Breaking Down the Average Salary of an MBA Graduate in the USA: 2023

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Introduction

How Much Can You Really Expect To Make?

If you’re considering getting an MBA, one of the questions you’re likely asking yourself is: “How much can I expect to make once I graduate?” And let’s be real, it’s an important question to ask.

Pursuing an MBA can be a significant investment of time and money, and you want to know if it’s going to pay off in the long run.

The good news is that on average, MBA graduates in the USA do make a healthy salary. However, the answer to the question of how much you can expect to make isn’t necessarily straightforward.

In this article, we’ll explore the average salary of an MBA graduate in the USA, what factors can impact it, and some FAQs to help you better understand what you can expect.

average salary of an mba graduate in usa i - image source US News.com
average salary of an mba graduate in usa i – image source US News

Salary Breaking It Down

The Average Salary of an MBA Graduate in the USA:

So, let’s get right to it: what is the average salary of an MBA graduate in the USA? Well, it depends on who you ask and what data you’re looking at. Here are some of the most recent numbers:

  • According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the median starting salary for MBA graduates in the USA was $115,000 in 2020. This is up from $105,000 in 2019.
  • PayScale, a company that provides salary data and compensation software, puts the average salary for MBA graduates in the USA at $93,000 per year.
  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t provide specific data on MBA graduates, but they do report that the median annual wage for management occupations (which often require an MBA) was $109,760 in May 2020.

So, as you can see, there is some variation in the numbers. However, it’s clear that on average, MBA graduates in the USA can expect to make a healthy salary. But why is there such a difference in the reported numbers? Let’s take a closer look.

Impacting Factors

That Impact an MBA Graduate’s Salary

Industry and Job Function

One of the biggest factors that can impact an MBA graduate’s salary is the industry they work in and the job function they have.

For example, according to GMAC’s data, the industries that offer the highest median salaries for MBA graduates are consulting ($135,000), finance and accounting ($125,000), and technology ($120,000).

On the other hand, the industries with the lowest median salaries are government/non-profit ($75,000) and healthcare ($92,000).

Similarly, the job function an MBA graduate has can also impact their salary.

For example, GMAC’s data shows that MBA graduates in consulting and finance can expect to make the highest salaries, while those in general management and marketing can expect to make less.

mba salaries according to Industries - image source usnews.com
mba salaries according to Industries – image source usnews.com

Location

Another factor that can impact an MBA graduate’s salary is their location. Generally speaking, salaries tend to be higher in cities with a higher cost of living, such as New York City, San Francisco, and Boston.

However, it’s important to note that even within these cities, there can be significant variation in salaries based on industry, job function, and company.

Experience and Education

As with any job, an MBA graduate’s salary can also be impacted by their level of experience and education.

According to GMAC’s data, MBA graduates with more work experience generally make more money than those with less. Additionally, MBA graduates with specialized skills or certifications

such as a CPA or CFA) may also command higher salaries. Similarly, having an MBA from a top-tier program can also increase an individual’s earning potential.

Negotiation Skills

Finally, an MBA graduate’s salary can also be impacted by their negotiation skills. It’s important for MBA graduates to know their worth and be able to negotiate for the salary and benefits they deserve.

This can be a daunting task, but there are resources available to help, such as career services offices, mentors, and networking groups.

mba salaries according to Industries - image source poetsandquants.com
mba salaries according to Industries – image source poetsandquants.com

FAQs

Answering Your Burning Questions About MBA Salaries

Is an MBA worth it financially?

While the answer to this question will vary from person to person, on average, MBA graduates do make a healthy salary.

In addition, an MBA can open up new job opportunities and provide individuals with valuable skills and knowledge.

However, pursuing an MBA can also be a significant financial investment, so it’s important to carefully consider your goals and the potential return on investment before making a decision.

How much can I expect to make as an MBA graduate in the USA?

As we’ve discussed, the average salary for MBA graduates in the USA varies depending on the source, but it generally falls in the range of $90,000-$120,000 per year.

However, it’s important to remember that individual salaries can vary significantly based on factors such as industry, job function, location, and experience.

What are some tips for negotiating my salary as an MBA graduate?

If you’re negotiating your salary as an MBA graduate, here are some tips to keep in mind

Do your research: Before entering into negotiations, research salaries for similar roles in your industry and location.

Know your worth: Be able to articulate your skills, experience, and the value you bring to the organization.

Practice: Role-play negotiations with a friend or mentor to get comfortable with the process.

Be willing to compromise: Negotiations are a give-and-take, so be prepared to make concessions in order to reach an agreement.

Conclusion

So, what is the average salary of an MBA graduate in the USA? While the answer isn’t always clear-cut, on average, MBA graduates can expect to make a healthy salary.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that individual salaries can vary significantly based on factors such as industry, job function, location, experience, and negotiation skills.

If you’re considering pursuing an MBA, it’s important to carefully weigh the potential return on investment and consider factors beyond just salary.

With the right preparation and mindset, an MBA can be a valuable investment in your future.

In addition to the potential financial benefits, pursuing an MBA can also be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience.

MBA programs often provide opportunities for personal and professional growth, networking, and developing new skills. For many MBA graduates, the program serves as a launching pad for a successful career and a fulfilling life.

However, it’s important to note that pursuing an MBA can also be a challenging and demanding experience. Balancing coursework, internships, and job searches can be overwhelming at times.

It’s important for MBA students to have a strong support system and be willing to prioritize their goals in order to succeed.

Overall, the average salary of an MBA graduate in the USA is certainly an important consideration for those considering pursuing an MBA. However, it’s just one factor to consider when making this decision.

It’s important to carefully weigh the potential financial benefits, as well as the personal and professional growth opportunities, against the costs and demands of the program.

With the right mindset, preparation, and support system, pursuing an MBA can be an incredibly rewarding investment in your future.