Top 10 MBA Salary Uplift: North America |

Top 10 MBA Salary Uplift: North America

By Phil Cottrell

Updated May 30, 2018 Updated May 30, 2018


The QS TopMBA Return on Investment Report 2018 shows that the average salary uplift experienced by those completing an MBA in North America is 74%. This is the highest salary uplift anywhere in the world and is markedly higher than the 64% global average. US schools also occupy the three top spots and feature a remarkable six times in our Top 10 MBA Salary Uplift: Global list.  

Whether you are coming from a low or high starting base salary, the below highlights just how much of a financial shot in the arm an MBA can deliver. While these programs may be bested elsewhere in terms of the very highest salaries, they represent the largest salary uplifts available.


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

Topping both our North American and our global list is the Willamette MBA. On average the program provides its participants with a staggering 223% salary uplift. While the three-month, post-graduation salary may not be the highest in this list (US$53,000), the fact that the MBA caters for those with less experience than the majority of other institutions in the US means it is a great choice for those looking to kickstart their career.



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

Towards the other end of the scale is the Illinois full-time MBA. After studies you can expect an average salary edging towards the US$100k mark (US$94,700) with 93% of students accepting a job offer within three months of graduation. This represents a 176% uplift on salaries prior to starting the course.



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

Providing students with the power to tailor their MBA through the digital marketing strategy, business analytics, and financial analysis & investment elective tracks, the UCONN MBA also offers a huge average salary uplift (171%) from an average of US$35,400 prior to enrolment up to US$96,000 after graduation.



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

Like the UCONN MBA, a range of different concentrations are available for students to control the direction of their studies during the Georgia MBA. Whichever route students take they can expect to see massive gains in terms of salary taking them from an average of US$35,600 up to US$91,200 in the space of just two years.



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

Breaking through the US$100k mark is the Penn State Smeal MBA that sees students go from a not too shabby starting salary of US$41,600 up to US$105,700 three months after graduation. With competitive domestic tuition fees it also means that the estimated payback period is just 31 months – the joint lowest in this list.



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

In sixth place on our list is the W. P. Carey MBA at Arizona State University, which is another program that sees successful graduates earn north of the US$100k barrier (US$102,000). From a starting average salary of US$42,500, this represents an uplift of 141%.



7)       University of Minnesota (Carlson) | United States | 138% salary uplift

With some of the highest tuition fees on this list, it is definitely a case of you get out what you put in (in more ways than one) with the Carlson MBA. Similar to the W. P. Carey MBA above, average starting salaries are high at US$45,700, but three-months after finishing studies students can expect to easily double that figure with an average salary of US$108,700 – the highest on this list.



8)       SUNY University at Buffalo | United States | 138% salary uplift

To highlight that big salary gains that can be made from a lower base, the UB MBA takes students from an average pre-MBA figure of US$26,000 and transforms it into an average figure of US$61,800 three months after graduation. This represents an uplift of 138%!



9)       Indiana University (Kelley) | United States | 137% salary uplift

Back to the higher end of salary outcomes with the highest three-month, post-graduation salary (US$109,700) on this top 10 list. The Kelley MBA offers students a 137% uplift on their average pre-MBA salaries of US$46,300 as well as a comprehensive, world-class business education.



10)   American University (Kogod) | United States | 135% salary uplift

Coming in at 10th and rounding up our top 10 is the Kogod MBA at the American University. Students can expect to see their salaries rise from an average of US$36,000 up to US$84,700 upon successful completion of the MBA – an increase of 135%.



This article was originally published in November 2017 . It was last updated in May 2018

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

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.


Related Articles Last year

Most Shared Last year

Most Read Last year