 2 years and 250-275k another 2-3 years after that. idk how long it will take me to get to 300k but i can confidently say i'll be at at least 250k within 5 years of graduating and i think thats a pretty solid spot to be especially considering the hours i work.

as far as whether you should go to a T15 without $$$, idk it really depends what you want to do post-MBA. i went to a school ranked in the bottom half of the T15 and we sent a ton of kids to MBB/BB so the ROI would definitely be worth it there. if you are thinking about corp fin/marketing, then the compensation is obv much lower so the ROI might not make sense even if you go to an MBA business schools">M7 school

Feb 27, 2018 - 9:19am
Masterz57, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This. I think your friends are misleading you about the MBA. It depends on what you want to do, but if you're talking about "top comp" packages I think that universe includes PE/VC, IB and MBB/T2 consulting (if you look at Deloitte, ATK, Strategy& etc their MBA comp packages rival MBB). Almost all schools between 9-15 send ~30% of their grads into those jobs, with a varying mix of IB/consulting depending on the school. Yes, MBA business schools">M7 is better, but if you believe you're good enough to get into MBA business schools">M7 and succeed then you're good enough to get the same job at a T15 school.

On another note @Rejected Monkey" , people go to non-consulting/IB jobs after their MBA for a variety of reasons. I did because I find the work I do very interesting and I place a very high value on my work/life balance (a really bad week for me is 45 hours). Others do it for similar reasons, or they have a family and prioritize a low COL area. Sometimes pre-MBA they were in dead-end back-office corporate jobs and moving to a leadership/GM function was only possible through an MBA.

  • 7
Feb 27, 2018 - 7:58pm
Rejected Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Masterz57:
This. I think your friends are misleading you about the MBA. It depends on what you want to do, but if you're talking about "top comp" packages I think that universe includes PE/VC, IB and MBB/T2 consulting (if you look at Deloitte, ATK, Strategy& etc their MBA comp packages rival MBB). Almost all schools between 9-15 send ~30% of their grads into those jobs, with a varying mix of IB/consulting depending on the school. Yes, MBA business schools">M7 is better, but if you believe you're good enough to get into MBA business schools">M7 and succeed then you're good enough to get the same job at a T15 school.

On another note @Rejected Monkey" , people go to non-consulting/IB jobs after their MBA for a variety of reasons. I did because I find the work I do very interesting and I place a very high value on my work/life balance (a really bad week for me is 45 hours). Others do it for similar reasons, or they have a family and prioritize a low COL area. Sometimes pre-MBA they were in dead-end back-office corporate jobs and moving to a leadership/GM function was only possible through an MBA.

Good advice and good feedback. I certainly don't question the value of MBA. I am 100% certain that I will do an MBA but the only question is: how do I do that MBA at the minimal cost, while maximizing my odds of executing the desired career switch?

I also just got married recently and logistically, I find it to be a nightmare to go full time MBA in a random location, since my wife works in the city and I don't want to be apart from her. Add the financial / opp costs of full time MBA, and it's no easy decision...

Can I ask you what your view is towards doing a top 25-30 full time MBA with full scholarship?? (as opposed to lower T15 MBA at full sticker debt?) And what about part time MBA at Kellogg / Booth / Stern? My post MBA goal is 1. strategy consulting, 2. I-banking, 3. corporate finance / in-house strategy at tech companies, in that order.

Thanks!

Best Response
Feb 27, 2018 - 9:11pm
BreakingOutOfPWM, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Dude I feel like you're spinning your wheels here because you are in a crisis of indecision. You have pretty much all the data you need at this point. Since it's not sinking in, I'll make it clear in crisp, consulting like points.

  1. For consulting or banking, school rank is very important
  2. Top 7 schools get the vast bulk of offers, rest of the T15 get about half as many apiece or less, outside of that hiring is very small and almost always regional
  3. Full time M7>Full time T15> Part time Booth/Kellogg, can't opine one whether Stern is as good as the Chicago schools part time. Banking is almost impossible at top BB/EB's part-time, as almost all hiring is done from their internship classes and you can't recruit for internships part time.
  4. The dynamic with your wife is for you and she to decide, if she's willing to move for two years and take a new job, if you want to be apart, or if you are going to take reduced odds for your goals to stay with her. We can't help you with that, but those are clearly the options (number 4, leaving her to bang your way through b-school, doesn't sound like it's up your alley)
  5. Corp fin/in house strategy also has a prestige curve, but you need to look at OCR at specific schools to go there
  6. We can't make your financial decision for you, but I think the landscape of options in terms of career is pretty obvious through this thread (and any other thread on WSO)

You have the info you need, we can't tie the rest for you.

Feb 27, 2018 - 7:51pm
Rejected Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:
i hate audit:
its def possible to get in through part time programs but its definitely A LOT more difficult. most part-timers are not looking to switch jobs/careers so some/most schools dont even let part-timers participate in the normal on-campus recruiting events that companies hold for full-time students.

regarding corp fin salary progression: i expect to easily clear 200k within 2 years and 250-275k another 2-3 years after that. idk how long it will take me to get to 300k but i can confidently say i'll be at at least 250k within 5 years of graduating and i think thats a pretty solid spot to be especially considering the hours i work.

as far as whether you should go to a T15 without $$$, idk it really depends what you want to do post-MBA. i went to a school ranked in the bottom half of the T15 and we sent a ton of kids to MBB/BB so the ROI would definitely be worth it there. if you are thinking about corp fin/marketing, then the compensation is obv much lower so the ROI might not make sense even if you go to an MBA business schools">M7 school

Hey thanks for the reply!! Does corp finance / marketing gigs at tech companies require successful MBA candidates to do an internship, before extending full time offers?? In other words, do you guys fill most of your available seats via MBA summer internship program? I know that I-banking positions rely heavily on MBA summer internship pool to fill most, if not all, of their full time incoming associate class. I was wondering if same holds true for in house finance gigs at tech firms. (if true, then yeah, I see how breaking in from a part time program will be very difficult)

Also - do corp finance gigs recruiting at MBA's care about your previous work experience? For example, I never worked in corp finance. Or are they more open to candidates with diverse set of backgrounds? (like banking, consulting, etc)

Feb 28, 2018 - 5:16pm
IBTeaching, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Depending on the corporate leadership/dev program, some of them can get particularly lucrative if you're at a company with solid growth. The highest one I've seen is for a gaming company that pays $190k each of the first 2 years and variably higher depending on the position you take up afterwards.

They also offer perks like corporate housing, sponsorship buyouts (worth a shit-ton for ex-consultants for example), and several other tangential benefits depending on the industry (e.g. 25% off for a luxury vehicle brand and a free car, free flights, etc.)

Mar 6, 2018 - 3:23pm
princepieman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Can you PM me the company you're talking about? Sounds incredible.

Array
Jun 29, 2018 - 6:15pm
WallStreetJunkie123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jun 6, 2021 - 5:44am
patrickb8man, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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