The Highest-Paying Undergrad B-Schools

U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business

U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business

You wouldn’t expect business to get much play at Berkeley. You’ve heard the campus stereotypes. Between the beats, techies, and greens on campus, you’d think business majors would be as welcome as hangovers or tuition increases. Surprisingly, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business houses over 700 undergrads – and ranks among the nation’s best. After graduation, Berkeley business majors are the highest paid in their field.

That was one finding in PayScale’s newly-released 2015-2016 College Salary Report. Based on data from 1.4 million college graduates, PayScale found that Berkeley business majors earned, on average, $72,800 in early career pay (defined as median salary for 0-5 years). This was $3,400 more than any other program. By mid-career – which PayScale characterizes as 10 or more years of experience – Haas grads made $140,000 annually (again, tops among all undergraduate business schools).


Even more impressive: This data only covers business graduates who didn’t pursue an advanced degree (including MBAs). Don’t forget, PayScale doesn’t factor in bonuses, equity, or stock options, three major income streams for business professionals as their careers progress. In other words, these incomes likely understate the true value of a Berkeley business education. More than that, they represent income increases over the previous year, where Haas graduates grossed $72,000 and $138,300 at early and mid-career career respectively.


But Berkeley grads aren’t the only business majors starting strong. At the Wharton school on the University of Pennsylvania campus, for example, business grads are raking in $69,400 early in their careers. That’s good for second place (but also $200 than last year’s PayScale survey). And the bronze goes to grads from Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. A Jesuit program located near Silicon Valley, Santa Clara seamlessly integrates the experiential, technical, and liberal arts spheres to develop graduates who earn $64,700 early on, up $2,700 over PayScale’s previous year’s numbers.

Overall, east coast business programs churn out the highest-paid undergrad business students (at least initially). 14 of the 20 highest paid graduates matriculated at programs located from Boston to Virginia – hubs for those traditional financial services, consulting, and media jobs that provide experience to graduates. Surprisingly, just one Midwest business program – the University of Illinois – ranked in the Top 20 here. Overall, among the Top 20 schools, early earnings ranged from $59,300-$69.400.

You also won’t find several high-ranking undergraduate business programs graduating students who earn the big bucks early on. Notre Dame, for example, is ranked fourth by Poets&Quants. However, Irish business grads make $58,000 to start, less than programs like Morehouse College, William & Mary, and Lehigh. Similarly, business majors at Michigan, another Top 10 undergrad program, earn $57,400. That said, Notre Dame grads make it up over the long haul. By mid-career, they are cashing in $121,000 per year, doubling their income. At the same time, Michigan alumni are making $84,700, not even a 50% increase.

(Go to next page for additional early and mid-career incomes for undergraduate business majors)