The USA has the rare combination of being the largest economy globally and housing some of the globally acclaimed business schools. You can give your career a major boost by pursuing a full-time MBA course from any of the top B-schools in MBA.

However, considering the high cost of pursuing an MBA from the USA, you should research and find the best colleges and the average salary you should expect so that you can have a rough estimate of the return on investment on your MBA degree.


Top 10 MBA Schools in the USA

A B-school can’t be ranked on one or two parameters. Such institutions need to be evaluated across a broad spectrum of parameters like teaching quality, curriculum, extracurricular activities, international exposure, cost, campus lifestyle and most importantly, placements and other career assistance. 

The following is the latest list of top B-schools of 2021

RankName of the Business SchoolUniversity
1Graduate School of BusinessStanford University
2Wharton School of BusinessUniversity of Pennsylvania
3Booth School of BusinessUniversity of Chicago
4Kellogg School of ManagementNorthwestern University
5Harvard Business SchoolHarvard University
Sloan School of ManagementMassachusetts Institute of Technology
7Columbia Business SchoolColumbia University
Hass School of BusinessUniversity of California – Berkeley
9School of ManagementYale University
10Tuck School of BusinessDartmouth College
Leonard N. Stern School of BusinessNew York University

Source: US News rankings

[Read: How to Get Full-Ride Scholarships to a Top B-school]


Demand for MBA Graduates in the USA

While a few pessimistic voices try to paint a gloomy future for MBAs in the post-covid world, the data suggests otherwise. The admission rush in top b-schools is fast returning to pre-covid levels, with international students lining up before the admission council. In addition, the average cost of full-time MBA courses has shot up from USD 1,68,000 in 2020 to USD 1,76,000 in 2021, which is a whopping 4.7% rise in a single year. 

The price hike of courses and the admission rush can be justified because most large multinational companies are in the USA, and they fill up a large chunk of their management vacancies from the reputed USA B-schools.


Salary Offered to MBA Grads in the USA

While MBA graduates from top colleges like Harward Business School can expect a starting salary of USD 2,00,000, the median MBA salary hovers around USD 1,50,000. It is a good raise from USD 1,10,000 that was the median salary in the year 2010. This indicates a healthy jump of 36 per cent over ten years, considering that the average household income in the USA is USD 68,703

Let’s look at the highest average salary offered by top B-schools. 

Rank as per Average Salary OfferedSchoolAverage Annual Salary of MBA GraduatesOverall Ranking
1Stanford Graduate School of Business$176,0831
2NYU Stern$175,14810
3Tuck School of Business$173,182
4Kellogg School of Management$173,0574
5Chicago Booth$172,6833
6Johnson Cornell$172,35415
7Harvard Business School$171,7855
8Columbia Business Schoool$171,4367
9Darden School of Business$169,19013
10Duke’s Fuqua School of Business$167,13412

Source: US News Average Salary 2021 and US News B-Schools Ranking 2022

However, you must note that salary can largely depend upon many factors such as previous work experience, academic track record, the field of specialization etc. 

For instance, finance companies currently offer a relatively higher pay package than others. The situation can be different by the time you get your degree. 

[Read: The ROI of MBA from the USA]


Top Industries Looking to Hire MBAs

Since the last few years, technology companies have been one of the biggest employment generators globally, and it is no different while hiring MBAs. However, when it comes to the average salary being offered, Consulting and Financial services top the list. 

Moreover, new industry players are also fast joining the MBA bandwagon. Artificial intelligence, data tracking, data mining and green energy are some of the new entrants that are likely to emerge as big recruiters in the next few years.

The pandemic has also brought forth some new hiring trends that suggest the emergence of niche fields like science, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, fintech and agribusinesses as regular recruiters in management colleges. 

Let’s look at the average salary offered to the full-time MBA class of 2020.

IndustryAverage Salary
Financial Services$129,889
Real Estate$107,522

Source: US News

As you can see, consulting companies offered the highest average salary in 2021 to the class of 2020. Financial services were a close second while the non-profit and the government sector faired poorly.  


Reasons Why Employers Prefer MBA Graduates from the USA B-Schools

The USA is home to some of the biggest companies in the world that are industry leaders in their domain. Naturally, such companies look for certain skill sets and educational backgrounds that they can easily find in students of US business schools.

  • Academic Excellence

Most of the top B-schools in the USA follows a strict academic standard. Right from the admission process that is one of the longest in the world to the quality of management education imparted, most B-schools here have maintained a tradition of excellence. 

While some institutes are known for keeping their course curriculum updated, others are known for hiring the top faculty to impart the lessons. 

  • Leadership 

The emphasis in most of the USA management institutions is on creating better leaders than just good managers. There is always a shortage of great leaders in every industry. While many industry veterans like the late Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg are university drop-outs, industries still prefer qualified MBA graduates for leadership positions who can identify the shift in business trends early and lead the company in the right direction.

  • Exposure

Going global is more like a necessity than the option to stay relevant for many industries. Many companies are increasingly trying to get a foothold in as many economies as possible. Such companies require managers who have the right kind of cultural and socio-economic exposure to different business economies in the world.

The US B-schools are famous for providing all the exposure that a student can have as most of these colleges have a healthy mix of different cultures across the world. Therefore, MBA grads from such colleges are expected to develop a certain level of comfort and understanding of what works and what doesn’t in a certain country and why.

  • Employability

Over the decades, MBA graduates of US B-schools have been successful in carving an image of being industry-ready. They are known and acknowledged for their foresight in their specialized fields about how business trends will shape in the near future and what must be done to embrace such trends. 

Hence, many companies believe that the new entrants in the job would be ready to face real-world challenges right away as long as they are the alumni of any of the top b-schools out there.

  • Mindset

Spending two years in a growth-oriented, multicultural and dynamic environment of a top ivy league college has its positive effects on the mindset of the students. They start believing in their abilities, and nothing seems to be impossible to achieve.

The industry veterans love this go-getter attitude in the young recruits, and they found it in plenty in the US college campuses.


High Salary for MBAs- The Trend Here Is to Stay

While the pandemic is far from being over, we have certainly gone past the worst phase. What’s encouraging is that the demand for MBA graduates across industries is quickly returning to pre-covid times and is expected to surpass previous levels. 

With the global economy on track and the USA likely to remain an economic powerhouse, an MBA from an ivy league management school can be expected to yield great rewards in your career.