How much can an MBA enrich your salary?

Written by
Andrew Main Wilson

09 Nov 2015

09 Nov 2015 • by Andrew Main Wilson

Every two years the association of MBAs (AMBA), which accredits the world’s top business schools’ MBA programmes, surveys its global membership to discover which are the most popular career options and what remuneration packages MBA graduates are currently being offered.

Latest findings

Our latest data shows that average salaries are on the rise with MBAs expecting to earn an average of £96,661 in 2014 (the latest year for which data is available).  This is an increase of £14,628 or 17.84% since 2012.  


63.24% of our MBA graduates received some form of bonus or commission last year. Whilst the average bonus received was £50,873, the median bonus was £22,028, meaning that those already high earners were receiving commensurate bonuses.  

Sector salaries

In order of popularity the top six sectors for MBA graduates (with their corresponding average salaries) were: 

  • Finance – 19.7% (average salary £106,586 per annum)
  • Consulting – 15.3% (average salary £124,093 per annum)
  • Technology – 11.9% (average salary £73,679 per annum)
  • Industry/Manufacturing – 11.2% (average salary £123,900 per annum)
  • Consumer sector –  7.1% (average salary £95,581 per annum)
  • Healthcare – 6.3% (average salary £77,193 per annum

Salaries by function

MBA salaries for the same function can vary dramatically depending on the sector they work in. So, rather than taking the mathematically defined average salary – which can be skewed upwards by two or three vast earners for the same function in, say, the banking sector – a better indicator of ‘average’ salary by function is to look at the salary point which falls in the middle of all the MBAs in that function (or the median salary).

Median post-MBA salaries by function are as follows:

  • Strategy/planning £95,679
  • Finance it is £89,000 
  • General management it is £85,000
  • Human resources £71,746 
  • Production/manufacturing £71,429 
  • Research and development £71,019 
  • Information and communications 
  • Technology £65,171 
  • Sales/marketing £64,246 
  • Purchasing/logistics £58,252  
  • Communications £43,651

Salaries by age

It appears age plays a major part in the average salaries of MBA graduates, with surprising results. 

  • For graduates aged between 25 and 35 the average salary is £57,530 
  • For those aged between 36 and 39 it is £114,447 
  • For those aged between 40 and 44 it drops down to £104,007 
  • For those aged between 45 and 50 it is £134,347 
  • For those aged over 50 there is a drop in the average to £109,884.

Salaries by gender

Our topline survey results showed very little difference between the average salaries of men (£99,903) and women (£98,037). However, when we looked a little deeper we saw that the results were skewed by several women who earned exceptionally high salaries. When we looked at median salaries there was a vast difference - £80,124 for men £57,650 for women.

Additionally the results showed that the sectors female MBA graduates move into are those at the lower end of the pay scale (namely the public sector and HR), and far more female MBA graduates (31.7%) than male (19.8%) chose an entrepreneurial route. These tend to be lower paid as start-up owners usually reinvest in their companies rather than draw a high salary.