Harvard Business School is one of the most competitive MBA programs with a 13% acceptance rate—and it also produces some of the most successful business school graduates. In 2022, HBS grads landed median starting base salaries of $175,000, an increase of more than 16% from 2021.
BY Sydney LakeDecember 09, 2022, 2:05 PM
Harvard University T-shirts books and souvenirs store, as seen in Cambridge, Massachusetts in August 2021. (Photo by: Sergi Reboredo—VW Pics/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)
“We saw increases in almost every sector, thus the overall median for the class also went up,” Kristin Fitzpatrick, managing director of MBA Career & Professional Development at HBS, tells Fortune. HBS grads also landed median signing bonuses of $30,000 and median performance bonuses of $40,000, bringing their total pay packages to $245,000.
Fortune ranks Harvard Business School as having the No. 1 full-time MBA program in the U.S. Last year, median total compensation packages for HBS grads was $190,000; median base salaries were $150,500.
HBS is among several top business schools that saw big jumps in reported base salaries this year, including the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business (13%), Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management (10%), and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (13%). These business schools saw grads earn $165,000 to $175,000 base salaries; not all programs report median bonus statistics.
Business school grads are earning bigger paychecks thanks to increases in base salaries in those industries that are popular for MBA students, like consulting, finance, and tech. Among the HBS graduating class of 2022, 26% of students landed a job in consulting, 33% went into finance, and 19% took a tech job.
Finance proves to be a boon for HBS grads
Finance is a major industry pursued by HBS grads. Some of the highest earners are those who go into private equity; in 2022, they earned $175,000 median base salaries, $30,000 in signing bonuses and a whopping $175,000 in performance bonuses. That means HBS grads can make nearly $400,000 in their first year out of school.
About 8% of HBS grads also pursue jobs in investment banking and hedge funds, which also fetch nearly $400,000 pay packages. Venture capital and investment banking are other lucrative paths for HBS grads, but a smaller portion of students pursue such roles.
Tech salaries for MBA grads from Harvard Business School have also been rising. Between 2018 and 2022, tech salaries for new HBS grads have grown nearly 27% to $165,000.
More than 100 of the 770 students in the 2022 HBS graduating class started a business, and 14% of students joined a startup, earning a median base salary of $160,000. Entrepreneurship proves to be a popular path for HBS students, with support from the Arthur Rock Center, the student entrepreneurship club, and close proximity to the Harvard Innovation Lab, an HBS spokesperson explains.
One-quarter of HBS grads go into consulting
Since 2018, HBS has shown similar industry trends to this year’s data; consulting, finance, and technology are consistently popular careers for MBA grads.
This year, HBS grads who went into consulting earned $175,000 median base salaries, plus an extra $60,000 in signing and performance bonuses combined. This follows salary trends at other top business schools this year, which is heavily a result of top consulting firms upping their premiums.
“The fiercest competition in the labor market is for ‘top talent,’ and consulting firms are competing for this top talent not just between themselves, but also more broadly versus Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and traditional corporate America,” Namaan Mian, chief operating officer of Management Consulted, previously told Fortune.
The MBB firms—McKinsey & Co., Bain & Co., and Boston Consulting Group—announced salary hikes for next year. In 2022, starting base salaries for new MBA grads at the three firms was $175,000; in 2023, Bain and McKinsey will offer $192,000 base salaries and BCG will offer $190,000.
“We consider our value proposition as an important part of what it means to be—and stay—the best place to work,” adds Keith Bevans, a partner in Bain’s Chicago office. “Comp is one part of the value proposition.”
Check out all of Fortune’s rankings of degree programs, and learn more about specific career paths.