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Consultants lure MBA interns with better pay than investment banks

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Choosing an internship should never be about the money, particularly for MBAs who likely have a fairly clear plan in place for their career. That said, who isn’t curious about what other people are taking home during their internship? And if you are struggling between two different industries, like say investment management and investment banking, compensation isn’t the worst tiebreaker in the world.

Below is recently released data from New York University’s Stern School of Business. It details the average weekly base salary its students earned during their internship, categorized by industry. These are internships that students who are scheduled to graduate in 2015 undertook between their first and second year in business school.

 

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The main takeaway is that MBA interns make fairly strong salaries in most industries, though it’s important to point out that Stern is a top 10 U.S. business school on most lists, so adjust your expectations accordingly. It’s ranked the third best U.S. graduate school for getting a job in finance on one list. We rank it as the ninth best school for getting a job in investment banking globally.

Plus, as Stern is located in the heart of New York City, most students likely worked close to home where wages are inflated to help meet the cost of living. Stern didn’t break the class down by city, but noted that 83% of students interned in the Northeast. Roughly 94% worked in the U.S.

Not surprising, consulting and investment banking lead the list, though the average consultant actually made less in 2014 than it did a year earlier. In 2013, the average consultant earned $2,324 a week, which would work out to just over $120k annually. Pay for investment banking interns remained flat year-over-year.

It’s also interesting to note that the median and the average weekly base salary for investment bankers are nearly identical, meaning pay for interns is fairly uniform across the industry. That’s not true with consulting, where there are clearly high and low earners. This makes sense though, as consulting has a clear top tier – Bain, McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group, which pay very well – and then everyone else.

One surprise is that pay for investment management/hedge fund interns is relatively poor, with an average of just $1,329 per week. Prorated, that works out to around $70k. This could be due to the fact that the buy-side is rather enticing at the moment and firms don’t need to pay top dollar, but most likely it’s because strong hedge fund salaries were weighed down by more traditional brokerage and money management firms that don’t pay as well. Hedge funds pay graduating MBAs more than any other industry, so it would make sense that they take care of them during an internship.

As would be expected, the number of Stern students who accepted investment banking internships is declining. In 2012, roughly 32% entered investment banking. That number fell to 27% in 2013 and 25% last summer.

The sample size outside of the U.S. is extremely small – just 6% of the 395-person class, or around 24 people – but those who interned overseas didn’t do all that well financially. The 2% of people (likely 8) who worked in Europe earned an average of just $867 per week, with the high only reaching $1,100. That’s worse than the average of any industry in the U.S., with the exception of not-for-profit employers.

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