Data Shows UConn Alums Rank Among High Earners in Accounting, Finance, Law

UConn is among the top 20 public universities nationwide in which alumni who built careers in accounting, finance, and law earn more than peers who graduated from other institutions

A fall morning aerial view of the Wilbur Cross Building on Oct. 18, 2021.

(Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

UConn is among the top 20 public universities nationwide in which alumni who built careers in accounting, finance, and law earn more than peers who graduated from other institutions, according to data compiled by an organization that researches employment trends.

The data, which was reported recently in The Wall Street Journal, showed that after 10 years in their fields, UConn bachelor’s degree alumni who work in accounting have the 8th highest average salaries among peers from other public institutions; the 13th highest in law; and the 16th highest in finance.

The findings echo similar research from other sources that indicate a UConn education provides stronger returns on investment than many of its peers, and that the University prepares its students well for long-term professional and financial success.

The WSJ’s reporting was based on findings by Burning Glass, a nonprofit organization that analyzed data about experience and salaries from Lightcast, a labor-market data firm, and Glassdoor, a website used by employees to rate their companies and obtain salary estimates in their fields.

The WSJ described the rankings as a method to quantify the difference that the choice of an undergraduate school makes on future salaries, among all graduates with the same number of years in the specific field.

The data evaluated 2,025 colleges and universities, with an emphasis on business education, data science, and engineering. Public and private institutions were ranked separately so the colleges and universities could best be compared against peer schools.

The WSJ said that for each college, Burning Glass calculated the annual salary premium using the difference between the earnings of the school’s graduates in their first 10 years after graduation and the median graduate in the field.

For UConn-educated professionals working in accounting, the average salary in the decade after graduation was $75,053, the eighth highest. That represented a $7,336 premium over the median.

For those in finance, the average was $103,476, ranking as 16th highest and including a premium of $6,725 over the median.

“This data underscores the fact that a UConn business education offers a tremendous return on investment,” says UConn School of Business Dean John A. Elliott.

“Although there are many markers of a successful career, certainly the ability to command a strong salary is a universal recognition of achievement,” he adds. “Our alumni’s success reflects the quality and ambition of our students, the expertise of our faculty, and the advice and mentorship of our advisers and corporate partners.’’

In assessing the salary success of people working in legal fields, the data looked specifically at colleges and universities that the people attended as undergraduates, regardless of where they later earned their law degree.

UConn bachelor’s degree holders who later built careers in law earned an average of $118,219 at the 10-year mark after graduating, the 13th highest ranking. That represented a premium of $5,188 over the median public university graduate in the field.

The ranking is an honor both for UConn overall for the strength of its undergraduate education and for its School of Law, where many undergraduates take classes and also later enroll for their Juris doctor (JD), Master of Laws (LLM), and Doctor of the Science of Laws (SJD) degrees, and/or certificate and professional programs.

“UConn does a terrific job of preparing undergraduate students for law school, and those students comprise more than 20 percent of our classes at UConn Law. Our outstanding academic and experiential programs prepare them to pass the bar exam and pursue successful and meaningful careers,” says UConn School of Law Dean Eboni S. Nelson.

“We are extremely proud of their professional accomplishments, impressed by their many contributions to their communities, and grateful for their commitment to advancing justice, equity, and the rule of law,” she says.

The career success that UConn alumni are experiencing in accounting, finance, and law is also reflected in other fields, with starting salaries across the board immediately after graduating averaging more than $1,000 above the national average.

The financial and personal satisfaction also continues over time: The recent National Alumni Career Mobility survey of the UConn Class of 2011 found that 10 years after graduating, their overall career satisfaction was 10% higher than that of alumni from peer institutions.

Those alumni also either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I am satisfied with my career progression,” at a 10% higher rate than all institutions across the country.

And when asked if their current income was higher than the household in which they grew up, respondents agreed or strongly agreed at a rate that was 9 percentage points higher than the national average.

“These results clearly indicate the lasting value of a UConn degree and the importance our alumni place on the education they received during their undergraduate experience,” says Jim Lowe, assistant vice provost and executive director of the UConn Center for Career Development, which analyzes and reports the data.

With 69% of working UConn alumni remaining in the state after graduation, these outcomes take on even more importance for the State of Connecticut and its goals to foster home-grown economic development and innovation.

“As UConn continues to be a significant driver of the economic engine of Connecticut, our alumni have demonstrated the overall power that they bring to the state’s labor market and overall economy,” Lowe says.