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Highest-paying jobs for MBA graduates

The highest-paying jobs, for MBAs as for any other degree holders, go to those who chose their major subjects wisely.

MBA majors and, by extension, the professional fields they opt for after graduation, have a greater impact on salary and company than even the reputation or brand of the business management school where they earned their degrees.

(Also read Jobs you can get with a business administration degree)

In its 2016-2017 College Salary Report, PayScale conducted a survey on the relationship between MBA majors/fields and salaries. The survey was based on over 27,000 MBA employee responses, but MBAs with higher educational qualifications such as PhD were not included.

The salaries took into account base annual salary, bonuses, profit-sharing, commissions, and other cash earnings, but not stock compensation, retirement benefits, or health care.
Read Highest Paying Finance Jobs in the World

Highest-paying jobs for MBA graduates: Statistics

Here are some interesting numbers on MBA majors and salaries that the survey revealed.


MBAs with a specialization in Strategy earned the most (ranked by mid-career salary) among those holding a degree in business management, according to PayScale. The median early career pay (0-5 years) was $96,000 (figures rounded to the nearest thousand) and mid-career pay (10 or more years) $149,000. The gender distribution in PayScale’s sample was 71 percent men and 29 percent women.

Top jobs and salaries: Management consultant ($78,000-$166,000), senior product manager ($71,000-$174,000), senior strategy manager ($76,000-$209,000), strategy consultant ($130,000), chief operating officer ($135,000), senior marketing manager ($133,000), business consultant ($90,000)

Salaries/experience: Less than one year – $75,000; 1-4 years – $77,000; 5-9 years – $99,000; 10-19 years – $130,000; > 20 years – $160,000

Salaries/men-women: Men – $72,000-$148,000; women – $52,000-$135,000

Salaries/school: Kellogg – $168,000; NYU Stern – $164,000

Top employers/salaries: PricewaterhouseCoopers – $136,000-$185,000; Booz, Allen, and Hamilton – $123,000; Google – $120,000; Amazon – $107,000-$152,000; Intel – $76,000-$124,000

Top cities: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle

General and strategic management

MBAs with specialization in General and Strategic Management were second on the list of business majors/fields with the highest-paying jobs. Their median early career and mid-career pay were $85,000 and $146,000, respectively. The gender distribution in the sample was 67 percent male and 33 percent female.

Top jobs/salaries: Chief executive officer ($90,000-$350,000), management consultant ($73,000-$175,000), senior vice president (operations) ($235,000), senior marketing manager ($133,000), senior business analyst ($67,000), vice president / general manager ($165,000), product management director ($145,000)

Experience/salaries: < 1 year – $50,000; 1-4 years – $84,000; 5-9 years – $104,000; 10-19 years – $114,000; > 20 years – $159,000

Salaries/men-women: Men – $66,000-$157,000; women – $51,000-$120,000

School/salaries: HBS – $178,000; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – $100,000

Employers/salaries: Visa – $145,000; Amazon – $130,000; Slalom Consulting – $121,000; Booz, Allen, and Hamilton – $101,000

Top cities: Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Seattle


Entrepreneurship was the third best MBA specialization for high salaries. The median early career and mid-career salaries were $70,000 and $130,000, respectively. The gender distribution was 75 percent male and 25 percent female.

Top jobs/salaries: Senior product manager ($98,000-$159,000), marketing director ($42,000-$235,000), product manager (software) ($65,000-$134,000), business development director ($127,000), business development manager ($82,000), chief financial officer ($117,000), director of operations ($92,000)

Experience/salaries: < 1 year – $52,000; 1-4 years – $64,000; 5-9 years – $89,000; 10-19 years – $117,000; > 20 years – $130,000

Salaries/men-women: Men – $55,000-$134,000; women – $41,000-$107,000

School/salaries: Benedictine University – $73,000

Employers/salaries: Aluminum Company of America – $160,000; Amazon – $129,000; Control4 – $117,000; MassMutual Financial Group – $102,000; PNC Financial Services Group – $79,000

Top cities: San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago

Corporate finance

Corporate finance majors earned a median early career pay of $78,000 and mid-career pay of $138,000. The gender distribution was 75 percent male and 25 percent female.

Top jobs/salaries: Financial analyst ($49,000-$103,000), finance manager ($71,000-$133,000), senior financial analyst ($69,000-$108,000), chief financial officer ($89,000-$222,000), financial controller ($93,000), vice president (finance) ($160,000), finance director ($142,000)

Experience/salaries: < 1 year – $55,000; 1-4 years – $71,000; 5-9 years – $87,000; 10-19 years – $117,000; > 20 years – $152,000

Salaries/men-women: Men – $59,000-$132,000; women – $54,000 – $124,000

School/salaries: NA

Employers/salaries: Leidos – $86,000; JP Morgan Chase – $85,000; Ropes & Gray – $72,000; Applied Systems – $63,000-$69,000; Long Island University – $49,000

Top cities: New York, Boston, Houston, Chicago, Dallas

Finance and economics

Business management graduates with a focus on Finance and Economics took home an early career median pay of $67,000 and a mid-career median pay of $137,000. The gender distribution was 79 percent male and 21 percent female.

