One of the predominant concerns MBA aspirants have about pursuing a business graduate education revolves around post-MBA salaries. US News has recently released a ranking of the US business schools boasting the best-paid graduates.

Investing in an elite MBA

Gaining an MBA from these schools comes at a price. At the 20 best schools in US News’s most recent ranking, you will fork out at least USD 100,000 to earn your MBA. At an elite school such as Harvard Business School or Wharton School, the total two-year bill will be upwards of USD 300,000, including tuition, fees, and the opportunity cost of not earning a wage.

The good news: the return on investment is worthwhile. At an Ivy League school, average starting salaries and bonuses more than cover MBA tuition.

At institutions such as Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Darden School, the pay package exceeds USD 150,000. Over time, the full cost of an MBA is recouped—and then some. The average annual base compensation of Stanford graduates of USD 144,455 surpassed last year’s all-time high by about USD 4,000. The average annual signing bonus rose by nearly USD 3,000 to a record USD 29,534. Interest in finance inched up a point to 32% and consulting gained four points to reach 20%.

Read: How to Use the MBA Rankings​

How top MBAs improve post-MBA income

The wage tends to be bigger at schools ranked the highest overall, as they often have the best career services and alumni networks, which can help graduates land top jobs. Salaries are also high at schools where a large proportion of students aim at historically well-paid sectors, such as finance and consulting.

Angel Pu landed a job at New York private equity firm Warburg Pincus. She told Business Because that an informal investing group of classmates helped her. “We would pitch investment ideas and teach each other based on our past experiences, and help each other get better. It was a group of very impressive and awesome people who I’m sure will accomplish amazing things. And, of course, we all became really good friends.”

The Stats and Facts

Here are the 19 US business schools with the highest MBA salaries, based on data from US News’ latest MBA ranking:

Salary Rank School Tuition Average Salary And Bonus
1 Wharton USD 70,200 USD 159,815
2 Stanford USD 68,868 USD 159,440
3 Harvard USD 72,000 USD 158,049
4 Darden USD 62,342 USD 153,576
5 Tuck USD 68,910 USD 152,805
6 Cornell USD 63,894 USD 152,207
7 Columbia USD 71,544 USD 151,849
8 Chicago Booth USD 69,200 USD 151,085
9 Michigan Ross USD 67,300 USD 150,052
10 MIT USD 71,000 USD 148,451
11 Duke Fuqua USD 65,665 USD 147,857
12 Berkeley Haas USD 59,811 USD 146,752
13 Kellogg USD 68,955 USD 146,259
14 NYU Stern USD 69,086 USD 146,024
15 Tepper USD 64,000 USD 145,463
16 Washington: Foster USD 47,541 USD 143,674
17 Emory: Goizueta USD 59,000 USD 143,410
18 UCLA Anderson USD 58,458 USD 141,197
19 Texas: McCombs USD 51,804 USD 141,197

Source: Business Because