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January 27, 2023

Compensation Watch ’19: MBA Starting Salaries In Accounting/Finance Aren’t Too Shabby

After reading through the latest Business School Hiring Report from the Graduate Management Admission Council, there’s some good news and some bad news for newly minted MBA accounting grads.

First, the good news:

1. MBA starting salaries are the highest on record: Adjusted for inflation, the median annual base starting salary U.S. companies will offer new MBA hires in 2019 is $115,000, which, according to the report, is the highest on record. MBA salaries are much higher than the median salary offered to direct-from-industry hires ($75,000) and more than double the median salary offered to new bachelor’s degree hires ($55,000).

In addition, 56% of U.S. employers plan to increase MBA starting salaries in 2019, up from 45% last year. And 58% of companies offer signing bonuses, with a median signing bonus offered of $10,500.

2. MBA accounting/finance starting salaries second highest among industries: Among U.S. employers, median MBA starting salaries for new hires are highest in the consulting ($135,000) and accounting/finance ($125,000) industries.

Starting salaries for MBA holders in accounting/finance are higher than those with a bachelor’s degree ($65,000) or who are direct-from-industry hires ($85,000), according to the report.

3. Of the four U.S. regions, three have MBA starting salaries that surpassed $100,000: Northeast is first with a projected median annual base starting salary of $125,000, followed by the Midwest and West, both at $115,000, and the South with $95,000.

4. MBA interns on the rise: In the U.S., 58% of companies plan to have MBA interns in 2019, although business master’s interns are more common among European companies (57%) than those in the U.S. (23%).

Now for a little bad news on hiring trends:

1. MBA hiring down: Compared to historical trends, MBA hiring projections are still pretty strong, but for the second straight year, a smaller proportion of companies are planning to hire MBA talent compared with the previous year, the report states.

Among U.S. employers, 77% plan to hire MBA talent this year, down from 2015 to 2017, when more than nine in 10 U.S. employers planned to hire MBAs. Nearly seven in 10 European companies plan to hire MBAs in 2019, up from 2018 projections.

In the accounting/finance industry specifically, 77% of companies are planning to hire MBAs in 2019.

2. Hiring projections for graduates of accounting master’s programs not as good this year: The report also looked at the salary and hiring outlook for grads of specialized business master’s programs, including Master of Accounting, Master of Finance, and Master of Data Analytics.

For Master of Accounting degree holders, the outlook isn’t too rosy, as only 32% of U.S. companies plan to hire recent MAC graduates in 2019. It’s not much better for new Master of Finance graduates, as only one in three U.S. employers are looking to hire people with that degree this year.

The report found that the median starting salary for MAC new hires in 2019 is $75,000; for those holding a Master of Finance, the median starting salary is $85,000.

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