Average Salaries and Job Placement Rates at Top MBA Programs

By admitStreet Team

In the competitive realm of business education, MBA programs serve as gateways to lucrative career opportunities and professional growth. One of the key metrics that MBA hopefuls and industry observers closely scrutinize is the average starting base salary offered to graduates of these programs. Over the years, this figure has become synonymous with the perceived value and prestige of MBA institutions. 

However, alongside base salaries, sign-on bonuses have emerged as a crucial component of compensation packages, further shaping the attractiveness of MBA programs. Moreover, job placement rates provide (arguably even more) important insights into the effectiveness of these programs in facilitating career transitions for their graduates. 

In this article, we delve into the multifaceted landscape of MBA program outcomes by analyzing average starting base salaries, sign-on bonuses, and job placement rates at top MBA programs from 2020 to 2023.

Average Starting Base Salary at Top MBA Programs (2020-2023)

MBA programs continue to be sought-after for professionals looking to advance their careers and increase their earning potential. The average starting base salary is a crucial metric for both prospective students and business schools to gauge the value and success of these programs. 

Let’s delve into the data from top MBA programs over the past two years and four years to discern trends and draw meaningful insights

S. No.Business SchoolAverage Starting Base Salary (2023)Average Starting Base Salary (2022)Y-O-Y Salary Change% ChangeAverage Starting Base Salary (2021)Average Starting Base Salary (2020)4-Year Salary Change% Change
1Stanford GSB$189,010$182,272$6,7383.70%$161,831$159,544$29,46618.50%
2Chicago Booth$180,000$175,000$5,0002.90%$155,000$150,000$30,00020.00%
3Harvard Business School$175,000$175,00000.00%$150,500$150,000$25,00016.70%
5Dartmouth Tuck$175,000$175,00000.00%$142,719$143,867NANA
6Columbia Business School$175,000$175,00000.00%$150,000$150,000$25,00016.70%
7Yale SOM*$175,000$160,110$14,8909.30%$140,400$140,000$35,00025.00%
8Duke Fuqua$175,000$160,055$14,9459.30%$141,109$135,935NANA
9Michigan Ross$175,000$165,000$10,0006.10%$144,000$135,000$40,00029.60%
10Northwestern Kellogg$175,000$165,000$10,0006.10%$150,000$144,000$31,00021.50%
11MIT Sloan$170,000$165,000$5,0003.00%$150,000$150,000$20,00013.30%
12NYU Stern$168,182$161,475$6,7074.20%$149,524$143,858$24,32416.90%
13Virginia Darden$167,899$157,090$10,8096.90%$144,933$139,945$27,95420.00%
14UC-Berkeley Haas$162,831$152,831$10,0006.50%$143,696$139,423$23,40816.80%
15Cornell Johnson$162,808$155,048$7,7605.00%$139,121$138,767$24,04117.30%
16Texas-Austin McCombs$157,735$144,564$13,1719.10%$129,854$128,586$29,14922.70%
17CMU Tepper$156,291$148,067$8,2245.60%$134,847$135,035$21,25615.70%
18Georgia Tech Scheller$154,679$136,819$17,86013.10%$123,843$121,045$33,63427.80%
19Vanderbilt Owen$154,052$139,711$14,34110.30%$125,130$126,137$27,91522.10%
20Emory Goizueta$152,317$149,759$2,5581.70%$134,700$130,112$22,20517.10%
21Washington Foster$151,322$147,340$3,9822.70%$130,407$125,474$25,84820.60%
22UCLA Anderson$151,140$146,727$4,4133.00%$135,273$132,460$18,68014.10%
23USC Marshall$150,081$150,314-$233-0.20%$130,976$132,844$17,23713.00%
24Rice Jones$149,521$142,212$7,3095.10%$131,384$123,786$25,73520.80%
25Georgetown McDonough$149,256$138,552$10,7047.70%$126,107$128,162$21,09416.50%
26UNC Kenan-Flagler$146,779$133,517$13,2629.90%$125,687$126,957$19,82215.60%
27Rochester Simon$140,445$130,000$10,4458.03%$123,000$120,000NANA
28Indiana Kelley$137,500$130,000$7,5005.80%$120,000$119,000$18,50015.50%
29Washington Olin$132,744$117,687$15,05712.80%$115,478$113,822$18,92216.60%
30Notre Dame Mendoza$130,000$130,00000.00%$120,950$116,500$13,50011.60%

Two-Year Change Analysis


  • Yale SOM and Duke Fuqua witnessed significant increases in their average starting base salaries over the past two years, with $14,890 and $14,945 rises, respectively.
  • Notably, several schools, including Michigan Ross, Northwestern Kellogg, and MIT Sloan, recorded substantial growth ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, indicating a positive trend in post-MBA salary outcomes.
  • Despite a marginal increase of $6,738, Stanford GSB maintained its position as the top earner, reflecting the consistency and prestige associated with the program.


