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Summer internship salaries at the top MBA programs

MBA internships are excellent for many reasons that we covered in an earlier post (read How MBA internships work). The top two being – they take you closer to your dream job and they end the long no-income phase that the MBA forced you into. Interestingly, MBA internship salaries figure at the bottom of the priority list when students choose their companies. The other aspects that figure higher on the list are – the internship function, industry, company reputation and growth potential.

Despite all that, there’s no denying that the interns get paid top dollar by the best MBA recruiters to attract prospective employees early on i.e. before the formal placement season begins.

Do all companies pay an MBA internship salary?

No. There’s no rule or bschool policy that mandates companies to pay their interns. In a tough economy, most business schools aren’t really in position to force companies to do anything.

In many cases, students are more than willing to work for an employer for free if the internship is in the right industry and role.

Other recruiters might pay a modest salary to interns to be on the right side of the fence, or they might agree to pay out-of-pocket expenses (commuting, canteen, pills to tackle stress & work overload etc).

The real fun is when you are attending a top-tier bschool and are competitive enough to enter one of the lucrative post-MBA careers in investment banking, consulting, technology, healthcare, FMCG or any other MBA friendly industry.

Which industry pays the best internship salaries?

According to data collated by Poets & Quants, a leading source of bschool news, the average internship salary at the top bschools for the class of 2013 was $7,000 per month. Extrapolated for the whole year, that would correspond to $84,000 per annum.

We aren’t considering the components that impact this number in full-time jobs (like the 401K contribution, the equivalent of our provident fund).

Either ways, the average internship salary doesn’t really mean much unless you start digging deeper at look at the range of internship pay for specific industry.

Management consulting internships come up on top. At the top consulting firms, the median monthly internship salary was $10,500. That’s the equivalent of $126,000 annually. This looks way better than the general average.

Investment banking internships pay well too. The median pay for interns was $8,333 per month, which scales up to $100,000 each year. Within this broader sector, hedge funds paid more ($9,615 monthly or $115,000 per year) and venture capital funds paid lesser ($61,000).

Government and Non-profit internships offered more modest salaries. The average monthly pay was $4,800 (equivalent to $58,000 annually).

Tech start-ups, stuck in an era between dot coms and dot cons, seem to be the worst pay-masters when it comes to internships salaries. Not too many bschools have shared this data, but if Booth figures are any indication ($550), internet and ecommerce startups seem to have become less aggressive in chasing top talent.

Average MBA Internship Salaries at the top business schools

School Internship salary (per month) Financial Services Management Consulting Healthcare
Harvard $7,000 35% 25% 7%
Stanford $7,000 26% 10% 8%
Wharton $7,693 43% 17% 8%
Chicago Booth $8,000 41% 20% 4%
Kellogg $7,000 25% 21% 5%
Columbia $8,000 51% 17% 3%
MIT Sloan $7,500 25% 20% 9%
Dartmouth Tuck $7,300 32% 16% 7%
Duke Fuqua $7,200 25% 17% 11%
Berkeley Haas $6,591 16% 10% 13%
Cornell Johnson $6,860 43% 15% NA
Virginia Darden $7,694 30% 19% 3%
Ross Michigan $7,045 14% 22% 1%
Yale $7,200 39% 28% 5%
Stern NYU $7,930 34% 14% 3%
Data Source: P&Q

The companies that pay these salaries are the best in the business. We’re talking about the top consulting firms (McKinsey, Bain, BCG) and investment banks (Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citi etc). Other companies that are a notch lower in the pedigree arena may have lower internship payscales.

Next up, we talk about the right companies to target for the best internship opportunities, which bschools they prefer and how you can convert your internship into a permanent job.

Also read about Virtual Internships

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

7 thoughts on “Summer internship salaries at the top MBA programs”

  1. Sir,
    I am a student of M.B.A(1st sem).I want to apply for summer training program abroad .Can u please tell me what is a criteria for applying there and how do they sponsor

  2. Saisha: From what you’ve shared, I’m assuming you are currently pursuing an MBA in India.

    A few international organisations (like United Nations orgs) do have internship options, but it can be a very competitive and complex process.

    You could check with your careers team to see if anyone has done what you are planning to do, and how the process worked.

  3. Sir ,
    I am pursuing MBA. I want to apply for summer internship so can u please help me to find a correct company .( should I go through this thing).

  4. sir,my name is neelam pursuing in Masters of E-Business program(MBA+IT),as per the requirement to complete the course we have to do the 5 month industrial internship in our last SEMESTER ,so i want to knw about the company providing intership in abroad….and what are the criteria to fullfill the requirement…plz let me know…

  5. Is it common policy for summer interns to be paid vaying amounts for the same post depending on the college they are selected from?

    • There’s is no standard or regulation for stipends, Medini.

      Which means companies are allowed to do whatever they please. In several cases, some unscrupulous employers exploit interns knowing well that they can get away with it.

      We have a whole article coming up on it on this topic. So stay tuned.


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