The average Harvard Business School MBA graduate is making $US185,000 three months after graduating, while the one-in-five graduates who go to work for a consulting business are taking home an average of $US188,000.
New data released by Harvard that tracks the self-reported salary information of MBA graduates showed that while consulting ($US150,000) and financial services ($US150,000) jobs paid the highest base salaries; government ($US90,000), non-profit ($US90,567) and consumer products ($US115,000) industries were among the lowest paid. MBA graduates moving into the technology sector received an average salary of $US130,000.
The base salary of graduates is typically boosted by a signing bonus and other guaranteed compensation. The sign-on bonuses can be up to $US50,000 in the investment banking industry and $US25,000 for those who accept offers from the likes of McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and Deloitte in the consulting industry.
Average salaries for graduates have risen from $US125,000 for the class of 2014 to $US135,000 for the class of 2017.
This year’s total median compensation for a Harvard MBA entering consulting came to an unprecedented $US174,600, a number adjusted for the 96% of students gaining median sign-on bonuses and the 5% who reported other median guaranteed compensation of $US13,000.
The biggest pay day this year, however, went to Harvard MBAs who gained jobs in investment management firms and hedge funds.
The 6% of the class who landed those positions reported median total compensation packages just shy of $US200,000 at $US193,837, including median sign-on bonuses of $US45,000, received by 59% of the graduates, and other guaranteed compensation of $US75,000, reported by 30% of the students.
The only other MBAs at Harvard who did better than consulting—and not by very much—were those who accepted their job offers in venture capital, private equity and leveraged buyout firms.
Their total median comp packages reached $US175,156 this year, with the highest reported median base salaries for any industry at $US152,500. About 37% of these grads reported sign-on bonuses of $US25,000, while 18% told HBS they expected to receive other guaranteed compensation of $US75,000.