Deliusionally Optimistic Business School Applicants Expect To Make Three Times As Much When They Graduate

Apparently there is a section in the brochures for business schools that say “Come here and you will automatically become richer (well, after you pay off student loans for four years).” According to the 2012 QS TopMBA.com Applicant Survey, business-school applicants, on average, expect to make $133,000 after completing their MBA, up from their pre-MBA salary of $45,000.  Last year, applicants targeted $111,000 in post-MBA pay. Perhaps the curriculum at these schools should include a class called “Hey guys, we’re in a recession.”

The report, released Monday, is based on a survey of more than 4,500 business-school aspirants worldwide.The record-high salary expectations “risk being unrealistic,” at least right out of school, said Nunzio Quacquarelli, managing director of QS Quacquarelli Symonds, which published the report. But he says some graduates will see this kind of salary increase, but only some.

Interestingly though, the international study found American applicants to be the most realistic of the unrealistic dreamers when it came to salary. U.S. applicants, who are targeting salaries of $153,000 after school (versus a pre-MBA $58,000), were among the most conservative and “realistic.” Swiss prospective students have the highest expectations, saying they expect their average salary to increase to $202,000 from a pre-MBA average of $82,000. Prospective MBAs from Brazil and Russia also expect big paychecks — $176,000 and $168,000 respectively. French and German applicants aligned more with the U.S. in their expectations.

I suppose MBA applicants have to be optimistic as many of them are leaving their jobs for two years and can’t fully afford the tuition so they know they need to make a lot of money when they finish. According to BNET, at the  University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School “if the Class of 2013 continues to borrow at rates similar to their predecessors, it will take on a staggering $112.4 million in debt, loan origination fees, and interest payments. But MBAs don’t guarantee the job security they once did which is why unrealistic salary expectations seem hard to believe.

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    • Lastango

      Good facts! Everything in this piece is helpful.
      Besides the recession, there’s one other thing to take into account. Call it “the MBA bubble”. There are a lot more MBAs around than there used to be, and the value has dropped accordingly. Everybody and their dog has one now — including a lot of very ordinary performers. Why would an employer pay top $$ for a credential like that?
      Those reservations don’t apply to grads from the top schools, just like the catastrophic collapse in the legal profession doesn’t affect Yale or Stanford grads. But it hits everyone else hard.
      Regarding the recession, I personally believe it is in fact a raging global depression that is (so far, and very temporarily) thinly masked by our social system. The S is about to HTF as the fiction of prosperity built on unprecedented debt dissolves, and that’s when those delusional MBAs will discover they’re trapped inside very ordinary, workaday lives. And those will be the lucky ones.

    • Lastango

      Good facts! Everything in this piece is helpful.
      Besides the recession, there’s one other thing to take into account. Call it “the MBA bubble”. There are a lot more MBAs around than there used to be, and the value has dropped accordingly. Everybody and their dog has one now — including a lot of very ordinary performers. Why would an employer pay top $$ for a credential like that?
      Those reservations don’t apply to grads from the top schools, just like the catastrophic collapse in the legal profession doesn’t affect Yale or Stanford grads. But it hits everyone else hard.
      Regarding the recession, I personally believe it is in fact a raging global depression that is (so far, and very temporarily) thinly masked by our social system. The S is about to HTF as the fiction of prosperity built on unprecedented debt dissolves, and that’s when those delusional MBAs will discover they’re trapped inside very ordinary, workaday lives. And those will be the lucky ones.