What Type of Salary Can I Expect with an MBA?

You’ve probably heard that earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can help you earn more money in the long run, transition careers, or help you advance in your current field. But is it possible to quantify the dollar value of this financial and time investment? Let’s look at some of the best MBA jobs, and how much an MBA graduate can expect to earn taking into account a variety of additional factors.

Average salary levels for MBA graduates will differ based on the industries in which graduates choose to work and the positions they assume. Location also plays a role in determining how much money an MBA graduate will make coming out of school.

The average salary for MBA degree graduates with prior years of experience in the workforce coming into mid-level positions is approximately $105,000 across all industries. Those MBA degree graduates who enter the Technology industry, however, can expect a average salary of $115,000. Those who enter the Energy/Utilities or Consulting industries can expect a average annual salary of $125,000.

Fortunately, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) provides an interactive calculator for estimating MBA graduate salary levels based on data from over 6,000 MBA alumni. Click on the link below to get started:

MBA Salary Averages

According to salary bench-marking website Payscale, MBA graduates earn an average salary of $85,000. While this provides a good general idea of what you can expect to earn, we can get more specific. If you’re considering an MBA career, you’ll want to consider how the following factors may increase or decrease your salary.

State and City

Compensation varies across states, even across cities within the same state. If you’re thinking about relocating after graduation, consider how the average salary compares to the cost of living in that area.


Some specializations regularly earn more than others. If earning a high salary is important to you, consider the average salary earned by each specialization before making your decision. You’ll find a detailed breakdown later in this article. 

Work Experience

Some MBA students start their program right after their bachelor’s degree, while others have been in the workplace for years. Unsurprisingly, entry-level MBA jobs pay less than jobs requiring several years of experience. According to Payscale, as of April 2019 these are the average salaries for MBA graduates based on experience level:

  • Less than 1 year – $53,151
  • 1 to 4 years – $60,959
  • 5 to 9 years – $79,171
  • 10 to 19 years – $100,544
  • 20 years or more – $120,053

Career Demand

It’s important to note that, while a particular specialty may pay well, this doesn’t mean plenty of opportunities will be available in that specialty area for MBA graduates. if you’re looking to switch careers ASAP, it’s always wise to fix your sights on MBA degree jobs that experience stable and significant demand.

MBA Salary by Specialization Area

Let’s look at how your specialty can influence your salary. The following average salary data was obtained through the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Accounting – $72,295
  • Management Analyst (Consulting) – $82,450
  • Data Analytics – $63,230
  • Finance – $125,080
  • Health Care Management – $98,350
  • Human Resources – $110,120
  • Information Technology – $139,220
  • Marketing – $147,240
  • Nonprofit Management (Fundraising) – $131,570
  • Operations – $123,460

MBA Salary by State

To provide a sense of MBA salary fluctuation by state, we’ve used the salary of a general/operations manager. This is one of the more common MBA jobs, making it a useful benchmark for comparative difference across states. These salary averages were acquired from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    • Phoenix Metro Area – $102,240
  • Arkansas $87,650
  • California – $137,640
    • Los Angeles Metro Area – $138,800
    • San Francisco Metro Area – $167,530
    • San Jose Metro Area – $159,970
    • Bridgeport Metro Area – $184,800
    • Wilmington Metro Area – $152,110
    • Atlanta Metro Area – $122,430
    • Chicago Metro Area – $134,740
    • Boston Metro Area – $149,090
    • Minneapolis Metro Area – $120,800
    • Trenton – $176,420
    • Newark Metro Area – $171,640
    • Vineland-Bridgeton – $164,930
    • New York Metro Area – $171,360
    • Houston Metro Area – $150,530
    • Utah, Dallas Metro Area – $145,650
    • Midland – $163,810

MBA Specializations in Demand

Although an MBA can earn you a higher salary, choosing a specialty that’s in high demand can lead to you getting a job sooner rather than later. Here are some of the top jobs for MBA graduates.

MBA Product Management – With the increase in technology across all areas of life, more businesses are developing new technologies and bringing them to the market. Product managers help coordinate different departments in order to introduce new products and services on time.
MBA Consulting Jobs – Management consultants help companies adopt new processes or solve new problems. While having a bachelor’s degree can get a graduate into an entry-level analyst job, an MBA is usually required to become a consultant.
MBA Finance Jobs – Although this might be considered one of the classic MBA jobs, it isn’t going away anytime soon, and MBA graduates with previous work experience can work toward positions like chief financial officer or director of finance.

The Takeaway

Factors like your state, specialization, and your work experience will affect how much you can expect to earn after getting your MBA. Even so, if you’re wondering whether an MBA is worth the investment, chances are you’ll find many MBA career opportunities will provide you with a higher salary and greater job satisfaction.

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