MBA Intern Compensation – How Does Yours Compare?

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Summer’s here, which means it’s the season for MBA internships! But what’s the going rate? How does your internship stack up, especially when compared to your peers in the top business schools? What industries are paying the most?

For most MBA students, especially those in consulting and banking, summer internships can be a good dress rehearsal for a full-time job offer. They also provide a chance to earn some money to help pay for the second year of your MBA program.

Just how much do MBA interns make? Intern pay can vary widely, not based so much on what schools the interns come from but mostly due to which industries and companies employ them.

MBA students in management consulting at top business schools like Harvard, Stanford and the like do tend to receive the highest rates of pay. They earn median base salaries of $10,500, which is considerably higher than the $7,000 median overall. For companies like McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Co., and Deloitte Consulting, that’s pretty much the going rate.

In MBA programs like Chicago Booth’s, the overall median was a bit higher at $8,000—although last year, the highest paid intern at Booth made $25,300 a month, probably due to previous experience and a highly specialized skill. Kellogg’s MBA consulting intern earned $19,000 a month, while Columbia’s MBA’s internship in investment banking paid $20,000 a month, which was the highest in the entire class.

Some of the lower paid internships reported by Harvard Business School and Booth students:

  • Entertainment and media — $3,000 a month
  • Government and non-profits — $4,800 a month
  • Financial services —  $8,333 median, with hedge funds paying the most –$9,615; venture capital paying the lowest — $5,100 a month.
  • E-commerce or Internet firms — $550 a month

But remember, in a world where many internships are no longer paid, these are very good salaries for a summer job.  And truthfully, pay is not the most important consideration for most MBA summer interns. When MIT Sloan asked its Class of 2013 members the reason for accepting the internships they did, the number one answer, with 26.3% of respondents, said it was due to job function. Other reasons given in the survey included:

  • Industry choice — 21.3%
  • Job content — 15.7%
  • Growth potential — 12.7%
  • Prestige of the firm — 9.3%.

Dead last in the survey? Compensation, with just 0.4% of the vote.

No matter where you land this summer, your internship experience (paid or unpaid), is critical and will most likely play an important role when you are looking for your first job.

As you contemplate your career choices, we at Smith Hanley would be delighted to discuss your career path and assist you with your resume and your job search. Contact us today!

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