William & Mary graduates who pursue careers in finance, management consulting and law are among the highest earners in the industry when compared to graduates from the university’s peer institutions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Reporting on top colleges for high-paying finance jobs, the WSJ ranked William & Mary fifth among public universities based on experience and pay data compiled by the nonprofit Burning Glass Institute. According to that data, W&M graduates who work in finance earn about $15,500 more than the median salary of graduates from peer institutions. In a related WSJ report, W&M ranked ninth among public universities for highest-earning graduates in management consulting. That study reported W&M graduates in the field earn about $8,000 more than the median salary of graduates from peer institutions. In another report from the WSJ, W&M ranked 11th among public universities for high-paying jobs in law, with graduates earning $6,945 more than the median annually.

The WSJ report highlighted W&M as an example of a liberal arts and sciences university that produces successful graduates across a broad set of fields.

“William & Mary is a premier public research university, known for its rigorous liberal arts and sciences curriculum that provides a foundation of career preparation across all disciplines,” said Chief Career Officer Kathleen Powell. Powell is also chair of Vision 2026’s Careers Initiative, a university-wide commitment “to prepare students to thrive from their first job to their last.” Since the launch of Vision 2026, W&M has seen consistent success in career-related rankings, including being recognized two years in a row by The Princeton Review as the top public university for internships.

“It’s not surprising to see the university ranked high,” said Powell. “W&M students start with an education that is broad-based and speaks not only to the functional skills needed to be successful in their careers but to that equally important-human capability skill set — communication, listening, teamwork, growth mindset and applied creativity.” 

The WSJ reports are the latest in a series of recent rankings that have recognized William & Mary’s distinctions, including its graduate programs. Earlier today, U.S. News & World Report published its list of the 2023-2024 Best Graduate Schools. The release comes just months after U.S. News highlighted W&M’s graduate education and business schools in its rankings of best online programs. W&M’s online master’s degree in education for veterans was ranked 27th, and the university’s online master’s degree in business came in at 21st overall and 20th for veterans.

Top graduate programs

In the U.S. News rankings out today, W&M’s School of Education rose six spots from last year, ranking at 70th. W&M’s full-time MBA program was also highlighted, tying at 45th this year, up from 47th. The university’s part-time MBA program ranked 65th in the nation. Computer Science came in at 70th, Earth Science at 83rd, Physics at 78th and Public Affairs at 108th. 

U.S. News delayed the release of its graduate school rankings following a significant number of inquiries from institutions who received the report under embargo. Following a review of the data, U.S. News updated the rankings and released most of them today. The law and medical school rankings, however, are still under review and will be released at a to-be-determined date.

W&M’s business school was highlighted in several additional rankings earlier this year. The Princeton Review named the school’s full-time MBA and online MBA programs to its list of Best Business Schools for 2023, with the full-time program earning high rankings in several subcategories, including: fifth for best MBA professors, fifth for MBA program for human resources, seventh most family-friendly and eighth for most competitive students.

The business school was also included on the 2023 list of the 50 Highest Retention Scores in the U.S. for Online MBA (OMBA) by Poets & Quants, coming at 37th with a 97% retention rate. Additionally, the business school’s full-time MBA program was counted among the top 100 MBA programs in the world by the Financial Times, ranking 81st in the world and up from 94th the previous year. 

Advancing democracy

In addition to U.S. News highlighting W&M’s commitment to veterans in its online programs, several additional recent reports have recognized the university’s support for the military and efforts to advance democracy. In addition to careers, democracy ( as well as water and data) is also among Vision 2026’s cornerstone initiatives.

William & Mary overall, along with its business and law schools, are included in the 2023-2024 list of Military Friendly Schools, and all three earned gold designations in the report. Only 250 schools were selected for the gold status, which is presented to schools “for their leading practices, outcomes and effective programs.”

The university also earned a Voter Friendly Campus designation from the Voter Friendly Campus Initiative, led by the Campus Vote Project and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. According to a press release, the initiative recognizes institutions that have put into place practices to encourage student voter registration and participation.

Last fall, W&M was recognized by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge as one of the most engaged universities in the country for student voting. The university was also honored for developing the top-rated voter engagement action plan in Virginia.

Editor’s note: On April 26, All IN announced its 2023 Voting Student Honor Roll, which “recognizes college students at participating campuses who are advancing nonpartisan student voter registration, education and turnout efforts as well as ensuring equitable access to the polls.” William & Mary student Marley Fishburn ’24 was among only 175 students nationwide selected for inclusion.

, Senior Associate Director of University News