Back before business school, did you wonder how much more money you’d make with an MBA? Well, that’s probably a stupid question, because you obviously did, and then decided to get an MBA.

How much more money should you be making though? Does an MBA provide a higher return in some industries versus others? At TransparentCareer, we dug into our data on some of the top industries. This is what we found out.


Pre-MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $85,000/$98,150

First Job post MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $140,000/$184,500

Hours Worked/Week: 59 Hours

Satisfaction: 6.5

Popular Companies: McKinsey & Co, Boston Consulting Group, Bain, Deloitte, ZS

With the highest salary bump on the list, consultants with an MBA reported earning $55,000 more a year in salary compared to their MBA-less (is that a word? It is now) counterparts. If you want to work in consulting, chances are McKinsey, BCG, and Bain are near the top of your list. That’s fine, but there are also many other consulting firms you may not be as familiar with, but should be (see Consulting Firms MBAs Should Put On Their Radar Screen).

Consumer Products

Pre-MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $73,250/$77,775

First Job post MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $105,000/$140,000

Hours Worked/Week: 48 Hours

Satisfaction: 7

Popular Companies: Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, General Mills

As an industry, consumer products hires a high volume of MBAs every year, only trailing behind consulting and investment banking in terms of numbers. Consumer products also has incredibly satisfied MBAs on average, with their median satisfaction score ~20% higher than the all-MBA average. Part of this likely comes from better work-life balance, with MBAs in the industry typically working just 48 hours a week, much lower than more strenuous fields such as consulting or investment banking. Check out our list of the best consumer product firms here.

Investment Banking

Pre-MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $85,000/$120,000

First Job post MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $125,000/$220,000

Hours Worked/Week:77

Satisfaction: 6.4

Popular Companies: Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase

Pulling the highest amount of hours worked a week at 77, investment banking boasts both the highest total compensation on this list at $220k, and also the highest post-MBA bump, with MBAs earning $100k more than those without the degree. Expect high competition for top positions though – Goldman Sachs only hired 9,700 of 313,000 applicants in 2015. Take a look at our list for the best investment banks for MBAs here.


Pre-MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $83,000/$97,675

First Job post MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $120,000/$178,250

Hours Worked/Week: 49

Satisfaction: 7

Popular Companies: Amazon, Samsung, Google, Apple, Microsoft

Our MBAs reported tech as being nearly on par in terms of work-life balance with consumer products (just 1 hour more per week), and still less than 50 hours/week on average. However, MBA compensation in tech is reported over $35k higher than the median packages in consumer products, so think about it like this – 52 more hours for an extra $35k. Sounds good to us. This extra compensation may not mean more money in the pocket though: many tech companies are based in California or NYC, which typically carry a high cost of living. Learn more about MBA salary vs. expenses in various US cities here.

Financial Services

Pre-MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $77,750/$90,514

First Job post MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $107,500/$139,025

Hours Worked/Week: 52 Hours

Satisfaction: 6.7

Popular Companies: Discover Financial Services, Fidelity Investments, Capital One, Visa

Financial services has the lowest jump for MBAs on our list, at a jump of $48k in salary after getting an MBA. This increase is not only the lowest in terms of total money, but also as a percentage of pre-MBA compensation. The $48k compensation boost is only 53% of the $90k pre-MBA financial service workers make. This is totally eclipsed by consulting, which sees the highest boost, at an 87% increase.


Pre-MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $80,000/$92,800

First Job post MBA Median Salary/Compensation: $116,000/$147,250

Hours Worked/Week: 48 Hours

Satisfaction: 6.9

Popular Companies: CVS Health, DaVita Healthcare Partners, Medtronic

The fastest growing industry in the US, healthcare also skews on the lower side in terms of wage bumps, with the second lowest compensation bump at $54k, a 59% increase. Many healthcare firms also offer intensive training programs for general management positions. DaVita’s Redwoods program is one of the most popular.

*Please note that this analysis includes both Healthcare Services (care provider networks, insurance) and Healthcare Products/Medical Devices.

Written by Hauk Nelson