MBAs Still Pay Off - If You're At a Top School

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Thinking about going back for an MBA after getting canned? You've got company.

It's hard to consider a large outlay of cash when you've lost your job, but for the cream of the crop at top business schools, job placement remains easy. The return on investment for the rest of the MBA grads out there remains to be seen.

In 2010, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business sent the job market 550 new MBAs, with average work experience of five years. The price tag: a mere $82,000 for the first year and $79,000 for the second.

Of those surveyed by the school, the bulk of grads found spots in consulting (25.4 percent), investment banking and brokerage services (20 percent), diversified financial services (9.1 percent), investment management and research (8 percent), and technology (8 percent).

The average compensation for those in consulting was $120,000 with a sign-on bonus of $20,000. So, after two years, the MBA investment will have paid off--on the face of it. Of course, owing at least $161,000 in loans will push the return-on-tuition period out further.

In financial services, the majority of grads went to work in investment banking, investment management/research, and corporate finance (analysis/treasury). Not surprisingly, fewer got spots in commercial banking, private client services, private equity, public finance, real estate, M&A (within a company), sales and trading, and venture capital.

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