  • The majority of top MBA programs have demonstrated healthy growth in average starting base salaries over the past two years, indicating the continued demand for MBA talent and the value placed on these degrees by employers.
  • Schools like Yale SOM and Duke Fuqua might have implemented strategic initiatives to enhance their post-MBA employment outcomes, resulting in substantial salary increases for their graduates.

Four-Year Change Analysis


  • Michigan Ross and Virginia Darden stand out with remarkable four-year salary increases of $40,000 and $27,954, respectively, showcasing consistent growth and strong post-MBA employment outcomes.
  • Schools like Chicago Booth and Northwestern Kellogg have also experienced substantial salary growth over the past four years, with increases of $30,000 and $31,000, respectively, highlighting the long-term value and ROI of their MBA programs.
  • Emory Goizueta and Washington Foster demonstrate steady growth in their average starting base salaries, reflecting positively on the reputation and effectiveness of their MBA programs in delivering competitive post-MBA employment opportunities.


  • The significant salary increases observed across various MBA programs over the past four years underscore the enduring relevance and value of an MBA degree in today’s competitive job market.
  • Schools that have consistently invested in enhancing their curriculum, career services, and industry connections have reaped the rewards in terms of higher average starting salaries for their graduates.
  • The data suggests that MBA programs that adapt to evolving industry needs, foster strong employer relationships, and prioritize student success are more likely to yield favorable salary outcomes for their graduates over the long term.

Analyzing Sign-On Bonuses at Top MBA Programs

Sign-on bonuses are a significant component of the overall compensation package offered to MBA graduates, often reflecting the demand for their skills and the competitiveness of the job market. Let’s delve into the data from top MBA programs over the past few years to understand the trends and changes in sign-on bonuses.

S NoBusiness SchoolAverage Sign-On Bonus (2023)Average Sign-On Bonus (2022)Y-O-Y Bonus ChangeAverage Sign-On Bonus (2021)Average Sign-On Bonus (2020)4-Year Bonus Change
1Washington Foster$44,537$40,657$3,880$39,283$36,380$8,157
2Georgetown McDonough$43,325$36,342$6,983$34,073$34,707$8,618
3Stanford GSB$42,249$33,684$8,565$29,148$32,551$9,698
4CMU Tepper$40,139$38,956$1,183$30,399$33,463$6,676
5Rochester Simon$38,941$33,250$5,691$36,000$34,500$4,441
6Cornell Johnson$38,826$38,310$516$37,684$36,391$2,435
7NYU Stern$38,192$40,936-$2,744$38,211$37,892$300
8Virginia Darden$37,588$34,749$2,839$35,488$33,266$4,322
9UC-Berkeley Haas$36,777$33,418$3,359$33,775$31,330$5,447
10UCLA Anderson$36,174$33,897$2,277$29,877$31,329$4,845
11Notre Dame Mendoza$35,000$30,000$5,000$25,000NANA
12Vanderbilt Owen$34,591$34,636-$45$27,651$26,991$7,600
13UNC Kenan-Flagler$34,555$30,359$4,196$29,751$29,588$4,967
14Emory Goizueta$33,945$33,987-$42$29,151$28,076$5,869
15Rice Jones$33,909$35,879-$1,970$33,221$33,828$81
16Chicago Booth$33,000$30,000$3,000$35,000$30,000$3,000
17Texas-Austin McCombs$32,915$31,178$1,737$28,153$31,698$1,217
18USC Marshall$32,531$37,218-$4,687$29,473$28,673$3,858
19Dartmouth Tuck$30,000$30,000None$33,745$34,171NA
20Harvard Business School*$30,000$30,000None$30,000$30,000None
21Columbia Business School$30,000$30,000None$30,000$30,300-$300
22Yale SOM$30,000$30,000None$30,000$30,000None
23Duke Fuqua$30,000$35,456NA$34,958$35,032NA
24Michigan Ross$30,000$30,000None$30,000$30,000None
25Northwestern Kellogg$30,000$30,000None$30,000$30,000None
26MIT Sloan$30,000$30,000None$30,000$30,000None
27Indiana Kelley$30,000$30,000None$30,000$25,000$5,000
28Georgia Tech Scheller$28,245$26,749$1,496$25,066$25,040$3,205
29Washington Olin$26,800$29,129-$2,329$27,487$26,949-$149

