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Average MBA starting salary in USA, India | Compensation trends

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MBA Salary in USA, Europe, India

Earlier we wrote about MBA Jobs in USA, India and other countries. Now we move on to the part that most MBA students are most interested in – post MBA salaries, pay-scales and compensation packages. The QS TopMBA report on jobs and salaries reveals some intriguing facts and trends about MBA salary in USA, India and other countries.

Average MBA Starting Salaries and Compensation Packages

Region Average MBA salary (annual)
North America $123,900
Western Europe $102,900
Asia Pacific $90,300
Africa & Middle East $88,700
Latin America $80,900
Eastern Europe $72,100

The basic trend so far has been that North America and Europe have been lagging behind the emerging markets on the MBA salary growth parameter. However, in absolute terms the salaries offered in these regions are still high.

The icing on the cake has come in the form of bonuses (almost 20% of the overall compensation). This includes sign-on bonuses (helps take off some of the education loan pressures) as well as performance related end-of-the-year bonuses.
The average payback period has been between 2 to 5 years.

Consulting and Finance continue to be the sought-after MBA recruitment sectors. However, IT/Computer Services firms are also increasing their demand for MBA hires.

If you thought that MBA Salaries in USA were the highest, you’d be wrong. Singapore ($137K) is the highest with Australia ($123K), France ($124K), and UK ($120K), among the other top contenders. USA MBA average salaries ($130K) is the second highest. But the demand for MBAs is still the highest in the USA. You’ll get the widest range of MBA job offers here. Another aspect to consider is that there were lesser respondents from the other countries (so easier to skew the numbers).

India is among the top 20 major MBA markets, however, MBA salaries in India are among the lower ones in the salary trends report, at an average of about $57K, including the average bonus.
Read Salary increase after MBA

Average MBA Salary in USA & Western Europe

Industry Sector Average Salary Growth in MBA Jobs 2015/16
Aerospace/Defence $94,800 1%
Construction / Property $120,300 16%
Consulting / Professional Services $88,500 14%
Consumer Goods $62,600 10%
Education $78,200 13%
Electronics/High Technology $88,200 7%
Energy $121,100 0.3%
Financial Services/Banking $99,100 8%
IT/Computer Services $89,500 27%
Law $165,000 0%
Manufacturing/Engineering $88,600 7%
Media/Entertainment & Arts $86,500 9%
Metals/Mining $125,800 5%
Pharma/Biotech & Healthcare $99,200 13%
Public Sector/Government/Nonprofit $88,500 3%
Recruitment/HR Services $90,100 4%
Retail $89,000 8%
Telecoms $84,600 11%
Transportation/Distribution $76,000 18%
Travel/Leisure/Hospitality $84,200 31%
Utilities $90,000 38%

Source: QS Jobs & Salary Trends Report 2016/17 (
The other trend over the last decade has been in the area of salary equalisation. This means that the difference in MBA salaries across geographies is reducing i.e. you could work for an MNC in India (hoping the Indian talent with international credentials and perspectives will help to increase their domestic footprint) and still get a significantly higher post MBA salary compared to what the local employers might offer.

However, the number of MNC jobs in home countries that pay very high salaries (closer to the $100,000 average in USA) is still quite small. [Read this related post: Highest paying jobs in India]

The reason is that there’s an abundant supply of local MBAs (from lower tier institutions) who are willing to work for a fraction of the salary. So it’s difficult for many MNCs to justify paying a premium to the top international B-school grads.

The key message from recruiters to new MBA graduates is to avoid getting too obsessed with the post MBA salary (Are MBAs really overpaid?) and look at establishing credibility within the organisation first, gaining new skills and build a long term career plan.

