The Top 5 MBA Grad Salaries in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Salary

Where should you earn your MBA in Pennsylvania if you want to walk away with a high salary upon graduation? We’re breaking down the top five MBA programs for high salaries in Pennsylvania: Wharton, Tepper, Smeal, Katz, and LeBow.

Wharton MBA – $180,000

It should come as no surprise that the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School was home to the highest-earning MBA graduates in the state. As of September 2019, the median total compensation for a Wharton MBA graduate was $180,000.

  • Median Base Salary: $150,000
  • Median Signing Bonus: $30,000

This high salary for full-time MBA graduates can be attributed to a variety of factors, not the least of which is Wharton’s high rankings. The school ranks in the top ten on almost every report:

  • U.S. News & World Report: 1
  • Bloomberg: 6
  • Forbes: 5
  • Financial Times: 4
  • The Economist: 6

The 20-month full-time MBA program is also known for its advanced curriculum, high-quality internships, career treks, and flexible study options, all of which contribute to high salaries for recent graduates. Not to mention the quality of incoming students, which are some of the best in the world with an average GMAT score of 732 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.6.

Top employment industries for Wharton graduates also impact the salary. Most graduates either enter financial services or consulting, two of the top-paying industries:

  • Financial Services: 35.8 percent
  • Consulting: 25.1 percent
  • Technology: 14.9 percent

Carnegie Mellon Tepper MBA – $150,250

Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business in Pittsburgh is not far behind Wharton in terms of graduate salaries. The median total compensation for a Tepper MBA graduate in 2019 was $150,250.

  • Median Base Salary: $126,250
  • Median Signing Bonus: $25,000

Better yet, Tepper MBA graduates may recognize better return on investment more quickly, due to the much lower tuition rate of just $68,000 per year, or $136,000 for the full two years. As for where these graduates start their careers, the top employment industries for 2019 included:

  • Consulting: 30.5 percent
  • Technology: 30.5 percent
  • Financial Services: 10.2 percent

The MBA program is well known for its STEM-designation, which makes it a leader in providing business, technology, and analytics-focused education.

As for why Tepper MBA graduates earn such high salaries, it has to do, in part, with the school’s high rankings. The program ranks in the top 20 regularly.

  • U.S. News & World Report: 17
  • Bloomberg: 15
  • Forbes: 17
  • Financial Times: 35
  • The Economist: 31

Penn State Smeal MBA – $130,500

Penn State’s Smeal College of Business is one of the best in the U.S. and around the world. It ranks in the top 50 on almost every global ranking.

  • U.S. News & World Report: 33
  • Bloomberg: 35
  • Forbes: 34
  • Financial Times: 63
  • The Economist: 50

This high ranking, on top of the school’s world-class curriculum and career prep services, earn its MBA graduates high salaries. The median total compensation for a Smeal MBA graduate in 2019 was $130,500.

  • Median Base Salary: $112,500
  • Median Signing Bonus: $18,000

And when it comes to ROI, Smeal beats out both Wharton and Tepper. That’s because in-state students pay just $25,430 per year and out-of-state students pay just $40,870. That means your tuition for the full two years will be below $90,000 and as low as $50,000, which makes the high salary upon graduation that much more appealing.

Smeal MBA grads may not match the raw salary averages of Wharton or Tepper grads, but the affordability of the program makes the return on investment more apparent. In-state tuition is only $25,430 per year, currently.

As for where Smeal graduates work, some top employment industries include:

  • Technology: 33 percent
  • Manufacturing: 18 percent
  • Consulting/Financial Services/Healthcare: 10 percent (each)

University of Pittsburgh Katz MBA – $95,000

The University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business is one of the most affordable MBA programs on our list. Its one-year and two-year MBA programs offer students the ability to quickly earn their MBA with great return on their investment.

While Katz isn’t an MBA program with the highest-earning students post-graduation, it does offer among the best ROI. According to a 2019 Forbes report, Katz ranks first overall in “Years to Payback” an MBA investment among U.S. Schools. Students can payback their MBA school investment in just 3.6 years, thanks to having the ninth most affordable tuition in the country.

The median total compensation for the University of Pittsburgh MBA graduates, according to Forbes is $95,000.

  • Median Base Salary: $85,000
  • Median Signing Bonus: $10,000

No information is available about the top industries for Katz MBA graduates. However, top industries can be inferred based on the school’s specialized degree programs, which include accounting, finance, customer insights, and supply chain management. Some top employers include:

  • Amazon
  • Barclays
  • Deloitte
  • eBay
  • Georgia Pacific
  • Oracle
  • PwC
  • The Vanguard Group
  • Nationwide Insurance

Drexel LeBow MBA – $75,182

Ranked 84th overall in “Best Business Schools” ranking by the U.S. News and World Report, Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business offers a full-time MBA program in Philadelphia with an excellent ROI. The 18-month full-time MBA program has affordable tuition totaling just $61,495 ($1,255 per-credit-hour).

Drexel’s LeBow College of Business is the second-highest ranked Philadelphia business school on our PA MBA salary ranking behind The Wharton School.

Information about the median base salary and signing bonus was not available for Drexel LeBow MBA graduates. Instead, we had to use the average base salary per the U.S. News, which was $75,182. However, according to, the average salary for an MBA graduate might be closer to $121,000.

Top employment industries for recent graduates include:

  • Financial Services: 15 percent
  • Healthcare: 13 percent
  • Media Entertainment: 10 percent

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About the Author

Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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