/>
X

Best cities for MBA graduates

If you are an MBA graduate considering relocating for your career, consider these ten cities for their high average salaries, quality of life, and economic promise.
Written by Matthew Sweeney on

Are looking to relocate after earning your MBA? Different cities offer differing advantages for transplants with business degrees. One way to kick start a great career in business is by moving to a city with a growing population, good economic health, and high salaries. The best cities for MBA graduates offer both economic advantages and good quality of life.

This is where we come in. Stay on this page for our guide to the 10 best cities for MBA graduates in the nation.

Best cities for MBA graduates

Cost of living, economic outlook, quality of life, and proximity to other major cities are all factors to keep in mind when looking for the ideal city to kickstart a business or career. 

The following list represents some of the most promising metropolitan areas for graduates of online MBA programs looking to start a career in a new home. In each of these cities, you can find work in project management, fintech, retail, marketing, or advertising. The census data on this page is from 2019, the economic data is from 2020, and the cost of living data is from 2021.

1. Boston, MA

Boston tops many lists of the best cities for MBA graduates partly because many top companies in business and financial services call it home. These companies include Fidelity Investments, State Street, and Boston Consulting Group. While the cost of living is high, salaries are comparable to New York City. Many transplants enjoy the city's rich history and fast pace.

  • Population: 675.647
  • Median age: 32.6
  • Median MBA graduate salary: $82,485
  • Cost of living vs. San Francisco: 18% lower
  • Percentage of local workforce in business: 20%
  • Percentage of black-owned businesses: 4.1%

2. Denver, CO

Denver's high wages and passionate outdoor culture draw many to this high-elevation Western financial hub. Many Fortune 500 companies reside in or near the city, including Western Union, DaVita, and Arrow Electronics. Additionally, organizations for management professionals such as the Mile High Young Professionals, SMPS Colorado, and the Colorado Nonprofit Association provide support.

  • Population: 715,522
  • Median age: 34.7
  • Median MBA graduate salary: $77,065
  • Cost of living vs. San Francisco: 38% lower
  • Percentage of local workforce in business: 17%
  • Percentage of black-owned businesses: 3.5%

3. Charlotte, NC

Charlotte is a good choice for MBAs specializing in financial management. Bank of America is headquartered in Charlotte. Wells Fargo, Truist Financial, and Fifth Third Bank operate large corporate branches there. The city also offers business professionals the support of Business Leaders of Charlotte, Charlotte Business Group, and Charlotte Networking Professionals.

  • Population: 874,579
  • Median age: 34.2
  • Median MBA graduate salary: $75,705
  • Cost of living vs. San Francisco: 47.4% lower
  • Percentage of local workforce in business: 16%
  • Percentage of black-owned businesses: 16.4%

4. Austin, TX

Austin's popularity among business professionals has exploded due to its vibrant culture, thriving tech and business scenes, and low COL. Some of Austin's community resources and professional organizations open to MBA graduates include the Austin Human Resource Management Association, Women Communicators of Austin, and Austin Young Chamber.

  • Population: 961,855
  • Median age: 33.9
  • Median MBA graduate salary: $74,127
  • Cost of living vs. San Francisco: 46% lower
  • Percentage of local workforce in business: 17%
  • Percentage of black-owned businesses: 3.6%

5. Minneapolis, MN

The Minneapolis-Saint Paul area is an attractive option for business graduates specializing in supply chain management and project management due to the large number of massive corporations that call it home. Target, UnitedHealth Group, and 3M are all headquartered in or near Minneapolis, and they all have made strides in hiring specialists in sustainable management, too.

  • Population: 429,954
  • Median age: 32.2
  • Median MBA graduate salary: $78,752
  • Cost of living vs. San Francisco: 41.9% lower
  • Percentage of local workforce in business: 16%
  • Percentage of black-owned businesses: 5.6%

6. Washington, DC

Our nation's capital is another great place for MBA graduates to start a career. Federal government, international business, and construction jobs make up much of the job market. Stantec, FTI Consulting, and Marriott International have headquarters there, making Washington, DC a great destination for future global business specialists.