Two-Year Change in Sign-On Bonuses


  • Varied Fluctuations: There is a considerable variance in the two-year change in sign-on bonuses across different MBA programs. For instance, while some schools have seen significant increases, others have experienced fluctuations or even declines.
  • Positive Trends: Several schools have witnessed an upward trend in sign-on bonuses over the past two years, indicating robust demand for MBA talent and potentially improving economic conditions. Stanford GSB, Georgetown McDonough, and NYU Stern, for example, have all seen substantial increases in sign-on bonuses.
  • Mixed Performance: However, not all schools have experienced growth in sign-on bonuses. Schools like Notre Dame Mendoza and USC Marshall have shown significant increases in sign-on bonuses, while others, like Vanderbilt Owen and Emory Goizueta, have seen slight declines.


  • Market Demand: The positive trend in sign-on bonuses for many MBA programs suggests a healthy demand for MBA graduates in various industries. Employers may be offering higher bonuses to attract top talent amidst increasing competition.
  • Program Prestige: The variance in sign-on bonuses between different MBA programs could reflect differences in program prestige, alumni networks, and industry connections. Schools with stronger reputations may command higher bonuses for their graduates.
  • Industry Shifts: Changes in sign-on bonuses could also reflect shifts in the demand for MBA skills across different industries. Industries experiencing growth or disruption may offer higher bonuses to attract MBA talent.

Four-Year Change in Sign-On Bonuses


  • Stability and Growth: Over a four-year period, many MBA programs have shown stability or growth in sign-on bonuses. Schools like Washington Foster, Georgetown McDonough, and Stanford GSB have all experienced consistent growth in sign-on bonuses.
  • Fluctuations: Some schools have seen fluctuations in sign-on bonuses over the four-year period, with changes both positive and negative. For example, schools like UC Berkeley Haas and UCLA Anderson have seen fluctuations, albeit with overall positive trends.
  • No Change: Interestingly, a few schools have reported no change in sign-on bonuses over the four-year period. Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, Yale SOM, and others have maintained consistent sign-on bonus levels.


  • Economic Factors: The stability and growth in sign-on bonuses over four years suggest resilience in MBA hiring despite economic fluctuations. Employers may view MBA talent as essential for driving growth and innovation, thereby maintaining or increasing sign-on bonuses.
  • Program Reputation: Schools that have consistently high or increasing sign-on bonuses may have strong reputations for producing graduates with in-demand skills. Employers may be willing to offer higher bonuses to secure talent from these programs.
  • Industry Dynamics: Changes in sign-on bonuses over four years may also reflect shifts in industry demand for MBA graduates. Schools with strong connections to growing industries or emerging sectors may see more significant increases in sign-on bonuses.

Examining Job Placement Rates at Top MBA Programs

Job placement rates are crucial indicators of the success and relevance of MBA programs. They reflect the ability of these programs to equip graduates with the necessary skills and networks to secure employment opportunities after completion. Analyzing the job placement data from various top MBA programs over a span of several years provides valuable insights into the evolving dynamics of the business education landscape.

