Over the course of a career, what's an MBA worth? A lot depends on what you studied, where you studied, and of course the career you pursued. But to give you a rough idea, Bloomberg Businessweek asked PayScale to crunch the numbers. What follows isn't a prediction but a look at the median cash compensation (salary and bonus) earned by graduates of our top-ranked U.S. MBA programs who received their degrees over the past 20 years. On average, graduates of all 57 programs earned about $2.4 million over the two decades, or $122,513 a year. The graduates of the 10 programs with the highest earnings took home nearly $3.2 million apiece, or $159,122 a year, while the remaining 47 schools averaged $2.3 million, or $114,724 a year.
Methodology Note: The salary data in this slide show were supplied by PayScale, which collects them from individuals through online pay-comparison tools. For each school, PayScale tallied the median cash compensation—including base pay and bonuses, while excluding stock and options—for MBA graduates at five points in their careers. Years of experience includes pre-MBA experience, and individual categories include MBAs with more or less experience. The data are based on a sample of 29,000 MBA graduates from the 57 top schools; most median figures shown represent approximately 200 to 1,000 actual salaries per school. Using the median salaries and average annual growth rates for each school, Bloomberg Businessweek calculated a rough estimate of earnings over the entire 20-year period.