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Executive Education

Joining the $100,000 club

By Peter Walker for CNN
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(CNN) -- Taking an MBA at a top business school is a classic route to boosting your salary.

And now, according to a new survey, those who take the right MBA can demand a basic salary of $100,000 or more as soon as their studies are over.

The eye-catching figure comes in a major poll of MBA students and recruiters around the world for Business Week magazine.

The latest version of the once-every-two-years survey, which processed questionnaires from more than 9,000 students and 200-plus recruiters, found that graduates from almost a third of the top 30-ranked US MBA programs earned an average of $100,000 or more on graduating, a figure generally boosted further by other benefits.

On average, those leaving one of the top 30 schools walked into jobs worth $95,000 a year, up 9.7% on the last survey in 2004, also receiving an average of two job offers each.

The findings add further weight to indications that the job market for new MBAs is booming again, following the glut of graduates caused by the after effects of the dot-com bust, which sent thousands of would-be tycoons scurrying to business schools.

As the global economy has improved, fewer people have opted to take MBAs, meaning they are now in ever-greater demand.

"The job market for MBAs is the strongest it's been in many years," Steve Canale, General Electric Co.'s top recruiter told the survey. "Supply is tight, and demand is up. It's Economics 101."

Big hitters

The other major element of the survey lists the top 30 US business schools and the top 10 in other countries, based on the responses of students and recruiters.

The US list sees most of the traditional big hitters dominate the leading places, although there is a newcomer to the top spot, the University of Chicago's business school, ranked second in 2004.

The poll's authors credit reforms by school dean Edward A. Snyder in addressing previous weaknesses such as a low ranking for teamwork for pulling it up into the number one slot.

The rest of the top five was filled, in order, by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton school, Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, Harvard Business School and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

It takes real effort to fill one of the top spots -- for example, Wharton moved up a place from third in part due to an innovative approach which saw one leadership program getting students to climb a volcano in Ecuador.

Meanwhile, the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business leaped from 17th to eighth thanks to a highly-praised personal approach.

"What I was looking for in a school was getting a real learning experience, not just getting my ticket punched," one satisfied Haas student, Anders Geertsen, told the survey. "The students at Berkeley are there to learn and connect to one another."

The non-US global top 10 is dominated by Canadian business schools, which fill five places including the top three spots, taken by Queen's University, Western Ontario and Toronto. Fourth and fifth are IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the UK's London Business School.

The survey also has telling findings for a group other than the students -- those seeking to recruit them. Top companies reported having to go to ever-greater efforts to sign up the top MBA graduates.

"This definitely feels like the feeding frenzy of 2000," said JPMorgan recruiter Danielle Domingue. "The students just have more choice."


story.chicago.jpg

Top ranked: Chicago University's business school took first place in the poll.

FACT BOX

FT's Executive MBA Rankings
1. Wharton, U.S.
2. Hong Kong UST, China
3. London Business School, UK
4. Instituto de Empresa, Spain
5. Fuqua, Duke, U.S.
6. Chicago GSB, U.S.
7. Columbia, U.S.
8. Kellogg, U.S.
9. Stern, NY, U.S.
10. Cass, City University, UK
Source: Financial Times 2006

FACT BOX

EMBA SNAPSHOT

Executives taking the top EMBA courses in the U.S., Europe and Asia have average salaries of around $130,000 to $200,000.

A typical EMBA student is likely to be aged in the early 30s, with 6-10 years of working experience.

A top EMBA course can cost $100,000. Customized courses start at a few thousand dollars.

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