One MBA graduate last year struck gold to the tune of a $467,000 payday. Others, meanwhile, had a much harder time establishing financial footing.
Those figures are according to a Poets & Quants report compiling the highest and lowest base salaries of 2015 MBA graduates, based on business school employment records. The highest reported MBA starting compensation came in at a whopping $467,000, more than 50 percent higher than the next highest base salary last year.
The sum went to a private equity employee who graduated from Columbia Business School, whose graduates last year saw a median salary of $125,000. Another Columbia graduate took a $320,000 per year starting salary in consumer products.
Meanwhile, a Stanford MBA saw the lowest reported compensation. The graduate had a base salary of $18,000 at a non-profit organization in Europe, according to Poets & Quants. Last year's Stanford graduates working in non-profits enjoyed median starting salaries of $100,000.
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, meanwhile, reported a graduate with a low compensation of $24,000.
Stanford MBA graduates earning the highest salaries were most commonly employed in hedge funds, private equity, health care, investment management, and venture capital, according to the report. On the opposite side of the spectrum, "social impact" industries, like non-profits and government work, were the most common industries among the lowest reported salaries.
Though many schools reported these earning profiles, the numbers can be considered a conservative estimate due to the fact that schools attempt to protect the privacy of their graduates and prevent inflating applicants' expectations.