The top US colleges for high-paying careers in finance, tech and consulting

But it also contains some surprises.

The highest-paid graduates in these fields attended schools such as Baruch College, San Jose State University and the U.S. Naval Academy, according to data from the Burning Glass Institute, a Philadelphia think tank.

Their success shows that proximity to industry hubs and a rigorous curriculum are just as important as strong alumni networks and prestigious degrees, says Matt Sigelman, president of Burning Glass.

The ranking – which includes the top 20 public and private universities to launch graduates into high-earning jobs – aims to answer: If the career chosen and the number of years in the field are the same, the graduate school one attended Taken, what effect does it have? Is it on their salary?

The impact can be huge. According to Burning Glass, in the first 10 years after graduation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni who go into the finance field make an average salary of $73,608 per year, which is higher than the average college graduate in the field. The average annual salary of MIT graduates in finance over those years is approximately $175,000.

According to Burning Glass, the average salary for the average graduate in finance during the first 10 years of their career is slightly more than $100,000. For technical field alumni it is approximately $122,000, and for consulting graduates, $98,000.

Sigelman says the schools in the ranking offer graduates a range of resources to enrich their careers. Among them: Graduates of Ivy League and top public schools can take advantage of vast alumni networks. Liberal-arts alumni learn soft skills that can help them climb the corporate ranks. Service-academy graduates acquired potentially attractive qualities such as perseverance and hard work. And recruiters flock to schools around Silicon Valley and Wall Street.


The top five private colleges for high-paying jobs in finance are MIT, Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, and Dartmouth College. The top five public schools are the University of Michigan; University of California, Berkeley; University of Virginia; US Military Academy, and William & Mary.

Gabriela Guita Saba, a 30-year-old vice president at Goldman Sachs, says the main reason she transferred to Baruch in 2012 was because the college had partnerships with high-profile companies in her hometown of New York City.

“I didn't know anything about finance or Goldman,” she says. “I knew them through student programs at Baruch.”

The Venezuela native says she completed a capstone project for her international-business major while doing consulting work for a beauty and skin-care company in 2015. She later did an internship with the company and then stayed on part-time to work on operations.

After her summer internship, she went to a conference for Latino professionals with a Latino student organization at Baruch. There he met Goldman recruiters who helped him get an internship in operations. The Wall Street firm offered him a full-time job after he graduated in 2016.

Guaita Saba's starting salary was $60,000 and she received annual raises, she says. He was promoted to vice president in the risk-management division in January. The salary range for the role is $130,000 to $250,000, with salary increases based on performance and experience in the role.

According to Burning Glass, Baruch graduates in finance receive an average annual salary premium of about $21,000 in the first 10 years of their careers compared to the average salary of a college graduate in a field with similar experience.


The top private schools for high-paying tech jobs are Harvard, Princeton, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, and Yale University. The top public colleges are UC Berkeley; Naval Academy; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Washington, and Michigan.

Kevin Reed is a 32-year-old San Jose State graduate. He grew up in a community in Southern California where people didn't aspire to go to college, he says, but he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and made connections that led to jobs at Facebook and Google.

After high school he spent five years in the US Coast Guard. He then went to San Jose State in 2016 because he needed to go to a public school to use his military benefits and wanted to stay in the Bay Area.

A computer electronics and networking major, he scored valuable meetings with tech companies through the school's resource center for veterans. He landed his first internship at data-center operator Equinix after going on a company tour organized by the Veterans Center.

He says, “That's the real key to San Jose State — don't get lost in the crowd of everyone else.” “Find a community where there is leadership within the school and alumni who can connect with you and show you a path to success.”

The school's Silicon Valley location makes it a hub for tech recruiters. Reed drove for Uber during winter break and got a chance to give a ride to a recruiter at a tech company. He kept in touch with her and when she got a job at Facebook, he reached there for an internship. The internship led to a full-time job at the company, now known as Meta Platform, where he earned a starting salary of $106,000 in 2019.

“I give credit for hooking up with someone because I was in the Bay Area,” he says.

After about four years he left Meta for Google, where he works as a technical program manager. Reed, who lives in San Francisco, earns $170,000 in salary plus additional compensation that includes bonuses and stock options. According to Burning Glass, San Jose State alumni at Tech earn an average annual salary of nearly $17,000 in the 10 years after graduation.


The top private colleges for high-paying jobs in consulting are Harvard, MIT, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. The top public schools are the US Military Academy, Georgia Institute of Technology, Michigan, UC Berkeley, and Virginia.

Anthony Pinto is a 31-year-old consultant at the contracting firm Systems Planning and Analysis, where he works on projects for the U.S. Navy. Pinto says his engineering education at the Naval Academy gave him important leadership and teamwork skills that have helped him excel in his career.

He says Naval Academy students form camaraderie during intense physical training sessions and morning wake-ups. “This transfers well to business, because no one can get ahead without trusting other people,” he says, “and being able to understand this at an underlying level takes us a lot further.”

He earns $130,000 per year in his consulting work. According to Burning Glass, Naval Academy graduates receive an average salary premium of nearly $10,000 per year in the first 10 years of their careers in consulting.

Pinto graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, in 2014 and then served as a Naval Submarine Officer until last year. While he was in the Navy, he started his own real-estate investment firm that buys mostly apartment buildings.

Pinto, who lives in Bethesda, MD, still runs his own investment company in addition to his day job as an advisor. He says he makes an average of $250,000 to $300,000 a year from his company, depending on fluctuations in the real-estate market.

Kevin McAllister contributed to this article.

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Top Colleges for High-Paying Careers in Finance, Technology, and Consulting

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