UVA Darden Reports Record Salaries for Its MBA Graduates

The University of Virginia's Darden School of Business is the latest top U.S. business school to report rising salaries for its master of business administration graduates as part of a national trend.
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Published on October 26, 2023
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  • 2023 MBA graduates from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business earned the highest average starting salary in school history for the fifth consecutive year.
  • The average starting salary was $167,899.
  • The median starting salary was at $175,000, a record high for the second year in a row.
  • That follows a nationwide trend of rising MBA salaries.

The University of Virginia's Darden School of Business reported yet another average starting salary increase for its master of business administration (MBA) graduates.

Darden's full-time MBA class of 2023 scored the highest average starting salary in school history at $167,899, according to a press release from the business school. That's the fifth consecutive year that the graduating MBA class has brought in a record starting salary.

The median starting salary was at $175,000, a record high for the second year in a row. More than 46% of Darden MBA graduates went into consulting, 26.2% went into financial services, and 10.5% went into the tech industry — a growing field with high return on investment for MBA graduates.

"The notable achievements of our most recent graduating class are a testament to the hard work Darden students put forward each day in pursuit of their ambitious career goals," Darden Assistant Career Center Dean Jeff McNish said in the release.

"Our tremendous Career Center staff, dedicated alumni network and supportive faculty all come together to ensure that Darden graduates are able to access valuable employment opportunities and achieve positive outcomes."

Getting an MBA can often lead to a hefty return on investment: Earning the popular business graduate degree potentially boosts salaries by as much as 50%, BestColleges previously reported, although it can take time to see a full return on investment.

The average MBA program costs close to $55,000, although costs vary based on program format. A part-time, online MBA program, for example, will generally run less than a full-time, traditional MBA program.

MBA Salaries on the Rise In 2023

Darden isn't the only top business school to announce rising MBA salaries this year. The median starting salary for 2023 two-year MBA graduates of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management was $175,000 as of this summer.

That figure represented a roughly $10,000 year-over-year increase and was driven by students heading into the financial sector. It is also roughly double the pre-MBA median salary of $87,525.

The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) Scheller College of Business also recently reported good job outcomes for its 2023 MBA graduates, with a job placement of 96% and $154,679 average base salary. That represents a 12.25% increase from the previous year.

"Our 2023 MBA graduates experienced tremendous employment success in the face of many global workforce unknowns," Dave Deiters, associate dean of Georgia Tech's MBA programs and its Jones MBA Career Center, said in a release.

"Demand for our graduates was high in a variety of sectors, particularly consulting. The Jones MBA Career Center prides itself on cultivating great relationships with consulting firms and a myriad of other industry partners."

MBA starting salaries are on the rise across the country. The Graduate Management Admission Council found in its 2023 Corporate Recruiters Survey 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.

"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.