Executive Education

Best-Bet Business Schools for Consultants

business school

If you’ve ever considered completing a graduate program at a business school, chances are, you’re the type of person who sees education as an investment.

If consulting is the name of your game, which of the top B-schools hold your best chance for ROI?

The average price for a year of tuition and fees at the nation’s top tier business school programs is currently hovering around $60,000–it may even seem like the best of all possible options to skip graduate school altogether. But according to the Graduate Management Admission Council, MBA recipients from the class of 2014 could expect a median salary bump of 80% over what they would have gotten without the advanced degree. So exactly what kind of starting salary are we talking about? We combed through the data* to find which B-school may position you for the best chances of landing your dream job with the highest possible starting salary.

While the top schools vary in terms of what data they report, almost all offer up the median salary and signing bonus for the MBA class of 2014 in the consulting industry. But if comparison shopping is a favorite activity of yours, we hate to disappoint with this spoiler: almost every top business school reported a median combined signing bonus and salary of $160,000.

At the top of the range was the Yale School of Management, with a combined median salary plus signing bonus of $165,000. The lowest was the Johnson School of Management at Cornell, with a combined median salary plus signing bonus of $152,800.

Of all the business schools we surveyed that reported where their 2014 grads were hired, McKinsey & Co. was a perennial favorite. The global consulting firm hired 51 of Columbia’s B-School graduates, 29 of Kellogg’s grads, and 40 of the Booth School alumni—that’s about 8% of the whole 2014 graduating class. From MIT’s Sloan School, another 32 graduates headed off for McKinsey, again, the largest employer of the program’s class. Duke’s Fuqua School was a much larger feeder to Deloitte, with some 31 grads heading to the professional services giant. By comparison, only 12 of Duke’s newly-minted MBAs headed to McKinsey.

If being surrounded by like-minded classmates is of particular interest, nowhere can you find a greater share of aspiring consultants than at Columbia Business School: more than 40% of the MBA class of 2014 entered the consulting industry. Don’t like competing for jobs against your own classmates? Stanford is likely your best bet with only 16% of the most recent graduating class entering the consulting industry.

Even if you like your odds there the best, Stanford was ranked the most difficult business school to get into for 2015 by The Princeton Review. But, then again, almost all of the schools we surveyed made the top ten—so at the end of the day, the choice may be up to them not you.

*2014 business school data surveyed included: Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, The Johnson School of Management at Cornell, The Yale School of Management, The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, The MIT Sloan School of Management, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

About the Author

R. Kress is an Emmy Award winning journalist whose reporting and writing has appeared in national media from NBC News to the International Herald Tribune. She has covered news from cities around the world including Jerusalem, Krakow, Amman and Mumbai.