Starting Salaries for Business School Graduates

Charles Schwab said, "The man who does not work for the love of work but only for money is not likely to make money nor find much fun in life." While it's always good to love the work you do, it's also critical to make a living. Earning a business degree is the first step to a stable and lucrative career.

With your completed degree in business administration, you can expect substantial starting salaries. However, salaries vary considerably based on which degree you have and what area of business you choose to pursue. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect for each Business degree currently available.

Associates Degree in Business Administration

Associate degree programs are generally two-year programs offered by technical institutes or community colleges. They are designed to give students a general education in business, and there are many satisfying careers available to the holder of an associate’s degree in business:

Office Manager $37,380
Executive Assistant $41,850
Retail Store Manager $41,850
Administrative Assistant $29,893
Human Resources $49,821
Customer Service Representative $31,886

Bachelor in Business Administration

There are many rewarding careers available to the proud graduate of a bachelor’s program in business administration. Here is a breakdown of the various positions and their average salaries. Remember, salaries vary considerably with experience, so you can assume starting salaries are somewhat lower:

Controller (Financial) $87,777
Human Resources Manager $61,526
Project Manager, IT $78,446
Project manager, Construction $76,908
Human Resources Director $72,806
Executive Administrative Assistant $36,454
Senior Accountant $51,272

Masters in Business Administration

Just as recruiting has increased in the United States, MBA salaries also have risen—as have tuition costs. MBA graduates want a return on this substantial investment in their education, and it looks like they’re getting it. Here is a breakdown of the basic careers and starting salaries available to the holder of an MBA:

Consulting $101,736
Energy Utility $100,263
Finance $103,122
Health Care $111,477
High Tech $ 98,621
Manufacturing $ 98,417
Nonprofit/Government $ 73,125
Products/Service $ 94,558

The Business PhD

While an MBA or business administration degree can offer extensive training, they are becoming more and more common. Earning a doctorate in business can help you get ahead of the competition and land a high paying business or teaching job. Many CEO’s today have a business administration doctorate degree, but there is also a more traditional PhD program available in business as well. Here are the differences in the two degrees and the salaries available:

• Doctor of Philosophy in Organization and Management. This degree PhD program in business focus intensively on preparing candidates to conduct highly specialized scholarly research. They focus on the development of new theory in management, economics and related fields. Most holders of a business PhD become faculty at Business schools. An Associate Professor at a Business School can expect a starting salary of about $110,000 a year, with a full professor eventually earning closer to $150,000 a year.

• Doctor of Business Administration (which is not a PhD, but a DBA degree) programs focus on the application of theory rather than on the development of new theory. While also intended to prepare graduates for academic careers, the DBA, by virtue of its focus on application of theory, has more practical application in managerial settings than the PhD and can therefore has a much higher earning potential in the business world. Most CEO’s have beginning salaries in the range of $140,000, with a nearly unlimited earning potential—depending on the success of the corporation and experience.