Among 47 industries, MBA candidates ranked accounting as the lowest-paying field in a recent survey.The average expected starting salary for MBAs working in auditing, accounting and taxation was about $64,000, according to the poll of 5,000 current MBA students. Five years after graduation, the MBA candidates expected accounting-related work to pay just over $111,000.

Those figures were the lowest among the industries covered by the survey, finishing far behind the next-lowest-paying sector, academic research. MBAs in that field expected to earn a little less than $78,00 the year after they graduate, and more than $132,000 after five years.

The survey also found that:

  • Private equity, or venture capital work, topped the MBA candidates’ pay expectations list, with first-year base salaries estimated at close to $108,000;
  • Female participants said that they expected a base salary near $90,000 a year after graduation, rising to nearly $170,000 after five years. Males expected to earn closer to $98,000 and $204,000, respectively; and,
  • Management consulting remains the favorite initial destination for those pursuing MBA degrees, although Google Inc. did knock McKinsey & Co. out of the top slot this year.

Universum Communications conducted the survey, of attitudes toward various employers and professional roles, for Fortune magazine.

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