Early reports indicate a banner year for MBA grads—NYU Stern salaries are up nearly 10%

BY Sydney LakeOctober 19, 2022, 2:26 PM
A New York University (NYU) graduate wearing a cap and gown takes photos near a large NYU sign in Washington Square Park, as seen in May 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Reports suggest that MBA applications are declining, but salaries for graduates appear to be surging. Employment outcome reports from top-ranked business schools show that 2022 MBA graduates landed starting salaries that were a between 10% to 21% from the prior year.

New York University (Stern) announced Tuesday that median base salaries for its 2022 MBA graduates jumped $15,000 to a whopping $170,000—the highest-ever amount reported at the business school. That’s slightly less than the $175,000 record-breaking median base salaries announced by the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business in September. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt University MBA salaries also hit an all-time high at $135,000 for a median base salary and $30,000 in signing bonuses. Fortune ranks these full-time MBA programs as follows: Stern is No. 7, UVA is No. 14, and Vanderbilt is No. 21.

At NYU Stern, median signing bonuses came in at $35,000, meaning NYU Stern grads, on average, left the program making more than $200,000. Average total compensation was $196,143, up nearly 8% from 2021. 

The salary outcomes follow a summertime trend when top-tier consulting firms revealed salary increases for the upcoming year. In 2022, starting base salaries for new MBA grads at McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Co. was $175,000. Going into 2023, however, Bain and McKinsey will offer $192,000 base salaries and BCG will offer $190,000.

Why MBA salaries are on the rise 

At NYU Stern, record-breaking employment outcomes can be attributed to the school’s location in New York City, says Brian Ruggiero, associate dean of career services. Nearly one-third of the school’s graduates seeking employment went into consulting, while 34% went into financial services. Both consulting and financial services graduates earned $175,000 median base salaries.

“With Wall Street in our backyard, Stern has a decades-long foundation in financial services. Our world-renowned faculty prepare top students to be leaders in the industry, who then graduate to become alumni who remain highly engaged with the school and active in hiring our MBAs,” Ruggiero tells Fortune. “In more recent years, Stern has meticulously built a similar reputation in consulting, with graduates bringing high [emotional intelligence] to these firms.”

Tech companies have also been a popular career path for NYU Stern grads, with 17% of the class of 2022 landing a job in the industry after graduation. Amazon was also the top employer; with 12 members of the MBA class of 2022 securing jobs with the tech giant. 

“And now, as NYC is firmly established as a global tech hub, Stern has built a third pillar of strength in tech, as evidenced by Amazon being the top employer for the class of 2022,” Ruggiero adds. “We’re proud that demand for Stern’s MBA talent is high and that our students are driving strong compensation trends, which we are seeing across these three industries.”

MBA talent competition

Beyond school-specific advantages, MBA salaries have also been going up due to sheer competition for top talent in a tight labor market. 

“There was a lot of deal flow on the finance side, so the banks were scrambling for people, and the consulting firms were, as well,” Emily Anderson, senior director of Vanderbilt’s University’s Owen Graduate School of Management’s Career Management Center, previously told Fortune. “They were competing for talent—and our students benefited from a really competitive employment environment.” At Vanderbilt, average base salaries were up 12% year-over-year.

As indicated, the top three consulting firms are also continuing to increase salaries for recent MBA grads. This is largely due to the fight for top talent and major corporations.

“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. 

Keith Bevans, a partner in Bain’s Chicago office, also confirms that the salary increases have been a product of market competition, saying that MBA grads now have more career opportunities than ever.

“We consider our value proposition as an important part of what it means to be—and stay—the best place to work,” Bevans says. “Comp is one part of the value proposition.”

See how the schools you’re considering fared in Fortune’s rankings of the best master’s degree programs in data science (in-person and online), nursing, computer science, cybersecurity, psychology, public health, and business analytics, as well as doctorate in education programs and MBA programs (part-time, executive, full-time, and online).