Monday, December 27, 2010

Bernanke Money Printing is Sure Going to Help Out Top School MBA Grads

This year the MBA who landed the highest annual base salary -- a whopping $350,000 to start -- graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and went into a private equity job with a firm in New York, reports Fortune.

MBAs from at least five U.S. business schools -- Wharton, Stanford, Chicago, Columbia and Northwestern -- report that the highest base salary received by a 2010 graduate was $300,000 or more. Harvard Business School's top grad this year pulled down a $250,000.

Fortune continues, yet, as extraordinary as these sums are, they still fail to capture the total compensation these MBA rock stars got. Once you tote up a signing bonus, a guaranteed year-end bonus, and the reimbursement of relocation expenses and tuition, it's relatively easy for a top-flight MBA to earn in excess of half a million dollars a year in compensation in the first year out of business school.

This year, for instance, nearly four out of every 10 Harvard MBAs who went into private equity received "median other guaranteed compensation" of $155,000 each. Some 9% of Harvard's Class of 2010 took jobs in private equity.

By and large, the highest starting salaries these days are being paid by private equity firms and hedge funds, which recruit far fewer MBAs than the elite consulting firms and investment banking partnerships that buy MBAs by the boatload.

Among the largest private equity players, TPG and KKR are known as the highest paying. Not far behind, according to a recruiter for a top private equity firm, are Blackstone, Bain Capital, Carlyle, Providence, and Apollo.

On the other extreme of the earning spectrum, Wharton reported that the lowest-paid MBA in the class of 2010 received a base salary of $25,000 a year for a job in the "media and entertainment" industry in the Midwest.

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