Stanford MBAs Get Paid The Most But Harvard Grads See Biggest Income Jump Of World's Top Business Grad Schools: Study

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By Angelo Young | January 29, 2013 7:03 AM EST

Hey, future masters of the universe: If you want your executive salary to top everyone else’s then your best bet is to California's Stanford School of Business for your MBA. It beat out rivals Harvard Business School, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton and Columbia Business School because its MBA graduates have the highest average income three years after graduation.

Coming in fifth place on the list populated heavily by U.S.-based varsities is a school in India.

According to the 2013 annual list of the top business graduate school in the world by The Financial Times, the typical Stanford MBA is the only one of his or her peers whose income tops $190,000 within three years after graduation. In addition to Stanford, Harvard and Wharton are the only schools on the list whose average MBAs are being paid more than $180,000. Columbia Business School makes the top salary list at $174,188.

Besides listing whose graduates make the most after three years, the publication's list also ranks which MBA degrees lead to the biggest pay hike compared to students' pre-MBA salaries. From that perspective Harvard moved up from No. 2 last year to No. 1 top in 2013. A Harvard MBA sees a 121 percent pay increase, while Stanford ranks second with a 115 percent salary jump. In other words, while Harvard MBAs do not, on average, get paid as much as Stanford grads, their post graduation pay hike is likely to be higher than that of Stanford MBAs.

A surprising up-and-comer is based in the northwestern Indian state of Gujarat. MBA graduates from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, on average earn $171,188 three years after graduation; that’s more than any top business school in the U.S. other than the top four listed above. The school’s overall ranking (salary three years after graduation as well as the jump from pre-MBA salary) shot up from 26th place last year to 16th place. Considering Stanford's over $57,000 a year base tuition, the IIM-A is a bargain, albeit a highly competitive one, at about $25,000 per year.

Graduates from 20 of the schools on the list were being paid on average less than $100,000 three years into their post-graduate careers. At the bottom of the list of top business graduate schools with the lowest salaries include Peking University and Fudan University School of Management in China, Incae Business School in Costa Rica, the University of Alberta in Canada and Tilburg University in The Netherlands.

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