Foster #1 for best MBA salary to debt ratio among top 30 schools

Foster students in dress attire

As MBA graduates’ average debt rose above $100,000 for many top-ranked U.S. schools, the average debt of Foster School MBAs dropped to $32,047 from $35,104 last year. Foster graduates also benefited from one of the highest job placement rates in the U.S., at 98%, and an average salary and bonus of $133,299.

Among the top 30 schools in U.S. News & World Report, Foster is #1 for immediate return on investment with an average salary and bonus-to-debt ratio of 4.16. U.S. News & World Report average debt data shows a narrowing gap between high salaries and high debt at many of the top-ranked schools.

Full-time MBA programs average debt to salary and bonus ratio – top 30 schools

 Business SchoolAverage Salary & Bonus to Debt ratioAverage Salary & BonusAverage DebtJob Placement Rate 3 months after graduation

Washington (Foster)





Arizona State (Carey)2.34$116,575$49,85995.1%
Georgia Tech (Scheller)2.32$122,303$52,73894.5%
Texas, Austin (McCombs)2.26$135,194$59,86089.2%
Rice (Jones)2.21$131,829$59,71381.2%
Emory (Goizueta)1.90$138,864$73,17893.1%
Indiana, Bloomington (Kelley)1.83$128,637$70,14694.0%
Ohio State (Fisher)1.79$114,643$64,14593.3%
UCLA (Anderson)1.74$140,457$80,80687.7%
Notre Dame (Mendoza)1.66$122,791$74,06889.7%
Washington U (Olin)1.60$115,830$72,19496.3%
UC Berkeley (Haas)1.60$140,067$87,54689.7%
Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross)1.42$145,926$102,66591.8%
Virginia (Darden)1.41$150,823$106,71090.2%
Vanderbilt (Owen)1.41$129,587$91,81390.1%
N. Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)1.38$131,908$95,58290.4%
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)1.38$140,289$101,66785.2%
Duke (Fuqua)1.32$144,799$109,96091.6%
NYU (Stern)1.26$145,413$115,86191.8%
MIT (Sloan)1.18$143,565$121,82292.5%

Source: U.S. News & World Report
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Some schools did not provide average debt information

U.S. News & World Report ranked Foster #4 of 129 business schools in 10 MBA Programs Where Grads Make More Than They Owe. Of the short list of programs with the best salary-to-debt ratios, Foster’s Full-time MBA Program is the only program where graduates earned six-figure salaries.

Lower debt = a wider range of career opportunities

The Foster School is one of the most affordable schools in U.S. News’ ranking of the top 30 MBA programs. “As a business school in a leading public university, we believe offering a first class graduate business education while still keeping the tuition at a reasonable level is part of our public mission,” explained Dan Poston, assistant dean for master’s programs.  “Also, we know graduating from an MBA program with a large debt often limits post-MBA career options. High debt can preclude a graduate from pursuing intriguing opportunities in entrepreneurial ventures or in smaller enterprises trying to launch new technologies. Our region’s economic growth benefits from channeling more great talent into these types of ventures rather than creating a barrier to such options.”

According to Poets and Quants’ most recent data, Foster was one of only three nationally ranked schools with average salaries over $110,000 and average debt at 30 percent of salaries or less. Forbes’ Best Business Schools rankings reported the average debt from surveyed MBA students was $80,000. MBAs from just the top 10 U.S. business schools left campus with a mind-boggling $317.4 million in graduate loans, according to Poets and Quants.

MBA applicants increasingly concerned about student debt

Increasing debt influences MBA applicants’ choices of schools according to the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants. The AIGAC found that 41% of 2016 survey respondents indicated their initial choice of schools was “partly influenced” by affordability and that about 21% switched MBA programs based on cost and access to financial aid.

“We are seeing a lot more concern about debt among MBA candidates, and rightly so,” Poston emphasized. “The likely debt is often a factor in an applicant’s choice of schools. To me, this is a good sign that someone is thinking like an MBA already.”

Greater access to MBA financial results

To help MBA applicants evaluate schools based on outcomes as well as financials, the Foster School created the free MBA Rankings Calculator with licensed data from U.S. News, Businessweek, The Financial Times and Forbes. Applicants can create their own MBA ranking by weighting up to ten metrics, including career results, reputation, low average debt and ROI.

Learn more about Foster’s current rankings.

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Foster #1 in job placement of top 30 schools – U.S. News ranking
Foster outpaces elite schools for MBA technology hires