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MBA Pay has Outpaced Inflation

05 Apr
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Amidst the economic turmoil caused by inflation, there's a silver lining for MBA graduates in the United States. A study by Poets&Quants shows that, despite the chaos, MBA graduates have not only kept pace with inflation but have actually trumped it. The results of this study provide a glimmer of hope for those who have invested in their education and career advancement.

A fascinating report by Bloomberg Businessweek delved into the exciting world of MBA salaries and inflation rates. What they found was truly eye-opening. While inflation only rose by 17.6% from 2018 to 2022, MBA salaries skyrocketed by an impressive 28.1%—reaching a fantastic $205,000 per year from $160,000.1

This is an amazing 60% increase above the inflation rate. MBA grads also outperformed the stagnant median salary growth rate of all full-time US workers, which barely surpassed inflation with an 18.7% growth rate to $54,666 from $46,039 over the same period.1

It’s clear pursuing an MBA at top business schools like Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business can be a smart investment for your future earning potential.

Read on to discover how an MBA can help you stay ahead of inflation and boost your earning potential.

Record-Breaking MBA Pay: A Promising Outlook Amid Economic Uncertainty

Despite anxiety over inflation and political turbulence, recent graduating classes are enjoying some of the highest starting salaries on record.

Harnessing data from the nation's most esteemed business institutions, Poets&Quants probed deep into the pay trends of MBA graduates. Through meticulous analysis, the results offer a reassuring outlook for those considering an MBA in today's unpredictable economic climate.

Positive Results: Top MBAs Surpassing Inflation Rates by a Significant Margin

In the world of business education, the MBA degree has long been a symbol of career advancement and higher earning potential. According to recent data from Poets&Quants, that symbol is more powerful than ever. By analyzing salary growth at 27 top-ranked US business schools, P&Q revealed an average increase of 24% from 2018 to 2022. This big jump indicates that MBA graduates are in high demand and commanding impressive salaries. Most impressively, however, the elite M7 schools experienced even more remarkable growth, with an average increase of 26.7%.

The data from P&Q aligns with other reliable sources such as the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) which reported that the median salary of MBA graduates in the United States rose from $105,000 in 2020 to $115,000 in 2021.2

These results highlight the undeniable earning potential for graduates and the growing appeal of pursuing an MBA from a top-ranked business school for financial security.

The Business School Salaries You Need to Know About (And How SCU Stands Out)

Out of the schools analyzed, NYU Stern School of Business had the highest growth in median base salary with a staggering increase of 36%, which means that MBAs who graduated from NYU Stern School of Business saw their starting salaries grow from $125,000 to $170,000.3 Not far behind are Columbia Business School, Chicago Booth School of Business, and Dartmouth Tuck School of Business, which all saw a growth rate of 34.6%. The median base salaries for MBAs from these schools increased from $130,000 in 2018 to $175,000 in 2022.3

On the other hand, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and Washington Olin Business School in St. Louis had the lowest median salary growth rates among the schools studied, at 8.3% and 9.1%, respectively. Nevertheless, it's important to note that all schools saw some level of growth, with these two being the only ones with single-digit growth rates.

Graduates of Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business are also witnessing a significant transformation in their careers, with their median earnings nearly doubling by the midpoint of their professional journey. On average, these alumni earn an impressive $167,800 annually after having started their careers with lower salaries.4

Notably, Santa Clara University has a strong connection with Silicon Valley, which is known for its thriving tech industry. Over 24,000 business school alumni have secured roles in the region's top companies, indicating the high demand for SCU graduates in the tech-focused job market.4

A handful of schools also had data on total compensation, which includes salary and bonus adjusted by the percentage of those receiving the bonus. Of the 11 schools examined, the average increase in total compensation was 28.7%, with no school seeing lower than 20% growth. Harvard Business School stood out with the highest increase, boasting a 40% increase in total comp from $160,268 in 2018 to $223,100 in 2022.4

Not All MBAs are Created Equal: A Comprehensive Financial Picture

Uncovering the salary differences between top and bottom earners of MBA graduates can paint a more comprehensive financial picture. The P&Q study also took a look at four randomly selected MBA programs from esteemed institutions, including Dartmouth Tuck, Stanford Graduate School of Business, UNC Kenan-Flagler, and Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.

The data showed the earnings of graduates who chose nonprofit, government, or retail careers, revealing a story much different than that of the top earners.