Top jobs/salaries: Financial analyst ($51,000-$364,000), portfolio manager ($110,000), finance manager ($116,000), director of operations ($120,000), president ($190,000), senior business analyst ($93,000), project manager (IT) ($112,000)

Experience/salaries: 1-4 years – $60,000; 5-9 years – $90,000; 10-19 years – $101,000; > 20 years – $133,000

Salaries/men-women: Men – $53,000-$133,000; women – $63,000-$133,000

School/salaries: NA

Top employers/salaries: Citibank – $170,000; Morgan Stanley – $128,000; Atkore International – $95,000

Top US cities: Houston, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Chicago

Top MBA positions and salaries

Position Salary MBA major
Senior strategy manager $76,000-$209,000 Strategy
Chief operating officer $135,000 Strategy
Chief executive officer $90,000-$350,000 Gen. & Strategic Management
Senior VP (operations) $235,000 Gen. & Strategic Management
Senior product manager $98,000-$159,000 Entrepreneurship
Marketing director $42,000-$235,000 Entrepreneurship
Chief financial officer $89,000-$222,000 Corporate Finance
VP (finance) $160,000 Corporate Finance
Financial analyst $51,000-$364,000 Finance & Economics
President $190,000 Finance & Economics
Chief financial officer $82,000-$240,000 Finance
VP (finance) $99,000-$220,000 Finance
VP (marketing) $100,000-$186,000 Business & Marketing
Senior product manager $84,000-$151,000 Business & Marketing
Senior marketing manager $101,000-$150,000 Marketing & Management
Chief information officer $90,000-$212,000 Information Technology
VP (IT) $116,000-$207,000 Information Technology


Other top majors and jobs/salaries

Other MBA specializations for top jobs and salaries include Finance (median early and mid-career pay were $69,000 and $130,000), Business and Marketing ($62,000-$126,000), Marketing and Management ($64,000-$126,000), Information Technology ($72,000-$123,000), and Marketing ($62,000-$123,000).

In Finance, the top jobs and salaries were senior financial analyst ($64,000-$102,000), financial analyst ($47,000-$86,000), chief financial officer ($82,000-$240,000), finance manager ($66,000-$124,000), finance director ($75,000-$164,000), finance controller ($61,000-$143,000), and vice president (finance) ($99,000-$220,000). Employees with less than one year’s experience earned $53,000, with five to nine years $84,000, and with over 20 years $131,000. Among the top employers were Bank of America Corp. ($61,000-$118,000), the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation ($51,000-$154,000), and Citibank ($51,000-$152,000).

In Business and Marketing, the top jobs and salaries were marketing manager ($48,000-$114,000), marketing director ($66,000-$158,000), vice president (marketing) ($100,000-$186,000), product marketing manager ($60,000-$130,000), senior marketing manager ($73,000-$147,000), marketing specialist ($39,000-$70,000), and senior product manager ($84,000-$151,000). Employees with less than one year’s experience took home $49,000, with five to nine years $81,000, and with over 20 years $127,000. Among the top employers were 3M Company ($107,000-$138,000), Dell ($100,000-$125,000), and Amazon ($75,000-$129,000).

In Marketing and Management, the top jobs and salaries were marketing director ($51,000-$139,000), marketing manager ($39,000-$118,000), vice president (marketing) ($87,000-$227,000), product marketing manager ($42,000-$139,000), senior marketing manager ($101,000-$150,000), senior product manager ($105,000), and marketing coordinator ($50,000). Employees with less than a year’s experience received $46,000, with five to nine years $80,000, and with over 20 years $134,000. Among the top employers were Accenture ($158,000), Ernst & Young ($142,000), and Cognizant ($105,000).

In IT, the top jobs and salaries were IT director ($81,000-$163,000), IT manager ($73,000-$138,000), chief information officer ($90,000-$212,000), vice president (IT) ($116,000-$207,000), senior business analyst ($74,000-$151,000), IT consultant ($56,000-$106,000), and senior project manager (IT) ($81,000-$158,000). Employees with less than a year’s experience earned $45,000, with five to nine years $84,000, and with over 20 years $121,000. Among the top employers were Verizon Communications ($101,000), IBM ($92,000-$139,000), and Cognizant ($86,000-$139,000).

PayScale data for MBAs with marketing specialization and business and marketing specialization are the same except in the mid-career salaries (for the full list of MBA majors and salaries, see the PayScale College Salary Report link below).

India salaries

In India, the top MBA jobs include investment banker with fresher salaries between Rs. 9 lakh and Rs. 12 lakh per annum for graduates from the premier b-schools such as the IIMs. Professionals with five or six years’ experience may earn Rs. 20 lakh-Rs. 1 crore per annum, depending on the company and region, reports Top employers include JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, CitiBank, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC.

Management graduates can also obtain employment in corporate strategy, business development, sales and marketing, finance, and HR. The general hierarchy tends to be from analyst, consultant, senior consultant, and manager or project lead, to partner, vice president and director. Freshers can earn Rs. 7 lakh to Rs. 9 lakh per year and professionals with five or six years’ experience Rs. 15 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh. Top employers include Accenture, McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte, and Capgemini.

