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:

  • Economic Consultant Associate (Cornerstone Research/Analysis Group etc.)
  • (Senior) Product (Marketing) Manager (Amazon/Google/Microsoft etc.)
  • Senior Financial Analyst (in a Finance Leadership Development Program like Amazon)

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

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 (67)

Oct 26, 2017

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

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.

Mar 22, 2018
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

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).

Oct 26, 2017

back office / middle office in large bulge bracket banks.

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Nov 3, 2017

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

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Nov 3, 2017

I don't understand any of the shit thrown on this thread, frankly. Maybe for not focusing on IB

Oct 26, 2017

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.

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Nov 4, 2017

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.

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Oct 26, 2017

I'm interested in this as well. Looking into MBA Leadership Development Programs. I'm mostly interested in Industrials though.

Oct 29, 2017

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.

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Oct 30, 2017

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.

Oct 30, 2017

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

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Nov 3, 2017

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.

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Nov 4, 2017

no, these are guaranteed bonuses as in its written in your offer letter that you will get X amount in Year 1/2/3/4 if you are still employed with the company. i've heard theyre a bit stingy with performance bonuses but these are guaranteed cash/stock bonuses

Oct 30, 2017

Wonder if Amazon has been over-hiring since last 2 years. Seen so many MBA kids, from HBS to Kellogg to Owen interned there. Not everyone got return offer though.

Nov 3, 2017
TVCapital:

Wonder if Amazon has been over-hiring since last 2 years. Seen so many MBA kids, from HBS to Kellogg to Owen interned there. Not everyone got return offer though.

Amazon has definitely been over hiring and is not too selective.

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Oct 30, 2017

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?

Nov 3, 2017
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.

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Nov 4, 2017

Equity research pays very well, it's harder to recruit for than most MBA roles (everyone recruiting for IM will have pretty good investment backgrounds).

LEK is less travel, more hours. Effect on work life balance is about net.

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Nov 3, 2017

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).

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Nov 3, 2017

Preftige bro

Nov 4, 2017

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.

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Nov 10, 2017

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

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Nov 10, 2017

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

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Feb 22, 2018
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

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

WSO Vice President, Data
@JustinDDuBois

Feb 26, 2018

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
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

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 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

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

Feb 26, 2018

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 27, 2018

"Not everyone wants to do IBD" is probably sufficient in and of itself, but everyone here is obsessed with using the parenthetical "think x, y, z"

Anyways, I am going to go back to eating my lunch (think lettuce, cucumbers, grilled chicken, salad dressing).

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Feb 27, 2018
finbrah:

Anyways, I am going to go back to eating my lunch (think lettuce, cucumbers, grilled chicken, salad dressing).

Hahahahahahaha +1

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Feb 28, 2018

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

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

Jun 10, 2018

Would IBD beat out all other options in the long-term?

Jun 27, 2018

Does anyone know what salary for a Senior Financial Analyst (in a Finance Leadership Development Program) for a Consumer Product Company would be like? Also, what does career progression/trajectory look like?

Jun 29, 2018
Comment
Jun 30, 2018