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Stanford, Harvard, Wharton Lead the Pack

The starting salary offers received by this year's MBA graduates add up to a mixed bag. About half of Bloomberg Businessweek's 30 top-ranked U.S. business schools reported flat or little growth this year over last. Of even greater concern, salary hikes are not keeping pace with inflation at many schools. For the first time this year, Bloomberg Businessweek calculated the 2010-12 inflation-adjusted growth rate for the median salary of each school's graduates, and the picture is not rosy. At about a third of the 30 top-ranked schools, the median growth rate was negative, meaning salaries have either fallen, or budged by less than 1 percent, over the last three years. A handful of schools defied the odds, including the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, where salaries jumped 7 percent since 2010, after inflation is factored in. Other schools with inflation-adjusted pay growth exceeding 5 percent include Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business and University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.

Notwithstanding the tepid growth, getting an MBA from a top 30 school still means that most students walk out with enviable starting offers—at least $30,000 more than they were making before attending business school. More than two-thirds of the top 30 schools reported median salaries that were well into six figures. The Stanford Graduate School of Business reported a $125,000 median salary—the highest of any top 30 school— trailed closely by Harvard Business School and the Wharton School, both of which reported median salaries of $120,000.

Note: All pay information was self-reported by schools, except as noted.

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