Top 10 MBA Salary Uplift: Global |

Top 10 MBA Salary Uplift: Global

By Phil Cottrell

Updated May 27, 2019 Updated May 27, 2019

Across all of the MBA programs we analyzed this year in the QS Return on Investment Report 2018, we found that the average salary uplift an MBA gives you three months post-graduation compared to when you started the degree is 64%. Not a shabby salary boost by any means, but at some schools the increase is phenomenal.

As you will see below in our top 10, you don’t have to go to the most prestigious or established business schools in the world to see a huge effect on both your career opportunities and your bank balance. 


1)      Willamette University (Atkinson) | United States | 223% salary uplift

The first of six US business schools to make our top 10, the Willamette MBA provides students with a whopping average salary uplift of 223%. Students are often attracted to Willamette as it offers an Early Career MBA (accredited by both AACSB International and NASPAA) catering for people with little or no professional experience looking to launch into their career. On average students go from a salary of US$16,400 prior to starting the program to US$53,000 three months post-graduation.



2)      University of Illinois | United States | 176% salary uplift

The Illinois full-time MBA offers students a great chance to maximize their uplift in salary, with a starting average salary of US$34,300 being transformed into an average salary of US$94,700 upon successful completion of the program. The two-year MBA is built around a new ‘Action Learning Model’ where work with external clients helps you to learn and apply business principles in a real-world setting.



3)      University of Connecticut | United States | 171% salary uplift

Similar to the MBA program at the University of Illinois, the average starting salary for students enrolling onto the UCONN MBA program is around US$35,400 and increases to US$96,000 three months post-graduation, representing an increase of 171%. Three elective tracks are available; financial analysis & investment, business analytics, and digital marketing strategy to allow students to tailor their program and specialize.



4)      IIM Ahmedabad | India | 167% salary uplift

The first program outside of the US to make our top 10 is the full-time MBA program at IIM Ahmedabad. Notoriously difficult to gain admission to the two-year Post-Graduate Program in Management, those who do can see their average salary increase by 167%, or in monetary terms, from US$8,700 up to US$23,200.



5)      University of Mannheim | Germany | 162% salary uplift

Our first European entry in the top 10 is also the first one-year MBA program to make the list.  With a similar salary uplift to the programs immediately above the Mannheim full-time MBA in this list, people can expect to go from an average salary of US$35,700 to US$93,600 but in half the time. Students who aren’t in as much of a rush also have the opportunity to prolong the program by three months with an internship at a leading company or an exchange at a partner institution.



6)      University of Georgia (Terry) | United States | 156% salary uplift

With 93% of Georgia MBA students finding employment within three months of graduation at an average salary of US$91,200 (a 156% increase on pre-MBA salary), it isn’t hard to see why people are lining up to join a growing network of more than 70,000 alumni. Options are available to add an emphasis in consulting or fintech and a choice of nine different concentrations that include business analytics, healthcare management and operations management.



7)      University of Strathclyde | United Kingdom | 155% salary uplift

Posting an average 155% salary uplift is the Strathclyde MBA that takes participants from an average salary of US$30,400 to an average three-month, post-graduation figure of US$77,500. With relatively low tuition fees (US$34,600), the Strathclyde 12-month MBA also topped the list in terms of the speed in paying back tuition fees at just 18 months!



8)      Pennsylvania State University (Smeal) | United States | 154% salary uplift

The Penn State Smeal MBA is the first program on this list that offers an average post-graduation salary of over the magic US$100k mark (US$105,700), representing a 154% increase on the pre-MBA figure of US$41,600. Not only does your earning potential receive a huge shot in the arm, you will also become part of a network that includes over 650,000 Penn State graduates worldwide.



9)      Arizona State University (Carey) | United States | 141% salary uplift

Topping the post-graduation US$100k mark again (US$102,600) is the W. P. Carey MBA at Arizona State University. 95% of students are employed within three months of graduation, with a 141% uplift from their starting average salary of US$42,500. The program aims to prepare students to be adaptable in the changing global economy through a 60-hour ‘Forward Focus’ curriculum.



=10)      Indian School of Business | India | 139% salary uplift

The second entry from India on this list is the Post Graduate Program in Management at the Indian School of Business. Starting from a base salary of US$9,000 students can expect to see an average increase of 139% to a post-graduation salary of US$21,500. The 12-month program is ideal for mid-career professionals looking to move into management roles.



=10) Imperial College London | United Kingdom | 139% salary uplift

The one-year, full-time MBA at Imperial College Business School provides a mix of core modules and the ability to shape your future career with a choice of electives and a project portfolio. Students typically see a salary uplift of 139% from US$35,000 to US$83,500. Imperial also came 2nd in our Top 10 Business Degrees for ROI.



This article was originally published in November 2017 . It was last updated in May 2019

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Written by

Phil is the editor of and has a breadth of editorial and digital marketing experience. He has worked across a variety of industries from e-commerce and commercial real estate to managing all content for a C-suite careers site aimed at UK and US professionals.


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