Average Harvard Graduate Will Make $60,000 In Their First Job, And Other Crimson Trivia

While the annual Harvard senior survey of graduating students always provides an informative glimpse into the past, present and future of graduates from the US’ most prestigious (whether or not this is deserved is a different question) institution, the topics most interesting for us and our readers revolve, not surprisingly, around money.

Here are the key observations of what students in all “non-Harvard” universities across the nation may be missing (or not).

First, work plans:

  • 61 percent of graduates will be employed next year. 18 percent will enter graduate school right away. The rest will pursue fellowships or travel or are among the 10 percent who have not yet determined their post-graduation plans.
  • Of those who will be working, the most popular industry is consulting, drawing 16 percent of employed seniors.
  • Another 15 percent will be working in finance, nearly doubling the 9 percent who entered the sector last year but still paling in comparison to 2007, when before the financial crisis, 47 percent of graduating seniors went into finance. However, of the respondents only 5% said they will still be working in finance ten years down the line. Hilsenrath’s take on what this means for Bernanke’s “taper” is unavailable as of this posting.
  • 9 percent envision a career in government or politics, though only 4 percent will pursue one right away. Of course, Harvard grads will feel right at home at a place like Goldman where the fields of financen and government are finely fused into one inextricable union.

More importantly: cash, which at least to the non-trust funders and children of royalty and assorted oligarchs among the Harvard graduating class, is still somewhat important.

  • The average employed graduate will make roughly $60,000 in his or her first year out of Harvard, according to the survey results. But salaries vary tremendously across industries.
  • Among students working in consulting, the most popular field, 72 percent expect to earn between $70,000 and $90,000.
  • In the nearly equally popular financial sector, salaries are even higher—a full 21 percent of students entering that field will earn more than $110,000 in their first year on the job.
  • And technology can be still more lucrative—almost half of students entering the field will make $90,000 to $110,000 in their first year, and some will make even more.
  • For the 12 percent of employed students who will work in education—largely thanks to the popularity of Teach for America—70 percent expect to make between $30,000 and $50,000. Another 15 percent will work for less than that, and 9 percent do not yet know their salaries. Only 6 percent expect to earn more than $50,000, and none more than $70,000.
  • Salary differs noticeably between male and female students. Men are much more likely to appear in the highest pay brackets than women: Of the students who expect to earn more than $110,000 in their first year of work, three-quarters are male. Of those who will earn $90,000 to $110,000, men represent nearly two thirds. And those numbers come from a pool of respondents which included more women than men, suggesting that the true tallies are in fact slightly more weighted in men’s favor.
  • But industry alone does not explain the wage gap. Among students entering finance, men are still nearly four times as likely to earn more than $110,000 per year, and three times as likely to earn $90,000 to $110,000. Admittedly, the sample sizes are small. But the same holds true in consulting. And in technology and engineering, 79 percent of men expect to make more than $90,000, compared to just 44 percent of women in the same field.

And finally, miscellaneous:

  • Men like porn so much that 52 percent of them watch it online at least once a week. 14 percent of male students have never watched porn at all. But among women, just 6 percent watch porn as frequently as the majority of the men, and 63 percent have never watched any.
  • 9 percent of the class has used drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, which are prescribed for attention deficit disorders but often abused by students who hope the pills will help them focus on their studies.
  • 16 percent of the class has tried at least one of cocaine, ecstasy, mushrooms, LSD, and other illicit substances. Very large majorities of those who have used these drugs first tried them after starting college.
  • The survey also questioned students about their sex lives, finding that 72 percent enroll at Harvard as virgins and 27 percent graduate without having sex.


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