INSEAD EMBA Employment Report: Average Salaries Rise 31% After Graduation

Average Salaries Rise 31% After Graduation

Class of 2021 graduates on INSEAD’s two executive MBA programs reported a 31 percent rise in their average salary after program completion along with a 53% rice in their performance bonuses.

One of Europe’s leading business schools has released employment statistics for the class of 2021, showing strong gains where it matters most: Compensation and promotions.

INSEAD reported that after completing one of its two EMBA programs, graduates’ average performance bonuses increased 53% compared to when they started the program. Meanwhile, overall compensation increased 37% and base salaries increased 31%. That’s considerably higher than the average salary increase of 14.7% reported by the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC) in its Class of 2021 exit survey which involved more than 200 business schools around the world.

The school, headquartered in Fontainebleau, France, surveyed Class of 2021 graduates from its Global EMBA and its Tsinghua-INSEAD EMBA and received 164 responses. Of those, 68% changed employers after completing the degree, and 74% secured a higher position.


INSEAD, ranked the top international business school for the last six years by Poets&Quants, offers two EMBA programs: Its Global EMBA (GEMBA) is an intensive 14- to 17-month executive MBA, and candidates choose between one of three INSEAD campuses – France, Singapore or AbuDhabi. The Tsinghua-INSEAD EMBA (TIEMBA) grants degrees from both INSEAD and China’s Tsinghua University in Beijing. It takes 22 months to complete and students divide their time between INSEAD’s three campuses listed above as well as Tsinghua University.

The employment statistics in its report encompass both programs, and reflect student circumstances 18 months after graduation.
Of the 164 survey respondents, 114 self reported salary information.

Salaries in North America were the highest at a median of $270,000 with median performance bonuses of $83,700. They were lowest in Western Europe at a median of $126,546 and performance bonuses at $28,983.


Before joining INSEAD’s EMBA cohorts, 82% of students were managers, vice presidents or directors. Eighteen months later, the number of people reporting as C-suite executives doubled to 15%, up from 7% before the program.

Further, 55% changed one or more of the sector, function, or geography in which they previously worked.

“From internal accelerators and career switchers to aspiring entrepreneurs, the INSEAD Executive MBA participants are truly diverse with varied aspirations. Each class has an unparalleled diversity of nationalities and business backgrounds that is reflected in the career paths our graduates follow. What they all have in common, though, is their strong desire to take action towards making their dream a reality,” says Larry Medina, head of career coaching and education, in the report.


Some 11% of respondents pursued the entrepreneurial path, either creating or returning to their own companies. That compares to 7% who reported being entrepreneurs before starting the program.

INSEAD’s curriculum has a robust offering of entrepreneurship courses and electives built in, all aimed at helping students become new venture founders or startup investors. That includes more than 10 specialized electives such as Crypto Entrepreneurship, Digital Entrepreneurship, Scaling Start-ups, New Business Ventures, and others. There are also two capstone options, Accelerating Growth and/or New Venture.

In fact, a venture founded by INSEAD students topped our list of the highest-earning MBA startups for 2022. Gorillas, a company co-founded by INSEAD MBA Sukru Dagdelen, raised $1.335 billion. It was one of seven INSEAD startups to make the list, the most of any other international business school.

“INSEAD was started as an entrepreneurial venture and has grown into an internationally recognized business school for the world. Over 50% of the school’s MBA graduates become an entrepreneur or engage in entrepreneurial activities during their career – it is built in our DNA,” Professor Peter Zemsky, deputy dean and dean of innovation, told Poets&Quants this fall.

The school offers a number of entrepreneurial electives and has a number of centers and initiatives aimed at the do-it-yourselfers. At the The Rudolf and Valeria Maag INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship (ICE), students can take advantage of start-up bootcamps, venture competitions with a chance to win seed funding, and the Entrepreneurs in Residence program with over 160 experienced entrepreneurs and investors to coach students on how to move forward with entrepreneurial venture. There’s also the INSEAD LaunchPad – the first alumni startup accelerator located inside the world’s largest startup campus, STATION F in Paris.


The most popular function of INSEAD executive MBAs is general management with 28% of 2021 graduates. Another 14% work in sales and marketing functions, 11% in finance, and 10% in business development and corporate planning. Some 8% work in consulting roles, 6% in IT, and 5% in project management.

The leading industry is Tech, Media, and Telecommunications with 21% of graduates. That is followed by Financial Services at 17% and both manufacturing and healthcare at 13%.

EMBA graduates also switched scenery, with 25% moving to a different country post degree. That includes 18% of candidates from the Middle East and Africa who relocated to Europe and North America, and 8% of Asia Pacific candidates moving to Europe and the Middle East.

The most popular destinations were Singapore (23% of graduates), the UAE (14%), France (12%), and the USA (8%). Some 3% of candidates went to work in the United Kingdom, China, Germany and Switzerland; 2% went to Russia; and 1% to the Netherlands.


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