MBA Programs that Generate the Highest Pay

Top-ranked MBA program graduates earn significantly more than their lower-ranked peers. When it comes to long-term earnings, it appears you get what you pay for with an MBA.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, there are five business schools that stand out above the rest in terms of pay.

1) Harvard MBA graduate can expect to make $3.8 million over 20 years.

2) Wharton Business school graduates can expect to make $3.5 million over 20 years.

3) Columbia University MBA graduates can expect to make $3.3 million over 20 years.

4) Stanford University MBA graduates can expect to make $3.3 million over 20 years.

5) Dartmouth College’s Tuck Business School graduates can expect to make $3.1 million over 20 years.

Several factors impact a business school graduate’s probable future income. Geography, reputation, and emphasis all play a role.


MBA schools in the north-east tend to have higher earning graduates than those in other parts of the country, which could reflect the cost of living in that area. Also, most business is conducted in the north east, which provides the most jobs and potential for promotion. MBA graduates in the Midwest must fight the natural tendency of businesses to shop for MBA graduates in their own back yard. Why fly to Milwaukee when you can drive up to Pennsylvania? And businesses in the Midwest do not tend to make the money that the north east does, which impacts a graduate’s potential earnings.


Businesses pay for name brand recognition. Business schools build reputations over time on the backs of their graduates’ hard work and success in industry. The best schools are considered the best because their graduates tend to perform the best. Businesses looking for the best graduates shop at the best schools and save their top dollars for those students. A Harvard MBA commands far more salary negotiating power than a Washington State MBA.


Various MBA programs have certain specialties, and these specialties have varying salary expectations. Careers in finance and consulting tend to make the most money, while MBAs focusing on marketing, sales, or entrepreneurship will not make as much. If you want to make money, study money, and pick a school that is known for producing outstanding financial MBAs.

The old adage that you have to spend money to make money holds true with MBA programs. Those looking to generate the highest pay after graduation an MBA program must be prepared to pay the high tuition and pass the rigorous screening process of the top business schools.