USMA Among Top Colleges for High-Paying Careers in Finance, Tech and Consulting

Category: Grad News

The colleges putting graduates onto the most lucrative pathways in finance, tech and management consulting include many schools you’d expect—Ivy League schools, for instance, and top public universities.

But it also includes some surprises.

Graduates with some of the highest salaries in these fields attended schools like Baruch College, San Jose State University and the U.S. Military Academy, according to data from the Philadelphia think tank Burning Glass Institute. Their success shows that proximity to industry hubs and rigorous curricula are just as important as strong alumni networks and prestigious degrees, says Matt Sigelman, president of Burning Glass.

The rankings—which include the top 20 public and private universities for launching graduates into high-earning jobs—aim to answer: If the chosen career and the number of years in the field are the same, what effect does the undergraduate school somebody went to have on their salary?

The effect can be huge. In the first 10 years after graduation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni who go into finance average $73,608 a year in salary more than the median college graduate in the field, according to Burning Glass. The average yearly salary for MIT grads in finance in those years is around $175,000.

The average salary for the median graduate in finance through the first 10 years of their career is just over $100,000, according to Burning Glass. For alumni in tech it’s about $122,000, and for consulting graduates, $98,000.

The schools in the rankings have offered graduates an array of resources to enrich their careers, Sigelman says. Among them: Grads from Ivy League and top public schools can tap vast alumni networks. Liberal-arts alumni learned soft skills that can help them ascend corporate ranks. Service-academy graduates acquired potentially lucrative traits like perseverance and diligence. And recruiters flock to schools around Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

The top five private colleges for high-paying jobs in finance are MIT, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth College. The top five public schools are the University of Michigan; the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Virginia; the U.S. Military Academy, and William & Mary.

Gabriela Guaita Saba, a 30-year-old vice president at Goldman Sachs, says a key reason she transferred to Baruch in 2012 was that the college partnered with high-profile companies in its hometown of New York City.

“I knew nothing about finance or Goldman,” she says. “I got to know them through the student programs at Baruch.”

The Venezuelan native says she completed a capstone project in 2015 for her international-business major doing consulting work for a beauty and skin-care company. She later did an internship with the company and stayed on part-time afterward to do operations work.
Following her summer internship, she went to a conference for Latino professionals with a Latino student organization at Baruch. There she met Goldman recruiters who helped her secure an internship in operations. The Wall Street firm offered her a full-time job after she graduated in 2016.

Guaita Saba’s starting salary was $60,000 and she secured annual raises, she says. She was promoted in January to vice president in the risk-management division. The salary range for the role is $130,000 to $250,000, with pay increasing based on performance and experience in the role.
Baruch graduates in finance get an average annual pay premium of nearly $21,000 in the first 10 years of their career compared with the median salary of a college graduate in the field with equal experience, according to Burning Glass.

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