At least some people are optimistic about their salary potential these days.
Business-school applicants, on average, expect to make $133,000 after completing their M.B.A., up from their pre-M.B.A. salary of $45,000, according to the 2012 QS TopMBA.com Applicant Survey. Last year, applicants targeted $111,000 in post-M.B.A. pay.
The report, released Monday, is based on a survey of more than 4,500 business-school aspirants worldwide.
The record-high salary expectations “risk being unrealistic,” at least right out of school, warns Nunzio Quacquarelli, managing director of QS Quacquarelli Symonds, which published the report. Still, with annual bonuses taken into account, Quacquarelli says some M.B.A.s could actually land such large paychecks.
Swiss prospective students have the highest expectations, saying they expect their average salary to increase to $202,000 from a pre-M.B.A. average of $82,000. Last year, Swiss respondents reported a target salary of $182,000. (Reality check: In 2011 M.B.A. graduates from IMD, a business school in Lausanne, Switzerland, reported average salaries of $142,412.)
Prospective M.B.A.s from Brazil and Russia also expect fat paychecks — $176,000 and $168,000 respectively.