Record-breaking pay for these MBAs

Move over, Harvard. Business school students at that university may have brought home the biggest salaries last year, but students from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business are making the most dough this year, landing a record-breaking pay package of $160,287 in 2015.

Wide angle view of Hoover Tower on Stanford University campus
Michael Layefsky | Getty Images

Based on research from the business and education website Poets & Quants, this median total compensation figure is 7.4 percent above last year's $149,192 total and more than $9,000 higher than Harvard's $151,211 comp number.

In its 2015 Employment Report released Wednesday, Stanford attributed the strong salary surge to the increase in the number of students receiving offers from the financial sector, especially in private equity, venture capital and hedge funds.

A rising number of Stanford MBA students receive offers in the financial industry, and 44 percent of them nab signing bonuses to accept.

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"This cohort has a very positive outlook on the market and a higher tolerance for risk," said Maeve Richard, assistant dean and director of the Career Management Center at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, in the report.

The report also noted that the strong job market allows students to defer decisions about multiple offers and even turn down offers to remain focused on searching for an ideal opportunity. MBA students accepted 86 percent of the jobs offered in 2015, down from 92 percent in 2014, according to the school's report.

"Stanford business school has the lowest acceptance rate of any school in the world," said Travis Morgan, director of admissions consulting at Veritas Prep. "They are getting the best of the best. It makes sense that recruiters in these exclusive industries are looking to Stanford students when they make their hiring decisions."

No matter what job they accept, Stanford business school students are paid well. The median base pay for Stanford MBAs working at venture capital firms hit $175,000, with another $67,500 in other guaranteed compensation. For MBAs following the private equity track, the median starting salary was $152,500, with a $25,000 sign-on bonus, and other guaranteed comp of $140,000. Given those hefty numbers, finance attracted almost 1 in 3 members in the Stanford business school class of 2015.

"I am not surprised that more students from Stanford are going into private equity and venture capital because these jobs are attractive," said Morgan. "You get this guaranteed high salary and you get to work in a cool, sexy and exciting industry. Who wouldn't want that sort of opportunity?"

Read the full Poets & Quants coverage here.