The Questionable Optimism of MBA Students

MBA Students

IMG: via Shutterstock

Optimism isn’t necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it can often be a good thing. But for MBA students in the United States, too much optimism about base salary straight out of school is, in many cases, only setting students up for major disappointment.

The average base salary for MBAs worldwide sits between $90,000 and $115,000 for top programs—which means that those graduating from less prestigious universities will likely earn less than that. In a recent survey done by Quacquarelli Symonds, QS, 4,122 MBA applicants expected, on average, a base salary of $113,000. That’s relatively reasonable, especially considering they won’t graduate for another two years (upon which the average salaries will likely be higher in general).

But when looking at individual countries, students in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, and Switzerland had much higher expectations. U.S. students reported expectations of $140,000 base salary pay. That’s well above the average salary of students graduating from Stanford, which is one of the top MBA programs in the country. And though that amount is less than it has been in years past, it’s still quite an optimistic number to go on.

While some students may strike gold and get offered that much or more, most of them won’t. Students would likely have to attend a top school to do so, and considering Stanford only accepts 7% of its MBA applicants, that’s an opportunity that will pass by most. Some areas, such as financial services and consulting, pay more on average than others, but are still not likely to bring on fresh graduates for such high pay.

There can be no doubt that base MBA salaries are still quite healthy, hovering right around the 100K mark. They are likely to increase in the future, but perhaps not as much as students expect them to.


About DevonJ140
I am currently an Accounting Director living in New York City. I love reading and learning more about business, finance, tech, and current events.

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