Apart from these short term salaries, read this article on how much you can expect to earn in the long run: Average MBA salaries after 10 – 20 years for USA and Canadian business school grads

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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

32 thoughts on “Average MBA starting salary in USA, India | Compensation trends”

  1. Many MBA students are forced to do job on low salary because to gain experience. Even student of top MBA colleges are not getting highly package after finishing his or her masters in business administration. Sir could you please share your views about this situation.
    [Moderator Edit: Spammy links removed]

  2. Agree with you, Sameer, that it’s crucial to build and gain new skills, considering your long term career plans than your immediate post MBA salary figures.

    The point to consider by Indian students looking forward for an MBA abroad is where they want to be down the line!

    What do you think Sameer? I would consider these points:

    Would language be a barrier while choosing region?

    Which region would be more sensible if I were to return back to India and work for or partner with my contacts that I made during MBA?

    Where can I make better contacts?

  3. @Varun: Language will be a serious barrier if you are considering front-office and client interaction roles. Even otherwise, it helps to know the basics so you can fit into the culture and be accepted by the local colleagues.

    If you intend to come back to India, there are no issues. All your classmates would speak English. So you can continue to communicate with them after getting back.

    Choose the region where you see yourself doing business in the future, from your Indian office.

  4. Hi Sameer,

    I am an ISB admit for class of 2014-2015 with 2.8 years of experience as a software engineer with Amazon.

    Please help me know of the placements in terms of roles and compensation.


  5. I’m Electronics and comm. engineer have more than 3 year of experience.Now want go for MBA in operation (supply chain) from the USA or Canada.
    will you please suggest any other program which is more beneficial for me.

  6. Hi Sameer,

    Your post was quite informative.

    I am a B.Tech with 7+ yrs of exp in IT (non-developer role, mainly consulting in professional services and support) and earning a handsome salary almost equal to ISB’s 2014 batch average salary as mentioned on their website. Always wanted to do an MBA, but never got chance to prepare for GMAT. Also, I’m earning good so never felt the need either.

    Now, I feel like taking GMAT and getting a successful MBA admit next year, so that will increase my experience by 15-18months plus the raise in salary by the time I join a B-school.

    Unfortunately, I have a mental block that my today’s earning is just perfect as compared to my peers from college and elsewhere, Then how would an MBA degree from ISB in India or abroad (excluding Europe) will help in monetary terms, primarily concerned about the ROI. Please share your views

    Somewhere down the line I understand, MBA is to be thought as a long term career plan and not for immediate returns. Need your inputs to clear my mental block, also, considering my current work profile (Mainly Individual Contributor) if you think it won’t be wise for me to pursue a regular MBA instead should look out for PT program alongside job.

    Another question I’d like to raise is, ISB claims that their outgoing salaries are twice the incoming figure. Is this valid for someone already coming with 15-20lpa bracket? I doubt, but need your expert opinion.

    P.S Sorry for keeping it long.


  7. @Rohit: MIT, Wharton, Stanford, Kellogg are among the best for supply chain / operations.

    @Mohit: After 8+ years of experience, the monetary upside (as that’s what you’ve asked about) of schools like ISB will not be as high as those who come in with half your experience. So, don’t expect to double your salary.

  8. Hi Sameer,
    A big thank you for providing this information..
    I have done in 2012, then after a year in May 2013 I start doing job. Then in 2014, qualified a government exam for job and is doing the same, but I always wanted to pursue MBA, so I wanted to know that whether Is it the right time to go for GMAT ?
    I’m an average student 70% in all 10th, 12th and in graduation and no much of extra curricular activities. I have also taken CAT but always getting around 85%tile (not qualified), but always want to do MBA from HBS or GSB. So please tell the score that I should achieve in order to get admitted in HBS or Standford with maximum scholarship (since I’m not financially good so it is the deciding factor for me). Please guide me…

  9. Hi sameer….
    I have done Bsc nursing… And has 2yrs experience as a staff nurse in one of the reputed hospitals. Am interested in doing mba in hospital administration…but I have a diloma to do it in abroad or in india. As my aim is to settle in abroad.Which wil be a finest option for me with a weak financial background

  10. my name is kamal patwa from mumbai india and i have exp is sales & financial market alomost 7 years please suggest me mba program.

