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Nearly half of MIT’s 2021 MBA class hauled in $200k starting pay packages

BY Sydney LakeDecember 08, 2021, 11:21 PM

Pedestrians sit in front of the MIT Sloan School of Management building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as seen in March 2020. (Photographer: Scott Eisen—Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The MIT Sloan School of Management is not only one of the most competitive MBA programs, but it also produces some of the most successful business school graduates in the country. Fortune ranks MIT as having the No. 8 full-time MBA program in the U.S. 

Our full-time MBA ranking methodology heavily considers outcomes for graduates; and MIT Sloan’s 2021 employment report showed that nearly 96% of the class found a job three months post-graduation with a median base salary of $150,000. Even more impressive, however, was that nearly half of MIT Sloan’s 2021 MBA class earned more than $200,000 right after graduation.

“This year’s outcomes highlight the value of the MIT Sloan MBA, especially in times that call for agile business leaders who solve complex problems with ingenuity,” Susan Brennan, assistant dean of MIT Sloan Career Development Office, wrote in the 2021 employment report.

The top industries that hired MIT Sloan grads in 2021 were consulting (28%), technology (25%), and finance (21%). Graduates who went into consulting, on average, earned a base salary of $165,000 with a $30,000 bonus, and those who went into finance earned a $150,000 base with a $40,000 bonus. 

MIT Sloan grads also earned other guaranteed compensation, including stock options and equity; relocation and moving expenses; and tuition and education reimbursement. The median award for other guaranteed compensation was $34,000—meaning that consulting and finance MBAs on average earned well above $200,000 immediately after graduation. Consulting and finance grads comprised half of the 2021 MIT Sloan MBA class.

Consulting salaries

Of the 291 MIT Sloan grads who were seeking employment in 2021, 30 were hired by McKinsey & Co. and 29 were hired by Boston Consulting Group. These two major consulting firms heavily recruit from top MBA programs in the U.S., and are known to shell out for recent business school grads.

“We find that MBA programs prepare strong problem-solvers who are intellectually curious, innovative, strong team players, and excellent relationship builders,” Adriana Crespo, manager of recruiting operations at McKinsey, previously told Fortune. “These skills, along with a foundation in business, help MBA graduates to excel as consultants.”

MIT Sloan’s stats reflect the average of what these two firms typically pay recent MBA grads. BCG and McKinsey pay an average base salary of $165,000 to newly minted MBAs as well as bonuses that can amount to more than $60,000, according to Management Consulted, which offers prep and training for professionals entering the industry.

Finance salaries

According to MIT Sloan’s 2021 employment report, graduates who went into finance, on average, earned $224,000 total—including base salary, bonus, and other guaranteed compensation. 

For investment banking specifically, which comprised 6.5% of the class, graduates earned even more. The average base salary was $150,000 with a $52,000 bonus. These figures are in line with 2021 investment banking salaries out of MBA programs, Tom Ragland, CEO of investment banking recruitment company The Harrison-Rush Group, tells Fortune.

“Historically, banking has been all about the money,” he says. “For the past few years, banks have had to compete with large tech companies and startups for talent. Before the internet, banking was the thing to do with an MBA, but now banks are competing against Facebook, Apple, [and] Google for top talent.”

That said, top banks like Goldman Sachs, Capital One, JP Morgan Chase & Co., and Bank of America still heavily target prospects from the best MBA programs. “Top banks prefer candidates from top business schools,” Ragland says. 

There is some change in industry recruiting, however, Ragland adds. Some banks prefer to hire candidates straight from undergrad and promote them after a couple of years. “They have much better experience than MBAs since they have spent a few years doing banking,” he says. “It is also much cheaper for the banks than to hire MBAs.”

Either way, investment banks are attracted to MBAs’ predisposition to working very, very hard, Jeremy Shinewald, founder and president of MbaMission, an MBA admissions and career consulting firm, previously told Fortune.

“They want people who are not just willing to sacrifice their time and their personal lives, but also have such strong analytical capabilities that every single number in a high-density, high-profile deal will be perfect,” he said. 

See how the schools you’re considering landed in Fortune’s rankings of the best part-time, executive, full-time, and online MBA programs.