Highest-paying career post-MBA for someone already on $180,000

I'm currently studying for my GMAT whilst working in tech sales. I'm currently on $180,000 (converted for you US folk, I live in London) and in 2023 will likely be on $240,000 when I jump to another company. 

I plan to start my MBA in Sep 2023 (ideally NYU but will also apply to CBS, Wharton, LBS, and INSEAD) but was wondering which careers would offer me a good chance to exceed my current earnings. So far it seems like IB (only at VP and beyond) and possibly MBB if one makes it to partner level.

EDIT - Just realised I already asked this question in August. Mods feel free to delete this thread.

Comments (42)

Most Helpful
Jan 11, 2022 - 5:17pm

Many things will get you to $200k+ in total comp in your first year. Consulting will get you over that threshold, banking definitely will, even tech PM will get you close and likely over if you factor in the equity.

At the end of the day, you kind of need to think about what you want your MBA. If you're doing well in sales and primarily care about the money you can make, you can have a much better lifestyle and still make great money if you continue to work your way up the sales org. I know folks who are in enterprise sales or key account manager types of roles and they bring down high 6 figure to low 7 figure paychecks with a relatively low amount of stress. With that said, being a sales lifer takes a certain type of person. 

If you don't foresee a long term career in sales and want to pivot to something that would be challenging for you to do now, so banking, consulting, product management, etc then an MBA makes sense. Those are also pretty well trodden paths coming out of an MBA and likely won't be terribly challenging to land those types of roles depending on the school you go to.

Jan 11, 2022 - 6:07pm

What are the realistic comps for MBB, IB, tech PM 3-5 years post MBA? Realistically I'll be on $240k before I begin my MBA so the opportunity cost is quite large considering the lost income. My future expected earnings would have to make it worthwhile.

What kind of companies are your friends at who are bringing in high-6 figure/low 7-figure paychecks?

From the research I have done, it seems like it's IB or bust in terms of post-MBA careers that make sense financially. I have heard that you can make partner at MBB 6-8 years post MBA where the salary is much closer to a million, not sure how true any of that is though. 

Jan 11, 2022 - 6:52pm

I don't know them off them top of my head, you'd be looking for engagement manager for MBB and VP for banking. VPs in banking make a ton now $500k+. EM at MBB I think is around $300k all-in, but I'd do some googling around that. PM is probably similar, but it will varying greatly by company.

Late Stage Tech is where most of them have done well. So fast growing, pre-ipo companies. Once they get too big, they institutionalize sales too much for too many folks to be making a ton of money.

As I said before, if you're only focused on money, I'd think hard about whether an MBA makes sense for you. If you're purely looking at something like consulting and thinking "man only $300k as an engagement manager, I could be making double that if I stayed in sales" then it might not be a fit for you. Going into consulting/banking etc is more of a career chance which will have a broader impact on your life. You might need to take a step backwards before going forward, that's what a fair amount of MBA students do.

Jan 12, 2022 - 8:29am

IB would be 3 year (ASO3) ~$350-450k to 5 year (VP2) ~$550-650k

MBB/T2 would be 3 year (EM/M/M) ~$250-300k to 5 year (AP/SM/SM) ~$350-400k

Product @ a tech co in a tech hub would be 3-5 year (L5) ~$250-400k to (L6) ~$350-650k. Depends on if you can get 2 promos within that time. 

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Jan 13, 2022 - 11:43pm

Any recommendation on jobs with better QOL if you're not to picky?

Maybe a field that involves constant learning and research?

Go, Go, Excel

Jan 11, 2022 - 10:54pm

I wouldn't do an MBA purely for a job. I think you can network your way into another role (IBD/MBB) without the MBA

If you're looking for a break, want to incubate a startup idea (growing popularity), explore other fields (intern at multiple different places), find a spouse, etc. then maybe consider it. 

