Strategize for your future: 10 MBAs With the Most Financial Value at Graduation

New graduates at these schools made more than three times their debt, on average.

Source: US News
By Delece Smith-Barrow
The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search. Many college graduates are drowning in student loan debt, but graduate students often feel the financial pinch, too. In the 2012-13 school year, graduate students borrowed an average of $17,230 in federal loans, according to a report by the College Board.

Business school graduates who borrowed money to pay for their education often have a starting salary that’s barely higher than the debt they owe. But there are several institutions where students make three or four times their debt following graduation, making loans easier to pay off.

[Weigh trying a MOOC before an MBA.]

Louisiana State University—Baton Rouge is one of them. At the school’s E. J. Ourso College of Business, the average starting salary for full-time 2012 graduates three months after graduation was $59,762; the average debt for full-time 2012 graduates who borrowed was $8,181. With graduates on average making about 7.3 times their student debt, Ourso offers the best financial value after graduation, according to data submitted to U.S. News by 99 ranked schools.

Other schools with a high salary-to-debt ratio include the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University, with a salary-to-debt ratio of 3.49, and the University of Texas—Dallas, where new graduates on average make more than five times what they owe in student debt.

Of the 99 ranked schools that submitted data to U.S. News, the Crummer Graduate School of Businessat Rollins College offered the lowest salary-to-debt ratio. The average salary for 2012 graduates was $48,253, and the average debt for students who borrowed was $59,169.

[Compare online and on-ground top business schools.]

Rollins is one of many schools labeled as RNP that submitted data. U.S. News calculates a rank for RNP institutions, which are ranked in the bottom one-fourth of their rankings category, but has decided not to publish it.

Some schools designated RNP were included in the list of 10 institutions with the highest salary-to-debt ratio. One example is University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. On average, 2012 graduates of the school made more than four times the average debt held by those who borrowed, which was $18,303.

Below is a list of the 10 universities where graduates likely had an easy time managing their student loan debt. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report

Business school (name) (state) Average starting salary Average student debt Salary-to-debt ratio U.S. News b-school rank
Louisiana State University—Baton Rouge (Ourso) $59,762 $8,181 7.305 61
Auburn University (AL) $57,169 $8,500 6.726 75
University of Texas—Dallas $78,107 $15,500 5.039 37
Texas Tech University (Rawls) $52,127 $12,365 4.216 RNP
University of Scranton (PA) $75,983 $18,303 4.151 RNP
CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College (Zicklin) $77,652 $18,827 4.125 75
University of Massachusetts—Amherst (Isenberg) $82,900 $20,447 4.054 51
San Diego State University (CA) $70,622 $18,320 3.855 86
University of Oregon (Lundquist) $61,140 $16,950 3.607 91
Brigham Young University (Marriott) (UT) $95,721 $27,425 3.49 30

Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Business School Compass to find salary information for recent graduates, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed 448 schools for our 2012 survey of business programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’s data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Business Schools rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’s rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The salary and debt data above are correct as of Jan. 21, 2014.

Corrected on : Clarified 1/23/14: This article has been updated to clarify student debt averages.

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