  • Population: 689,545
  • Median age: 34.3
  • Median MBA graduate salary: $79,570
  • Cost of living vs. San Francisco: 22.7% lower
  • Percentage of local workforce in business: 25%
  • Percentage of black-owned businesses: 20.3%

7. Baltimore, MD

Baltimore has built up a reputation as a great city for business. It is also one of the best cities for minorities to start a business. Resources for minority and women business owners in Baltimore include the Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Resource Center, and Baltimore Together. Geico is headquartered there.

Population: 585,708

Median age: 35.9

Median MBA graduate salary: $79,683

Cost of living vs. San Francisco: 35.3% lower

Percentage of local workforce in business: 17%

Percentage of black-owned businesses: 21.5%

8. Richmond, VA

Richmond, Virginia has risen to prominence in recent years due to its lower-than-average COL and supportive business community. The area's top employers include CarMax, Capital One, and Patient First. Professional organizations MBA graduates can take advantage of include in Richmond include the Accounting and Financial Women's Alliance, PMI Central Virginia Chapter, and the Richmond Ad Club.

  • Population: 226,610
  • Median age: 34
  • Median MBA graduate salary: $73,472
  • Cost of living vs. San Francisco: 46.8% lower
  • Percentage of local workforce in business: 17%
  • Percentage of black-owned businesses: 18.6%

9. San Diego, CA

San Diego also earns high marks as a destination for MBA graduates due to its high quality of life and healthy economy. The city's organizations for business professionals include San Diego SHRM, AMA San Diego, and APICS San Diego. San Diego has an exciting environment for companies in technology, retail, and restaurants and breweries.

  • Population: 1,386,932
  • Median age: 35.4
  • Median MBA graduate salary: $76,740
  • Cost of living vs. San Francisco: 19.9% lower
  • Percentage of local workforce in business: 17%
  • Percentage of black-owned businesses: 3.3%

10. Seattle, WA

Seattle offers a high quality of life, with vibrant nightlife, great food culture, and an active tech scene. The area's top industries include information technology, retail, and clean technology. The city's resources for business professionals include the Greater Seattle Business Association, the Washington Banker Association, and Black Dot. Amazon and Microsoft have headquarters in Seattle. 

  • Population: 737,015
  • Median age: 34.7
  • Median MBA graduate salary: $88,384
  • Cost of living vs. San Francisco: 17.5% lower
  • Percentage of local workforce in business: 15%
  • Percentage of black-owned businesses: 4.1%

Building a business career in a new city

If you are an MBA graduate starting out in a new city, you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of building a career. You can make it easier on yourself by taking some simple steps towards your ideal career path:

  • Research top employers in the areas and what business careers they might offer
  • Check local job listings daily
  • Access help from local professional organizations, and attend local events they host
  • Network with other recent transplants

Above all, don't hesitate to put yourself out there and cast a wide net. Keep an open mind while searching for high-paying business careers in your specialty.

Remote work

Remote work has become more common in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including for management, finance, and organizational administration-related roles. The following roles can be done remotely:

  • Project manager
  • Social media manager
  • Product manager
  • Online promotions manager
  • Compensation and benefits manager

Remote work offers many advantages. Earning an MBA salary without having to pay for commute and transportation expenses can make it easier to live in an expensive city such as Boston, San Diego, or Sacramento. Take advantage of remote work whenever possible.

Conclusion

As you give serious consideration to relocating and building a career in a new environment, remember that your journey will take time. Don't get discouraged if you move to a new place and cannot immediately secure your dream job. Building a great career is a process.

Related

Scholarships for MBA students
A black college student raises her hand in a classroom.

Scholarships for MBA students

MBA
Best tuition-free online colleges: Top options for 2022
A long-haired person in hiking clothes leaps into the air on a beach in Washington.

Best tuition-free online colleges: Top options for 2022

Education
Microsoft to acquire foreign cyberthreat analysis vendor Miburo
microsoftbuysmiburo

Microsoft to acquire foreign cyberthreat analysis vendor Miburo

Cyber Threats