Top 10 MBA Jobs: Salary and Satisfaction

The age-old question for MBA students and prospective students: what’s the return on my investment? How much will I get paid after school? There’s certainly no shortage of requests on message boards like Poets & Quants, Payscale, and Monster about this very topic. These inquiries are answered with average salary reports — say, by school, or by industry.

While these rankings are useful, we at TransparentMBA believe you deserve deeper data, richer insights, and most of all, full transparency. That’s why we’ve provided the first MBA-specific resource that provides compensation and satisfaction data for the jobs business students care about most. It’s not just generalized data by school or industry — instead, we provide industry, function, and even company-level data for the most granular view possible.

So, without further ado…our first top 10 MBA job ranking:

Source: TransparentMBA, anonymized user-reported job and offer data from current MBA students

1. General Management:

With a killer combination of extremely high satisfaction (9/10), 40-hour work weeks, and significant bonus potential, careers in general management rated highest this year. Popular companies included Eli Lilly, Kraft-Heinz, and Citigroup.

2. Operations:

Operations ranked 8 of 10 on the satisfaction scale, with only 43 hours/week logged on average. Competitive total compensation potential over $170K put careers in operations towards the top of the list. Top companies include Nike (with a whopping 10/10 on overall satisfaction), Target, Google, and Microsoft.

3. Business Development:

BizDev can be a catch-all category for MBA students with “atypical” jobs, like startup companies for example, so we see a wide range in responses. Overall though, respondents were satisfied with the good work/life balance (<45 hour weeks), ability to make an impact, and extremely high bonus potential.

4. Investment Management:

Holy hedge funds. If you’re getting an MBA to seek the biggest possible payday, investment management may be right for you. Despite a relatively low satisfaction in the 3rd percentile, the total compensation package of up to $345,000 (no, not a typo) is enough to boost it into the top five. Jobs are scattered across many firms, with Fidelity leading the way by number of hires.

5. Private Equity:

Another darling of the modern MBA student, Private Equity’s high satisfaction, pay, and impact scores suffer from long hours. It’s likely most MBAs are playing the long game with roles in this field, since investment horizons tend to be (much) longer than a year.

6. Corporate Strategy:

Corporate strategy roles range from the biggest of the big (Wal-Mart) to maturing companies like Airbnb. MBA jobs here average 53 hours/week with middling pay, but high bonus potential and fairly strong impact ratings provide a boost.

7. Product Management:

Product management, a fast-growing MBA role, provided better-than-average compensation, decent working hours, and middling satisfaction ratings.

8. Marketing/Brand Management:

While brand management filled out the very bottom of the compensation range, it made up for these poor marks with excellent ratings for satisfaction and hours worked.

9. Venture Capital:

There are few MBA jobs more coveted in our unicorn-filled world than VC roles, but decent hours and high pay (over $130K in salary) fail to make up for the low satisfaction ratings.

10. Consulting:

The consulting business, oft-considered the darling of the MBA candidate, posts poor scores in hours/week (over 60) and overall satisfaction (17th percentile). Since the pay is more than competitive at over $140K plus bonus, we attribute the poor marks to high travel and stress.

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(did not score in top 10: Corporate Finance, Investment Banking)

Methodology:

Took raw values from 4 key metrics: Satisfaction (1–10), Hours worked (volumetric), Salary (volumetric), and Bonus/Other Compensation (volumetric). Arranged each value by percentile rank, then took an average with Satisfaction and Hours Worked each weighted 1/3rd, with the remaining third split between the two compensation categories.

Questions? Reach out to kevin@transparentmba.com