Other jobs include project manager (Rs. 4-5 lakh for a fresher and Rs. 19-20 lakh per year for an experienced professional); business development manager (Rs. 5.5 lakh-Rs. 16 lakh); marketing manager (Rs. 6 lakh-Rs. 19 lakh); SAP consultant/manager (Rs. 3 lakh-Rs. 12 lakh); business analyst (Rs. 5 lakh-Rs. 11 lakh); HR manager (Rs. 3 lakh-Rs. 16 lakh).

What are the individual top salaries, which are exceptions to the rule? A Class of 2016 graduate from the Harvard Business School landed a half-million base pay, and a Stanford GSB graduate secured an assurance of a year-end bonus of a like amount. Outside the US, the highest paid MBA at INSEAD accepted $204,000 for a position in management consulting, presumably in the African region, and another graduate from the same school took upon a vice president position in a private equity firm in Western Europe for $200,000.

Read these related articles:
Average MBA starting salary in USA, India | Compensation trends
Average MBA salaries after 10 – 20 years for USA and Canadian business school grads
Master’s degree specialisations that pay the highest salaries
MBA salaries: Skin colour may matter more than your degree
Average Salary after MS in USA, Canada and Australia

Resources: 1, 2, 3

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11 thoughts on “Highest-paying jobs for MBA graduates”

  1. Hello Sir,
    I am a third-year computer science engineering student from a not so reputed college. I am really confused between M.Tech and MBA from India. I don’t find programming and core subjects that much interesting but my brother says just go for M.Tech from any IIT and you will have a decent job with handsome salary. But my funda is that I should be liking the work that I am doing. I find CAT more interesting and think I can crack it but not sure about management because haven’t tried till. So what should I do? Please help me. I want to do something great in life. I have always been a hard working student throughout my engineering and before that. But now I think that only doing technical stuff won’t land me into a much respectable position that I want to see myself in. I am also frustrated nowadays doing only programming and not growing as an individual. I have great convincing skills and a lot of energy too. I am totally confused. Please help me?
    Here is my academic background:
    10th: 91%
    12th: 88%
    B.Tech: 71%

  2. I am into software industry for past 15+ years.
    Name : Dipan Basu
    Age : 42
    Current position : technical leader
    Current salary : 13 lpa
    Current location : Kolkata
    My education : BA [Jadavpur University]
    Now I want to get into some Executive MBA program. I have already started preparing for GMAT. Please guide me.

  3. Hello
    I am a marine engineer officer having overall contractual experience of 2 & half year after completing my B.E.(Marine) in 2010 i.e. in last 7 years .
    I want to shift to shore job/management job by giving GMAT. If anyone their who is well aware about MBA (1-year)after marine engineering can guide me .I will be really grateful to you .I would like to know in which branch of MBA my marine knowledge will be most useful & earn me maximum salary.Also which colleges provide the best placements in that particular branch.
    Thanks in advance

  4. Hi sameer ,
    I am a computer science graduate from IITM and i am currently working in a reputed IT company that pays me around 11 -13 LPA . But i don’t want to stop my education with just a B.Tech degree.So which is a better choice for me MS or MBA??? And is there any chance that after i complete my MBA i will be offered a less package than the one which i am currently getting because i heard from one of senior that IT guys usually get less salary after completing their MBA from reputed colleges like the IIMs than their original packages before joining the MBA…..

  5. @Pulkit: In a 40+ year career span, one has to start low and slow. The acceleration will happen only after you’ve proved yourself with technical tasks and are ready for managerial positions. An MBA taken at the wrong time won’t help you achieve that acceleration. I’d suggest taking up a job after graduating and proving yourself in it first before thinking of taking it to the next level (with an MBA or otherwise).

    @Dipan: We’ve collated this list of the best Executive MBA Programs. See if it helps:

    @abhinav: You can target any reputed MBA program. Though most won’t have specialisation in the marine space, you can always target the broader tranportation / operations sector where your pre-MBA skills can be leveraged. Here are a few stories of navy personell heading to bschools:

    @Mayank: Some perspectives on that topic here:

    • Respected sir
      I am a student of bcom 4th semester (General). What i should do after bcom like or MBA.which is the better line for me and how? Also i think about CAT but still am confused. Thank you

  6. Hello Sir,
    I am doing my MBA in the stream of HR. I want to know how do i get higher pay straight way from my education. I mean where to apply and which company offers are best for a fresher. and one more question is how do i need to select a job role that helps my future goals. Can u please guide me..

  7. Hello sir,
    I have completed my graduation in ba english and I am planing to take mba as my PG course. Will it help me in future carrer ?Will it be a problem during placements?

  8. Hello

    I am very much confused about these profile .Please suggest the best way to get into perfect one.for your information i have an experience of 4 years in banking only.

    sahil khurana

  9. hello i am in my first year of university but i want to plan for my future earlier.i am studying business administration and i was thinking after i graduate i should continue with masters degree in any of the business fields or business administration so that i can get a job straight away after i graduate and get a higher question is what kind of masters degree should i take after my first degree?


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