MU grads earn third biggest paychecks

While the economy may still be making the job market a tough place for college graduates, Marquette graduates have something to look forward to in terms of salaries.

Marquette was recently ranked third among Wisconsin colleges that have the highest mid-career paychecks after graduation.

Marquette graduates have an average starting salary of $46,200 and an average mid-career salary of $85,200, according to a research conducted by PayScale Inc., a Seattle based company that surveys compensation across the country.

Rounding out the top five schools on the list were the University of Wisconsin-Platteville at number five, the University of Wisconsin-Madison at number four, Milwaukee School of Engineering at number two and Lawrence University at number one. The survey ranked 21 schools total throughout the state.

According to the survey, Wisconsin schools ranked significantly lower than top schools nationwide. Leading the list of highest mid-career salaries was Princeton University at $130,000. Wisconsin’s school with the highest salary after graduation — Lawrence — averaged at $89,700.

Wisconsin’s data was part of PayScale’s 2011 College Salary Report survey that ranked hundreds of schools by the salaries of their graduates 15 years into their careers. Of 2,400 bachelor’s degree-granting schools in the U.S., the survey included 1,003 of them.

According to its website, PayScale took data from graduates with only a bachelor’s degree who were full-time employees in the United States. Their salary is defined as, “the sum of compensation from base salary, bonuses, profit sharing, commissions and overtime, if applicable, but does not include equity (stock) compensation.”

Schools chosen for the survey were located in all 50 states, offered bachelor’s degrees and had a high level of employees who work for civilian employers.

Matthew Myers, a career counselor for Marquette’s Career Services Center, said there are several factors that help Marquette graduates to attain high salaries.

“I think that some of the reasons Marquette graduates do well in their careers is because Marquette gives them the total package: the academics, the activities and the job preparation,” Myers said.

He added that students who graduate from Marquette are well prepared to enter the workforce.

“When students leave, they have a good idea of what they are looking for, and because of that they are able to seek out the high paying positions they want,” he said.

Derek Merten, a senior in the College of Business Administration, said his internship experience at Marquette helped him get a job offer lined up for after graduation.

He was not surprised that Marquette graduates earn higher wages.

“My job came out of my internship that I got from the accounting internship program,” Merten said. “The program connects students with quality internships, and I think that is an asset for Marquette students.”

Ashley Christopherson, a 2010 graduate of the College of Communication, agreed that Marquette graduates have an advantage over others looking for a job.

“Marquette education holds a certain amount of prestige in southeastern Wisconsin, and because of that, I think many employers pay employees who graduated from Marquette to reflect that,” Christopherson said. “I think that many people in Wisconsin, and especially in Milwaukee, understand and respect the level of work that goes into getting a degree from Marquette.”