  • Tuck: retail consumer goods MBA in 2018 made $108k, 5 yrs later same sector MBA made $126k (16.7% growth).3
  • UNC: retail MBA in 2018 made $107.5k, 5 yrs later same sector MBA made $115k (7% growth).3
  • Stanford: media/entertainment MBAs in 2018 made $137.5k, 5 yrs later same sector MBA made $155k (12.7% growth).3
  • Kellogg: real estate MBA in 2018 made $117.5k, 5 yrs later same sector MBA made $140k (19.1% growth).3

When it comes to top MBA programs, it's not just about the median salary. It's also crucial to consider the lowest-paid graduates who may require additional time to pay off loans.

Analysis of these four randomly selected MBA programs shows that while salaries in various sectors have generally outpaced inflation, not every MBA yields such positive results, with real estate MBAs from Kellogg School of Management being the sole exception against the 17.6% inflation rate.

These findings highlight the importance to weigh the cost and benefits of pursuing a career you're passionate about against potential earnings. Having a balance of diverse career paths and industry specializations in MBA programs can significantly impact a graduate's long-term earning potential.

Empower Yourself for Better Job Opportunities and Professional Growth With an MBA

Corporate recruiters and staffing firms are actively seeking MBA graduates, and statistics show that an MBA can lead to significant salary increases.

However, an MBA isn't just about the paycheck. It's an opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills needed to excel in various organizations and explore exciting new career paths.

The numbers speak for themselves: According to recent surveys, a vast majority of corporate recruiters (92%) and staffing firms (95%) plan to hire MBA graduates in the near future. An MBA can also lead to significantly higher earnings than a bachelor's degree alone, with a median starting salary of $115,000 and a median signing bonus of $10,500. Although the cost of an MBA is an investment, the degree can pay for itself quickly—making it a high-return-on-investment (ROI) opportunity.

An MBA degree can be a valuable asset for individuals whose careers have hit a wall or who have unfulfilling careers. With the comprehensive practical and theoretical business knowledge gained from a top-quality MBA program, one can become proficient in various organizations and explore new career paths. Many candidates consider the opportunity to pivot into a new professional phase as a primary reason for pursuing an MBA degree.

MBA programs are highly sought after for their ability to introduce individuals to ambitious, accomplished professionals with a diverse range of backgrounds. Through interactions with peers, faculty, and alumni networks, students have the potential to take their business leadership skills to new heights. These connections are not only essential for career development, but they also provide the foundation for long-lasting professional relationships.

Even in online MBA programs, students can take advantage of interactive learning management systems to build valuable connections within their industries. Never underestimate the power of networking, even in a digital setting.

A top MBA is a significant investment, but one that can pay off quickly and provide a high ROI, enhance your professional development, and, at SCU, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, offers exceptional networking opportunities with industry leaders and potential employers.

Flexible and Specialized: Santa Clara University's Online MBA Program Prepares Students for Success

Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business provides an exceptional Online MBA program that prepares students to become leaders in the fast-changing business world. SCU's Online MBA degree program offers a curriculum designed to foster critical thinking, innovation, and collaboration for those looking to further their professional development and network and improve their career opportunities and earning potential.

The Silicon Valley program is delivered online, allowing students to complete their coursework on a flexible schedule, which is a crucial factor for working professionals looking to earn an MBA online without sacrificing their current careers.

Additionally, SCU's Online MBA program offers students the opportunity to specialize in a specific area of business, such as marketing, finance, or entrepreneurship.

This specialization allows students to customize their education to their career goals and increases their desirability to potential employers. Graduates of SCU's Online MBA program have attained top positions in diverse industries, such as technology, healthcare, and finance, and are part of Poets&Quants’ notable trend of MBAs exceeding inflation.

Maximize your earning potential with an MBA from SCU Leavey School of Business.

Invest in your future career by enrolling in Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business Online MBA program. As the demand for MBA graduates continues to rise, it's the perfect time to advance your career and increase your earning potential.

At SCU, our distinguished faculty and industry connections provide a tech-savvy environment that prepares you for the fast-paced and constantly evolving business world. Our Online MBA program provides the flexibility to balance work and life while advancing your career.

Our career support team provides comprehensive resources to help you navigate the job market and land your dream job. We offer personalized career coaching, networking opportunities, and access to our alumni network of influential business leaders in Silicon Valley.

Take the next step in your career by joining our innovative MBA program at SCU. Connect with an Admissions Advisor and learn more about how our program can help you achieve your career goals.