These 30 European universities have the highest-paid graduates (and they're not the ones you think)

 
Emma Haslett
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The UK's top universities don't necessarily yield the best-paid graduates (Source: Getty)

That much-coveted place at university might not actually earn you as much as you hoped: new research shows UK institutions are disconcertingly far down when it comes to the eventual salary of their graduates.

The figures, put together by salary benchmarking site Emolument.com, show graduates from the universities traditionally seen as the UK's top two - Oxford and Cambridge - aren't necessarily the UK's best-paid.

While Switzerland's University of St Gallen has Europe's best-paid graduates, earning a median of £160,000, London Business School is the top-paid university in the UK, with a median salary of £102,000. That's followed by the London School of Economics, whose graduates are paid £85,000.

It's worth pointing out the survey took into account both bachelor's and master's degrees - which will push up the average for the universities focusing on post-graduate degrees.

Read more: Top think tank says big bucks for graduates may be about to end

The European universities with the best-paid graduates

University Country Median Pay
1 University of St. Gallen Switzerland £160,000
2 University of Zurich Switzerland £140,000
3 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich Switzerland £135,000
4 Zurich University of Applied Science Switzerland £127,000
5 London Business School UK £102,000
6 HEC Paris France £97,000
7 MINES ParisTech France £91,000
8 Ecole Polytechnique France £88,000
9 ESLSCA Business School France £86,000
10 London School of Economics UK £85,000
11 ESCP Europe France £84,000
12 Ecole des Ponts ParisTech France £83,000
13 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands £83,000
14 Bristol University UK £82,000
15 Cambridge University & Judge Business School UK £82,000
16 Oxford University & Said Business School UK £82,000
17 Ecole Centrale Paris France £81,000
18 Imperial College London & Tanaka Business School UK £75,000
19 Maastricht University Netherlands £74,000
20 Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management Belgium £73,000
21 EM Lyon France £72,000
22 ESSEC France £71,000
23 Leuven University Belgium £70,000
24 City University London & Cass Business School UK £70,000
25 Warwick University & Business School UK £69,000
26 Catholic Institute of Business Administration Comillas Spain £68,000
27 EDHEC Business School France £67,000
28 Bocconi University & SDA School of Management Italy £66,000
29 University of Lund Sweden £66,000
30 Paris Dauphine University France £65,000

The figures suggested Swiss grads earn 40 per cent more than their UK peers from top universities - although the cost of living in Switzerland is also significantly higher - at 125.7 on the cost of living index, compared with the UK, which is at 72.7.

"The question of return on investment is at the forefront of most students' mind when they look to enroll on a course," said Alice Leguay, co-founder of Emolument.com.

"Being mindful that masters' fees tend to be higher than bachelor's, they clearly drive high pay levels upon graduation. Some universities also see a high proportion of their students start their careers in the high paying financial sector, with a clear aim: pay off their debts and polish off their formal education with hands on experience before moving to other horizons."

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