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Jan 12, 2022 - 5:19am

I've never heard of anyone networking their way into IB/MBB. Especially as a 26 year old with no prior finance/consulting experience. If you know any different I would be keen to learn if it's possible. What role would they go in at, analyst? 

Jan 12, 2022 - 5:51am

I don't know what your work experience is, but you could try starting at a mid market/boutique firm as a lateral hire an try to lateral again to mbb/Ibd from there.

keep in mind there's no guarantee of getting mbb from an m7 also. 

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Jan 12, 2022 - 10:42am

This is just not true. For someone going from sales to a career in banking/consulting, an MBA is the perfect fit for that. If the OP said he wanted to do marketing, sales ops, or something adjacent to tech sales, then maybe that move would be doable. Even with great networking, the chance that a front office banking role is possible from a career in tech sales is basically 0. 

Even a MM or LMM bank wouldn't hire someone for a deal oriented role from a sales background. Maybe for business development, but that's a completely different role.

As far as no guarantees of getting into banking from an M7, that's true, there's no guarantees in life, but the likelihood is very high if the OP is decently smart and can follow basic instructions. Almost no one completely strikes out on banking recruiting unless you have a very narrow focus as in, you're only looking at a handful of banks/groups and you do a poor job interviewing. Banking isn't like consulting where folks feel like they really strike out if they don't get MBB. Tons of good banking roles that will all mostly pay the same. M7 is almost a lock for banking if you want it and aren't terribly picky on where you end up.

Not trying to be a jerk, you're just misinformed. 

Jan 12, 2022 - 11:11am

Maybe I am misinformed , but I did see plenty of people from my undergrad lateral to investment banking after work exp in a non related field (back office, etc.), after a year or two. . Like I said, I don't know what ops work experience is, but I am sure he could try to apply for an analyst position at a boutique IBD and then maybe lateral to a BB afterwards.

The mba is quite expensive and a significant opp cost. With all respect to your post, the op should at least try to apply/network directly to an analyst position before committing to an mba program. 

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Jan 12, 2022 - 2:14pm

Yeah I have been reading a ton on this subject since last summer and this seems to be the case. 

The only caveat is that my dream school is NYU (which isn't an M7) but apparently it still places well for IB. I will apply to CBS and Wharton too, and possibly Kellog and Cornell but those wouldn't be my first choices.

I've heard mixed things regarding how difficult it is to get into IB post-MBA. I'm a British citizen too so I would need a bank to sponsor my visa which limits the choices somewhat.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 12, 2022 - 11:46am

What do you mean "only VP?" First year associates (not stub) will probably clear $350k this upcoming year (175/175). 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 12, 2022 - 12:00pm

Do you mean for the past year or a year from now? Do you think $350 will be normal going forward?

  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
Jan 13, 2022 - 12:31am

Seems like purely for comp, staying in enterprise sales could be a play. Diligenced a few large enterprise tech companies, and seems like they compete hard for top-performing sales guys. Seems like top guys can pull in millions.

One of my buddy works in sales and pulls in low 300s but works like 20-30 hours a week. 

Jan 13, 2022 - 6:39am

I don't know anyone personally who's pulling in close to a million in enterprise sales.

You're right about the working hours though, I don't work more than 25-30 hours a week and make $180k. Can't imagine that will change much in future roles.

I do find sales a bit boring though, it's definitely not challenging in the way high finance probably is.

Jan 13, 2022 - 10:30am

The high performing salespeople I know at the brand name tech cos (Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft, etc.) crack 7 figures some years, with the average annual pay being ~600k and trending up.

I've heard of reps making 5-7mm for closing wall-to-wall 100mm+ opportunities, and I'm sure the guys/gals closing those 500mm-1bb+ IaaS deals are pulling in 8 figures, but those are rare.

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  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
Jan 14, 2022 - 12:16am

Guess one of the specific company I was look at was a large cybersecurity company. Top sales people manage several large government + fortune 500 accounts. Big bag. 

Jan 14, 2022 - 5:12pm

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