Median Salary for 2023 Kellogg MBA Graduates Rises Amid Growing Trend

The median starting salary for graduates of the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management two-year MBA program is $175,000 so far, a $10,000 year-over-year increase.
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Published on August 14, 2023
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  • The median starting salary for 2023 Kellogg School of Management graduates is $175,000 so far, according to the school.
  • That represents a roughly $10,000 year-over-year increase.
  • The salary increase is partly driven by an increased number of students heading into the financial sector.
  • Those higher earnings beget a larger trend for MBA graduates, with a Graduate Management Admission Council survey showing increased median starting salaries across the board.

Master of business administration (MBA) students from the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management's class of 2023 saw a $10,000 median salary increase compared to last year's class, a record high figure for the school.

The median salary for Kellogg's 2023 two-year MBA program class is $175,000, Liza Kirkpatrick, assistant dean of the school's career management center, said in a post. That figure is well above pre-pandemic levels, representing a 25% increase from the class of 2019.

It's also roughly double the pre-MBA median salary of $87,525, and the Kellogg MBA class of 2023 has so far scored a median signing bonus of $30,000. An MBA degree is often a path toward better career prospects, higher earnings, and a host of networking opportunities for students — and top schools like Kellogg offer a host of concentrations to allow students to further specialize in high-demand fields.

The increase in starting salaries among Kellogg MBA graduates falls in line with a larger upward trend in MBA salaries. The Graduate Management Admission Council's 2023 Corporate Recruiters Survey found that MBA graduates in the United States had an estimated median starting salary of $125,000 in 2023, an increase from $115,000 in 2022.

That survey asked employers to estimate their average base starting salary in increments of $10,000. The survey also noted that starting salaries are only a baseline for a degree's value, and as graduates gain experience, they often receive a positive return on their investment.

The sentiment among employers remains positive — 69 percent of employers say employees with GME (graduate management education) degrees tend to earn more at their companies than others, which is largely consistent across region, industry, and company size, the 2023 Corporate Recruiters Survey reads.

Median starting salary estimates for other graduate business degrees, including master in management, master of accounting, master of finance, and master of data analytics, fell when accounting for inflation.

The financial sector was key to driving up Kellogg graduates' earnings: 22% of the class of 2023 MBA graduates accepted a job in that sector, up from 16% from the class of 2022. That includes 10% of the class of 2023 who accepted jobs in private equity (PE), with a median base salary of $190,000 — a roughly $20,000 increase from the same field last year.

Kellogg offers specialized courses to train students for higher-paying, high-demand jobs in private equity, Kirkpatrick wrote.

Students who pursue PE at Kellogg find a wealth of resources and programming to support them, Kirkpatrick wrote. The Advanced Private Equity Experience (APEX) is a global academic experience for high-caliber students seeking careers in PE. Other opportunities include a variety of courses in the dedicated Private Equity and Venture Capital Pathway, a quarter-long internship through the Private Equity Lab, and the support of senior leaders in the field through the Private Equity Alumni Council.

Consulting and tech are also top industries for the MBA class of 2023, Kirkpatrick wrote.

Business schools have embraced emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and data science in recent years, including the “MBAi” program at Kellogg that blends artificial intelligence with business curriculum. Other schools, including Tulane University, have shifted their entire MBA curriculum to focus on tech.