The Master of Business Administration requires a huge investment of time and money. The curriculum covers corporate finance, management and leadership, organizational behavior, economics and research. MBA graduates seek this degree hoping to achieve a salary comparable to the hours and money they've spent. Well, your wage depends on much more than just how much you value your time. Factors including location, experience, employer and your school's reputation play into your salary. Do some research ahead of time so you won't be surprised later.
Your salary level depends in part on your alma mater. Stanford University currently holds the top spot for MBA pay. A graduate from this school earns, on average, $117,681 annually. Harvard comes in second at $114,400. While these are significant numbers, many MBA graduates aren't fortunate enough to graduate from an ivy league university. That's okay. An MBA graduate, regardless of school, will see an increase in pay of approximately 73 percent. Note that these rankings change yearly. Top business magazines continuously evaluate schools, but most often, Harvard, Stanford, MIT and their counterparts stay at the top.
Your business experience plays a vital role in your MBA salary. Each employer is different. Most people realize that corporate giants tend to pay better than small businesses. However, few people realize that some corporations will pay the entire cost of an employee's MBA under the corporate sponsorship program. It's a trade-off -- their funding for your commitment. Before approaching your employer, you must create an iron-clad business proposal. State how much funding you need. Then explain how their investment in you will better their bottom line by increasing your education coupled with your experience. Then set a specific amount of time you'll stay with the company. Your company will either accept, decline or counter your offer. You have nothing to lose.
Areas more densely populated tend to pay higher salaries because of the increased demand for business. For example, the salary for an MBA graduate in New York can top $130,000 annually. In Dallas, you can make in excess of $110,000. However, in rural areas such as Northwestern Oklahoma, you might top $50,000. Your salary also depends on the position you hold in a particular geographical area. MBA jobs in finance, for instance, tend to pay a little more than MBA positions in management.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists management as one of the fastest growing fields. This is due in part to a strengthening economy nationally and internationally. Jobs in the business and finance industry should also grow, thanks to changing financial regulations, more complex budgets and new investment strategies. The BLS points out that many new jobs require less than a master's degree, which makes the MBA graduate more marketable. Interestingly, the BLS states that MBA jobs including financial analysts and managers should receive a premium on their salary of over 40 percent when compared to peers without a master's degree.