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Corporate Strategy

Corporate strategy – what does it mean, really? The basic function may appear similar to consulting, but with a few key differences. To learn more about the ins and outs of a post-MBA position in corporate strategy, read on!


The average starting salary for an MBA working in corporate strategy is $118,040. This base rate lies in the 71st percentile of all MBA grads, and is boosted with various bonuses. While the average stock compensation of $4,730 lies low in the 43rd percentile, the average miscellaneous compensation (profit sharing, etc.) is above average at $4,591. All together a typical starting compensation package lands just above average – in the 52nd percentile at $170,362. However, if you plan to pursue a strategy position within a startup, expect slightly lower rates. The average salary for a corporate strategy MBA in a startup (seed stage through Series C, although these roles are more prevalent in later-stage companies) is $112,364 and a typical compensation package totals to $130,308. When reviewing an offer for a post-MBA position, remember that it is possible to negotiate your offer. Our database revealed an increase of about $6,000 in compensation packages for MBAs in corporate strategy who successfully negotiated.  


Compensation Breakdown
Salary $118,040
Bonus $18,832
Signing $18,171
Misc Comp $4,591
Relocation $5,998
Stock Comp $4,730


MBAs working in strategy positions report a work-life balance on par with the average for all MBA grads. The typical work week for this function is 52 hours, and employees can expect to travel 27% of the time. This balance would be enticing to any grad, but consultants in particular seem to be drawn to corporate strategy functions. In fact, 27% of MBAs working in corporate strategy positions come from a consulting background. The progression between these two functions is a natural fit, as they share many of the same tasks and skills. The lightened travel load in corporate strategy is also a vast improvement over the consulting industry’s traditionally heavy travel schedules. To learn more about the typical workweek of a consultant – and see which firms report travel times has high as 80% – check out our Consulting Career Guide.


Our 250,000+ data points not only reveal better than average salaries and work-life balance, but employees in corporate strategy positions also ranked their satisfaction above other grads. At 7.1 out of 10, overall happiness is above average. While the “impact of work” rating for corporate strategists may be on par with average, companies such as Infoblox boast nearly perfect impact scores from their employees. Of the four satisfaction metrics collected, average company culture for MBA grads working in corporate strategy ranked the highest at 7.3 out of 10 points.


Corporate Strategy Average
Happiness 7.1 6.7
Impact of work 6.9 6.9
Recommend 7.2 6.7
Culture 7.3 6.8


It isn’t uncommon for the satisfaction scores of interns to be lower than their full-time counterparts, but this was not the case for MBAs working in corporate strategy. Interns in this function rated their happiness, impact of work, and recommendation identically to those in full time positions. While average satisfaction scores are favorable across the board, corporate strategy interns at Genentech rate their happiness, impact, and recommendation as a perfect 10/10. Interns in Discover Financial Service’s Strategic Internship Program also enjoy their experience, and rate their “impact of work” at 9/10. The average total compensation for an MBA intern in corporate strategy is $89,213 which is made up largely from the average base salary of $86,611. The typical compensation package in corporate strategy is a bit below the average for all MBA interns, but positions in the function also come with better work-life balance. The average workweek of 48 hours is a bit shorter than average, and the typical travel time of 11% is also less than the internship average.


About 3 out of 4 full time corporate strategy positions are held by men, which is a little higher than the average gender distribution in MBA programs. Female enrollment in all MBA programs increased only 4% between 2011 and 2015, but schools such as Yale, Tuck, and Kellogg boast the highest rates of female enrollment at about 40%. Our data representing over 5,000 employers also reveals that satisfaction in corporate strategy positions is equal between men and women.

MBA grads working within the corporate strategy function work internally with a single company, while consultants will perform some of the same tasks for external clients. Since the function of corporate strategy is relevant for all businesses, positions for MBAs exist across many different industries. The technology industry – split between software and hardware – accounts for one of the largest percentages of MBA strategy positions. Opportunities exist across nearly every industry, but female MBA hiring is more concentrated in the consumer products and retail industries while men reported positions most often in the tech industry. To see average compensation and satisfaction scores for corporate strategy positions by industry, sign up here and visit the Career Explorer.


Industry Breakdown
Software 19
Retail 16
Hardware 13
Healthcare Services 12
Energy-Petroleum 11
Diversified Financial Services 10


Just as the industries hiring MBA corporate strategists vary, so too do the companies. A few top companies can be compared below, and you can learn even more about companies by visiting the Career Explorer. Of the companies listed below, BP manages to offer the highest compensation while also reporting the shortest workweeks. Conversely, Walmart matches the lowest salary with more hours worked per week.


Total Compensation Average Salary Average Hours Average Overall Happiness
BP $228,600 $122,000 45 8/10
Walmart $175,098 $99,000 55 7/10
Infoblox $260,500 $175,000 50 8/10
US Bank $202,000 $144,000 50 5/10


MBAs interested in corporate strategy can get ahead early by joining university clubs and organizations, such as the Strategy & Business Development Club at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Membership in strategy organizations give MBA students access to networking, career panels, interview prep, workshops, and visits to companies that hire into corporate strategy roles. Once you’ve landed an interview for a corporate strategy role, be sure to properly prepare. Interviews for these positions will typically involve case studies so that you can show off your problem solving skills on the spot. After you’ve aced your interview and secured your spot, be sure to sign up for free here and use our Benchmarking tools.


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