Hi Tim -- I'll directly answer your question but then also comment on other factors related to your specific profile that you might want to consider.
In the scenario you outlined, where the candidates from both schools were qualified and likely to succeed in the role, then generally
the salaries won't be significantly different just because one candidate went to a "Top 5" school. The competitive difference is in normally the act of getting hired in the first place. If the company wants *you* over the other candidate, then in many cases it won't make much difference where you went to school (esp. for IT consultancy or project management type roles).
However I qualify my answer with the reality that the answer varies by industry and from hiring company to hiring company. In industries where competition for candidates is fierce and the potential hiring company isn't as likely to "win" a Top 5 school candidate, then "yes" they might decide to offer that candidate a higher salary to try and win them over. I've seen this happen where companies feel like they're hiring against companies far more desirable than they are.
Now onto my unsolicited comments about your background/profile. The Top 5 schools are attracted to military profiles in general, and officer profiles especially, because of the "real world" leadership challenges you've already faced and leadership skills you've developed. Also your background brings a very different set of life experiences and "voice" into the classroom, which many of the top schools are looking for.
So I'd suggest you want to think long and hard about what you really
want to do with your life and career and if/how an MBA can help you get there. Part of the "secret" to getting into a top school is having a clear sense of your career goals, a deep understanding of what knowledge/skill/experience gaps you're trying to close (by attending school), and how that specific school is best positioned to help you succeed.
Please PM me if you'd like to explore this privately in a one-on-one conversation -- more here to discuss than I can effectively convey in a discussion board response.
Let me know if you have other questions!
If you find my response/post useful then please give it kudos!
MBA Prep School
San Francisco, CA