MBA Programs with the Highest Graduate Salaries

MBA Programs with the Highest Graduate Salaries main image

With a six-figure price tag, going to business school is undoubtedly an investment, one that many MBA candidates hope will help them advance in their career.

Aside from developing new skills and forming a business network, having an MBA gives b-school grads a significant advantage in terms of salary.

In 2019, new MBA graduates earned a median starting salary of US$115,000, over $20,000 higher than the average for grads with other types of degrees – an amount that the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) has predicted will continue to increase.

However, no MBA is the same, and your choice of b-school will have a significant impact on your salary jump and ROI. 

Let’s take a look at the programs with the highest graduate salaries, according to QS data.

Top MBA Programs with the Highest Graduate Salaries




Avg. salary (3 months post-grad, US$)

United States

Stanford (CA)


United States

Philadelphia (PA)


United States

New York (NY)


United States

Boston (MA)


United States

Chicago (IL)


United States

Rochester (NY)


United States

Cambridge (MA)


United States

Hanover (NH)


United States

Evanston (IL)


United States

Berkeley (CA)





United States

Durham (NC)


United States

New York (NY)


United States

Charlottesville (VA)


United States

Ithaca (NY)


American business schools dominate in our list of the institutions giving graduates the highest salary jumps. IMD is the only international school on the list, with an average median graduate salary of US$135,635.

Stanford Graduate School of Business leads worldwide as the top school for graduate salaries, with a whooping US$152,503 for new MBA graduates, followed by renowned institutions such as The Wharton School, Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School and The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

On the lower end of the scale – but still averaging over US$130,000 – we find Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Darden School of Business and NYU Stern.

Top 10 industries for MBA grads

Landing a top-tier job can be hard work, especially when you have to compete with a talented candidate pool.

While an MBA can help you stand out in the crowd and kick-start a successful executive career, it’s important to note that MBA grads make different amounts depending on the industry they’re in.

Here are the top 10 industries paying MBA grads the highest salaries, according to U.S. News’ data.

Top 10 Industries for MBA Salaries



Avg. salary (3 months post-grad, US$)





Financial Services









Real Estate












Consumer Packaged Goods





The three most popular industries among MBA grads – consulting, financial services and tech – continue to be the most lucrative, with graduate salaries averaging over US$120,000.

However, less business-oriented sectors are also paying MBAs six-figure salaries, such as real estate, retail, media and entertainment, and energy.

Here is a comprehensive overview of the top 10 b-schools for landing top-tier jobs.

Written by Linda Mohamed

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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