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Wall Street pay for Stanford MBAs is exploding, while Silicon Valley salaries plateau

stanford university
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
Stanford University: A well-traveled pathway to Silicon Valley.
  • David Yanofsky
By David Yanofsky

Editor of code, visuals, and data

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Not that the tests matter, but Stanford’s soon-to-be MBA holders will be taking their final set of final exams this week. The exams are irrelevant for at least one reason: most second-year students have jobs lined up by now. Stanford’s Graduate School of Business reported that 78% of last year’s class had at least one job offer by the time of their graduation, and 71% had accepted one. Another reason the exams don’t matter much: Stanford MBA students don’t discuss their grades with classmates or potential employers, under a practice known as grade non-disclosure.

Not knowing a candidate’s grades hasn’t stopped financial, consulting, or tech (Stanford’s term not mine) firms from hiring large portions of the graduating class. Excluding entrepreneurs and students sponsored by existing employers, these three industries have accounted for at least 72% of the jobs taken by the graduating class for the last four years.

While a Stanford MBA is perceived to be a stepping stone towards the C-suites at Google, Yahoo, or Facebook, more grads will end up at a place like Goldman Sachs, Pimco, or Andreessen-Horowitz. In 2012, 24% of the jobs taken were in tech, 32% were in finance. (The growth of the portion of grads taking jobs at tech firms has been faster than finance, however.)

The median base salary of Stanford MBA graduates taking any of these paths is above six-figures, but financial firms (which include venture capital), have consistently offered Stanford grads more money than either the consulting industry or technology companies. In 2012, the median base pay of a new Stanford MBA grad working in finance was $150,000, in consulting $135,000. In tech, median pay was $115,500.

The gap between finance and tech compensation has been widening as financial firms have increased their offers while tech pay growth remained flat. In 2009, the difference between the two industries was $15,000. Last year it was more than double that, at $34,500.

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