New ranking: Business diplomas that are definitely paid

Business is the most popular major in the United States at both the bachelor’s and college levels. But does the business major pay off?

A large new report and ranking of schools suggest that the answer in most cases is a resounding yes.

In a study that is the first of its kind to focus on a major, the Georgetown Center for Education and Workforce found that while graduate income and federal student loan debt vary by institution and degree level, most businesses the programs lead to median gains, which are about 10 times the payments on the debt of the diplomas two years after the completion of the program.

Where is the business master paid the most? Georgetown CEW ranked the best schools and № 1 is The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where the average income without debt payments two years after graduation is $ 165,600. Graduates of the top five B-schools are Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business ($ 162,000), MIT Sloan School of Management ($ 159,600), Columbia Business School ($ 157,200) and Stanford University Graduate School of Business ($ 156,000); see page 2 for the first 50 schools.

The numbers and order of the schools are slightly different, looking at only MBA graduates, with the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management second only to Wharton and Dartmouth, with $ 168,000 in annual revenue without paying debt; see table below.


Georgetown CEW, a research and policy institute within the McCourt School of Public Policy in Georgetown, known for its ranking of the return on investment of colleges, bases its new data report on thousands of American schools from the College Scorecard. The most popular degree pays off: Ranking the economic value of 5,500 business programs at more than 1,700 colleges finds that, although the economic value of business programs is high, it lags behind the financial returns associated with health, engineering and computer and information programs.

Two years after graduation, CEW found that associate business degree holders have an average annual profit of $ 30,000 after debt payments, while the financial return on a business degree increases to $ 43,200 after debt payments for bachelor’s degree holders and $ 51,600. for holders of a master’s degree.

“The strong financial return is good news for the more than 700,000 graduates each year who follow the most popular field of study for bachelor’s and master’s degree holders,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, lead author of the report and director of Georgetown CEW. “This information will help prospective students and their families assess the value of various business programs.”

For whom are business diplomas less profitable? Women, who represent 43% of holders of a master’s degree in business, but whose average income is approximately $ 23,000 less than that of men (see table below).


CEW prepared its report from a number of sources, mostly program-level data in the College Scorecard, published by the US Department of Education in February 2022. The report includes a ranking table with more than 1,700 colleges and universities and 5,500 programs ranked by indicators, including profits, debt payments and income without debt payments.

By institution, net income from debt payments is highest for graduates of Excelsior College in New York and Union County College in New Jersey ($ 44,400) at the associate level; Bismarck State College in North Dakota ($ 103,200) at the undergraduate level; and the University of Pennsylvania ($ 165,600) at the master’s level. By field of study, such gains are highest for business / trade majors ($ 32,400) at the associate level, construction management majors ($ 62,400) at the bachelor’s level, and management and quantitative methods majors ($ 96). 000) at the master’s level, found CEW.

“Profits and debts at the level of degree, institution or program tell only one side of the story. In a particular business program at an institution, students can earn significantly more or less than the typical income for that institution or program, ”says Emma Wenzinger, co-author of the report and a specialist in strategic communications at CEW.


There are exceptions to the common belief that more business education leads to higher profits. For example, a degree in business administration, management, and operations from the University of Southern New Hampshire results in a $ 44,400 debt-free income two years after graduation, one of the highest among associate degrees in business. This payoff exceeds the typical return for four of the six most common bachelor’s degrees in business, as well as the return on a general business master’s degree in human resource management and services. Similarly, some bachelor’s degrees in business have a higher financial return than master’s degrees in the same field of study. A bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania, for example, results in an average income of $ 121,200 two years after graduation, well above the average of $ 62,400 for master’s degrees in finance at various institutions.

There is also what CEW describes as “significant income and gender / race disparities”. Women make up a growing proportion of business graduates, but men with business degrees earn more on average (see above). In addition, “Forty-seven percent of young people (aged 22-27) have a bachelor’s degree in business and are earning an average of $ 44,600 a year, compared to $ 50,500 for men. The contrast at the master’s level is even clearer: women make up 43% of business masters and earn $ 75,600, compared to the average for $ 99,000 for men on average. ”

Among racial and ethnic groups, CEW found, Asian workers have the highest average incomes for both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business. “For those with a bachelor’s degree in business, the earnings at the beginning of the career of Asian workers ($ 51,300) are followed by those of the multiracial ($ 48,600), white ($ 48,600), Latin American ($ 42,600), black ( $ 40,700) and Native Americans / Alaska Local Workers ($ 39,400). For those with a master’s degree in business, Asian workers have the highest average annual earnings ($ 100,000), followed by white ($ 92,000), Hispanic ($ 77,700) and black ($ 65,000) workers. “

The profession is also key, CEW found. “At the beginning of their career (aged 22-27), 12% of business majors become accountants and auditors and earn an average of $ 57,000 a year. Among business majors, financial and investment analysts and securities, commodities and financial services sales agents have the highest average earnings of $ 71,000 per year, followed by management analysts ($ 67,000) and computer systems analysts. dollars). Secretaries and administrative assistants have the lowest incomes among business majors – $ 38,000 a year. “

See the next page for a list of the top 50 schools ranked by income from master’s programs, net of debt payments. Visit for more information.

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