S NoBusiness School2023 Job Offers After 3 Months2022 Job Offers After 3 Months2-Year Trend2021 Job Offers After 3 Months2020 Job Offers After 3 Months4-Year Trend
2Vanderbilt Owen97.00%97.00%0.00%97.00%96.00%1.00%
3Georgia Tech Scheller97.00%100.00%-3.00%97.00%90.00%7.00%
4Dartmouth Tuck96.00%98.00%-2.00%98.00%94.00%2.00%
5Emory Goizueta96.00%98.00%-2.00%99.00%92.00%4.00%
6Michigan Ross95.90%99.00%-3.10%97.50%90.30%5.60%
7Virginia Darden95.70%97.00%-1.30%97.00%93.00%2.70%
8Chicago Booth95.60%96.80%-1.20%97.70%92.80%2.80%
9Northwestern Kellogg94.50%99.00%-4.50%97.10%95.00%-0.50%
10NYU Stern94.30%94.10%0.20%95.80%92.00%2.30%
11Indiana Kelley94.20%96.20%-2.00%95.70%94.80%-0.60%
12Cornell Johnson94.00%97.00%-3.00%97.00%93.00%1.00%
13Washington Foster94.00%NANANANANA
14CMU Tepper93.60%97.00%-3.40%96.00%89.00%4.60%
15Georgetown McDonough93.30%96.00%-2.70%96.00%93.00%0.30%
16Duke Fuqua93.00%98.00%-5.00%98.00%93.00%0.00%
17Yale SOM91.50%96.10%-4.60%95.70%90.20%1.30%
18Rochester Simon91%95.00%-4%95.10%90.60%NA
19Notre Dame Mendoza91.00%96.00%-5.00%96.00%79.00%12.00%
20MIT Sloan90.20%96.60%-6.40%95.90%95.50%-5.30%
21Rice Jones90.00%96.00%-6.00%97.00%90.00%0.00%
22Texas-Austin McCombs90.00%95.00%-5.00%93.80%88.00%2.00%
23UC-Berkeley Haas89.90%93.80%-3.90%89.90%89.10%0.80%
24Stanford GSB89.00%93.00%-4.00%96.00%91.00%-2.00%
25UNC Kenan-Flagler89.00%96.00%-7.00%93.00%86.00%3.00%
26UCLA Anderson86.80%93.90%-7.10%93.10%83.30%3.50%
27USC Marshall86.10%97.00%-10.90%95.00%NANA
28Harvard Business School86.00%95.00%-9.00%96.00%90.00%-4.00%
29Washington Olin86.00%95.00%-9.00%94.00%74.00%12.00%

Two-Year Change

Observations and Inferences

  • Positive Trends:
    • Schools like Vanderbilt Owen, Michigan Ross, and Virginia Darden have maintained relatively stable job placement rates over the past two years, with minimal fluctuations.
    • NYU Stern and Indiana Kelley witnessed slight improvements in their job placement rates, indicating the effectiveness of their career development initiatives.
  • Negative Trends:
    • Several prestigious institutions experienced declines in job placement rates over the two-year period. This includes schools like MIT Sloan, Rice Jones, and Texas-Austin McCombs, which saw a decrease of around 6% in their placement rates.
    • Notable declines were also observed at Harvard Business School and Columbia, indicating potential challenges in adapting to the evolving demands of the job market.
  • Mixed Trends:
    • Some schools, such as Wharton and Duke Fuqua, witnessed moderate declines in job placement rates, indicating a need for continuous adaptation to market dynamics.
    • Schools like Yale SOM and Stanford GSB, while experiencing declines, still maintained relatively high placement rates, suggesting resilience in their brand value and alumni networks.

Four-Year Change

  • Positive Trends:
    • Over a four-year period, schools like Notre Dame Mendoza and Washington Olin showcased remarkable improvements in their job placement rates, indicating the effectiveness of strategic initiatives and program enhancements.
    • Schools such as CMU Tepper and Emory Goizueta demonstrated consistent positive trends, reflecting the enduring value of their MBA programs in the eyes of employers.
  • Negative Trends:
    • A few institutions, including USC Marshall and MIT Sloan, experienced significant declines in job placement rates over the four-year period, signaling potential challenges in adapting to changing market dynamics or program-related factors.
    • Harvard Business School and UCLA Anderson also observed notable decreases, indicating a need for strategic interventions to address underlying issues affecting student outcomes.
  • Stable Trends:
    • Some schools, like Vanderbilt Owen and Chicago Booth, maintained relatively stable job placement rates over the four-year period, suggesting consistency in their ability to prepare graduates for the job market.
    • Wharton, despite experiencing a slight decline, remained one of the top performers consistently over the years, indicating the enduring strength of its program and alumni network.

Final Thoughts

As prospective students navigate the complex landscape of MBA program selection, it becomes evident that success metrics extend beyond academic reputation and curriculum structure. The ability of a program to translate education into tangible career outcomes, as reflected in salary data, bonuses, and job placements, emerges as a paramount consideration.

Moreover, the analysis underscores the importance of adaptability and responsiveness to market demands for both MBA programs and aspiring professionals. In an ever-evolving business environment, agility and innovation are indispensable qualities that ensure the continued relevance and success of MBA programs in shaping the leaders of tomorrow.

Ultimately, the exploration of average salaries, sign-on bonuses, and job placement rates serves not only as a barometer of program effectiveness but also as a testament to the transformative potential of business education in empowering individuals to achieve their career aspirations and drive meaningful impact in the global business landscape.

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