  11. Saran
    I am Mechanical engineer with four years experience in manufacturing.To decide on my career,suggest me to go for MS,ME,MBA or grow with my experience .

  12. Hi Sameer

    I am working in a MNC and has almost 4 years of experience. I am planning go for IELTS and get an admission in MBA In USA . So after completing MBA and joining a MNC in India will b worth and will i get a good package?
    Please guide

  13. Hi Sameer Sir, I’m carrita and I’m pursuing third year of BBA . I want to do MBA in HR or Marketing from USA or CANADA .I will be giving my gmat exams in December.
    What would you suggest should I go abroad for MBA or study in INDIA? Do best b-schools accept fresh graduates without work experience?

    • Hi Carrita…
      I’m Vijay. I’m pursuing my BBA final year & also I’m Pursuing my internship from one of the reputed company of india in HRM.
      So i would like to go aboard for further study (MBA in HR)..
      If you have any information regarding to this then can you suggest me please..!!

  14. Hello sir, I m Bapu I have done BE Mechanical in may 2015, and started work in one manufacturing company but I always want to MBA in top business school in US or UK plz give me some information about that

  15. Hi Sameer

    I am working as a Field Service engineer in a MNC in Life Science research / Healthcare Sector. Exp : <2 Yrs. Kindly suggest me for MBA program that will be good for my growth,
    I am planning to pursue it in 2017. So by that time by exp will be of 3+ yrs

  16. Hello Sameer,
    I am a fresh graduate in electronics engineering. Currently working as an IT professional in one of the leading MNC with a nominal package. I would like to do my MBA in one of the top B schools in NORTH AMERICA .So would you suggest me the institutional GMAT cut off scores and the respective placement reports, And also the average salary drawn from that particular B school.
    Thanks in Advance

  17. hello sir
    iam doing first year engineering. i want study MBA abroad. please may i know the exams to be attended and wer to go for coaching in next 3 years
    thank you

  18. iam doing first year engineering. i want study MBA abroad. please may i know the exams to be attended and wer to go for coaching in next 3 years
    thank you

  19. Hey sameer .. I am an electronics and communication engineer and have an experienced of 1.5 yrs … now thinking to do mba from university of pensulvenia .. is it good. Plz share ur views .. what salary I can expect after completion of my degree in supply chain or it

  20. I am inter C.A + commerce graduate. I want to study MBA in abroad. I don’t want to go for MBA in finance or marketing. Can you please suggest the course and university?

  21. Hi,
    I’ve gotten into ISB this year. I’m an engineer with 4 years experience in the embedded system domain (not earning in double digits yet). Was just planning to take up MBA for career advancement and not out of any special interest in the field. But now concerned about the high education cost. Are the packages and job profiles offered too little or too stressful to be of much use?
    (Basically worried about ROI and quality of life post MBA)
    Please let me know

  22. Hi,
    I completed my civil engineering diploma. I have 11 year experience in Management and engineering sector, but i want job in USA, but i do’t want a job in civil engineering I want the job in management sector please suggest me for package and management scope in USA…

  23. hi,
    i am completed b.a. in poltical science major this year. i’m form assam. i went 2 do mba.. can you please suggest me the cource and univercity is better for me…(specially in assam)

  24. Hello sir!!! I m Boby Sharma and I HV just completed my graduation from commerce, so now I want to go for MBA but I m little confuse abt doing MBA in India or in abroad ….so plzzz help me to find out the best for me…

  25. Sameer,

    Hii…I am planning to give my GMAT come December this year. Is the data above true?

    Are mining/Metal Industries paying the highest after MBA in US?

    It gives me some motivation factor to study more as I am Btech and Mtech from NIT/IIT and was quite unsure whether my decision to go for MBA in USA will pay off as I dont have an IT Backgroud…


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