mba salary
Class of 2019 MBA graduates from the Columbia Business School are earning a median base salary of US$150,000, according to new jobs report. Source: Shutterstock

Columbia Business School’s MBA Class of 2019 has reported a total median salary of US$177,970, the highest reported by any business school this year.

Beating Harvard by US$5,000 and its Class of 2018 by 15.4 percent, CBS graduates are earning a median base salary of US$150,000, its highest ever, according to data from CBS’s 2019 Employment Report.

“From technology to finance, real estate to social enterprise, our students are making an impact across sectors and industries. Through on-campus recruiting, skillful networking, and job postings, Columbia MBA graduates found full-time positions in a wide variety of businesses and functions across the globe,” reads the report.

CBS’s record-breaking total median compensation is calculated based on median base salaries of US$150,000, signing bonuses of US$30,000, and other guaranteed compensation of US$50,000, according to Poets & Quants. Only 67.9 percnt reported receiving sign-on bonuses and 15.2 percent reported receiving other guaranteed compensation – the total pay number was adjusted to reflect this.

Of those reporting compensation, 100 percent of CBS’s Class of 2019 reported a base salary ranging from US$45,000 to US$375,000. Signing bonuses reported by this group of graduates are between US$3,000 to US$92,000, while other guaranteed compensation were within a median range of US$2,000 to US$350,000.

The highest reported starting salary this year goes to an MBA graduate in private equity who landed a US$375,000 package. A graduate in consumer products was paid the second-highest starting salary of US$263,000 followed by a tech MBA who pulled in US$260,000 in Internet services/e-commerce.

Such pay increases underscore the huge gap between what MBA graduates rake in compared to ordinary workers. With a 15.4 percent increase from the Class of 2018’s median base salary, CBS MBA graduates are receiving wage raises close to five times more than the average American private-sector worker. Over the year, average hourly earnings only increased by 3.1 percent for the latter.

Finance is king again

The majority of CBS graduates are in the finance industry, accounting for 34.3 percent of graduates. Consulting, the top destination for last year, is now the second most popular, with 32.6 percent of graduates.

These two industries beat out Manufacturing, Media/Technology and Others – such as Education, Healthcare, Real Estate – all of which do not have more than 14 percent of CBS graduates working in.

According to P&Q, consulting firms made up the top five employers of CBS grads. McKinsey and Company hired 45 MBA graduates from CBS, Bain & Company, with 29; and Boston Consulting Group, with 28. The top five is rounded up by Deloitte (21 hires) and PwC Strategy (17 hires)

The top three functions of CBS 2019 graduates are Management Consulting (32.9 percent), followed by Investment Banking/Mergers and Acquisition (13.8 percent) and Private Equity/Leveraged Buy-Out (6.6 percent).

The Class of 2019 is approximately split between US and non-US citizens, of which the latter is dominated by Asians. Of those working outside the US, 31.7 percent are employed in Europe, 30.2 percent in Asia and 20.6 percent in South America.

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