Healthy increase in pay for MBAs last year

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MBA students going into investment banking in 2007 enjoyed an increase of nearly 20% in the value of their first year pay packages.

Relatively recently released figures from the London Business School (they came out in January, but went unnoticed by us at the time) show the average LBS MBA going into financial services last year commanded a package of 111.5k. This was up from 94k in 2006.

Salary made up the bulk of the swollen offering, at an average of 60.1k. But supplementary payouts were also generous - the average sign-on bonus for LBS associates was 23.2k, up from 16.8k 12 months previously. And the average end of year bonus was 28.2k, up from 20k.

Investment banking recruiters confess perplexity at the extent of the increase, saying the huge hike in MBA pay levels passed them by. "As far as I'm concerned, pay for MBAs has remained flat over the past few years," says the head of analyst and associate hiring at one US bank.

"Every year we run an anonymous survey to see how our competitors are paying and that didn't uncover any big rises last year," she adds. "It may be that some of our rivals hiked pay levels after the survey was completed."

The chances of MBA compensation increasing again this year are on par with the probability of Hillary Clinton pulling out of the primaries to take up flower arranging.

"When last year's MBA students graduated, it was the height of the market," says Logan Naidu of recruiters the Cornell Partnership. "If you're coming out this year you're going to be in all sorts of trouble."

"Interest in MBAs is really tailing off," confirms the graduate recruiter. "Investment banking and capital markets will always have a healthy level of demand for them, but markets would rather have an MSc or a PhD."