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Which University to choose to guarantee me the best possible salary?

Making the right choice regarding the course of study can have repercussions on the type of life we ​​will face in the continuation.
In this article I tried to understand numerically how much this choice weighs.

This can be a curiosity for those who are already in the world of work or help for those who are about to choose which University or course of study to undertake.

From the Job Pricing reports we have an overview of how much the choice of faculty affects the level of study we decide to pursue in terms of salary.

How does the level of education impact

It is interesting to note, from the graph below, that the greatest jump is observed between the three-year degree and the first level master/master’s degree. In fact, those who decide to stop after 3 years of university earn an average of 10,000 euros less than those who decide to continue their studies.

Average salary as the level of education varies
Average salary as the level of education varies

On the other hand, if we want to divide the entire population into 2 categories, we see that the difference in salary between graduates and non-graduates is around 12,000 euros per year.

Average GAS Graduates vs. Non-Graduates
Average GAS Graduates vs. Non-Graduates

Furthermore, let us not forget the possibility of redeeming the university years for retirement purposes .

The term graduate, however, is very generic.

Impact of different faculties

For this reason, let’s try to understand what opportunities are offered to us in terms of employment by dividing the University into macro areas.

In this case, I averaged the data from an Almalaurea report and reported the deviation from this average. The data refer to average salary and employment 5 years after graduation.

The analysis shows, as could be expected, that doctors, engineers and science graduates (such as Mathematics and Physics) have a higher than average average employment level and salary.

Conversely, teachers, psychologists and literature graduates are positioned in the negative part of the graph . In other words, they are the ones who have the most difficulty finding work and who are in any case paid the least.

Which university to choose: comparison of salaries for different fields
Which University to choose: salaries for the different addresses

Going even more in detail, excluding the single-cycle faculties , we see that the faculties that guarantee the greatest return are those of:

  1. Management Engineering
  2. Chemical and Materials Engineering
  3. Statistical sciences
  4. industrial engineering
Analysis on the average salaries of different faculties
Which University to choose: Analysis of the average salaries of different faculties


At this point I asked myself:

How to choose the University

Or rather, with equal faculty attending a university rather than another with different job opportunities?

So which university to choose?

Again I averaged the data to get a clearer picture. Unfortunately JobPricing, within its report, does not refer to all universities, I report here the 40 analysed.

It follows that the top 5 universities for subsequent salary are:

  1. Luigi Bocconi Commercial University
  2. LUISS Free university int. of Guido Carli social studies
  3. Politecnico di Milano
  4. Catholic University of the Sacred Heart
  5. Turin Polytechnic

While the 5 worst are the Universities of:

  • Calabria
  • Cagliari
  • Messina
  • Naples Parthenope
  • Florence
Which university to choose for salary?
Which University to choose: Postgraduate salary

It should be emphasized that the universities mentioned above are not grouped by faculty .

In fact, both Polytechnics and generic Universities characterized by scientific and humanistic subjects are grouped together.

The average shown above must therefore be seen with a critical eye: we have seen above that engineers are the category that has an average higher salary .

Analyzing the data, it can also be seen that the Universities located within a strong working fabric are also those that give the greatest economic returns.

Even with the same city, choosing one university rather than another can lead to differences .

Comparison between Universities of the same city
Comparison between Universities of the same city

The following graphs, on the other hand, are intended to show which universities guarantee a better career, in terms of position (manager, middle manager and employee)…

Post-graduate career
Which university to choose: Postgraduate career

.. and in terms of salary growth from 25-34 year olds to 45-54 year olds.

Post-graduate salary growth
Which University to choose: Salary growth

What are the benefits of doing an MBA?

I’ve often wondered if doing an MBA was worth it . For those who want to give a boost to their career this has always been considered a fundamental step.

Let’s try, as usual, to give numbers to quantify this decision using TOP MBA data .

I went to see the data relating to what are considered the best Full time MBAs in Europe. To these I have added the only Italians in the list .

It can be noted that the placement 3 months after the end of the various Masters is over 80% . It should be investigated in detail why the Insead (considered the best MBA in Europe) turns out to be the one with the lowest percentage of placement among those reported.

Comparison between European MBAs
Comparison between European MBAs

Furthermore, the heterogeneity of the salaries obtained immediately after the achievement of the Master is well known.

If we want to stay in Italy, we have that the Bocconi Full MBA , with a fee of about 45% higher than the 3, returns an average of 35% more salary than the average .

Comparison MBA Italy
Comparison MBA Italy

Finally, a Forbes article relates different MBAs in terms of:

  • Salaries before and after MBA
  • How much has the salary increased after MBA
  • Years needed to repay the cost of the Master’s


Comparison between International MBAs
Comparison between International MBAs

In conclusion

Using the data on the average salaries relating to people who have achieved certain qualifications, I went to calculate a very simplified break even .

That is, I went to calculate the break-even point between the integrals of the RAL considering the different ages at which one enters the world of work.

Break Even considering various study paths
Break Even considering various study paths

From this simplified calculation it emerges that:

  • The three-year degree is not very convenient compared to a high school diploma
  • The break even between high school diploma and master’s degree occurs on average after the age of 45.

In this regard, Job Pricing does a very similar exercise to give us further input on the problem of which university to choose.

In fact, it shows us a table that indicates how many years it takes for a graduate to balance the income of a non-graduate considering that the latter starts working 5 years earlier .

In other words, the following parameters are considered:

  • Average salary of the graduate profile in a specific university
  • Remuneration for the same age of a non-graduate profile

It does this through a parameter called U_P_I : University Payback Index.

Which University to choose based on the University Payback Index
University Payback Index

It is understood, therefore, that the choice relating to which university course to choose can really influence one’s future in terms of lifestyle.

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Francesco Barba

Ingegnere e sommelier, fiero sorrentino appassionato di finanza personale e ottime bottiglie. Scrivo di finanza personale e risparmio sul blog di cui sono co-founder guidaglinvestimenti.it

Questo articolo ha un commento

  1. Diego

    Tempo fa facevo un calcolo diverso per gli anni di break even: considera che un laureato non parte da “0” a iniziò carriera, ma parte da un negativo, soprattutto se fuori sede.
    Confrontavo un diplomato che iniziava a lavorare come operaio in fabbrica (10k netti all’anno di “soldini“ messi da parte all’anno: 50k in 5 anni) contro un fuori sede iscritto alla Bocconi (-12k netti all’anno fra vitto, alloggio e tasse: -60k in 5 anni, se tutto va bene) . Il risultato era che, a 5 anni dal diploma, il gap era di 110k€. La conclusione era che il gioco valeva la candela se il primo stipendio di un Bocconiano fosse stato di 2k netti al mese: allora poteva iniziare a convenire. Che ne pensi?

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