MIT’s Sloan School vs. Harvard Business School

Jobs and Pay:

The Class of 2009 graduated into one of the worst job markets in recent memory. As the stats show, roughly 30% of Sloan School grads didn’t have jobs at commencement. Harvard fared much better, but even the HBS numbers weren’t comforting: nearly a quarter of the class lacked jobs at graduation. Grads from both schools fared much better three months after commencement, but these numbers are rare lows for the two of the best business schools in the world. Starting pay for MIT grads is fifth highest among U.S. B-schools, after Stanford, Harvard, Dartmouth, Northwestern, and Michigan. The estimates of median pay 20 years out and over a full career come from a study by PayScale done for BusinessWeek and do not include stock options or equity stakes by entrepreneurs.

Job & Pay Data MIT Harvard
Starting salary & bonus $125,707 $131,219
MBAs employed at commencement 69.5% 76.8%
MBAs employed 3 months after commencement 83.4% 87.3%
Estimated median annual pay & salary 20 years out $176,000 $230,000
Estimated median pay & bonus over a full career $3,049,280 $3,867,903


Where MBAs Go:

With Wall Street in near total collapse during 2009, the big, global consulting firms stepped up to take a large percentage of the best graduates at the top business schools. This was especially true at both Harvard and MIT which saw record numbers of MBAs go into prestige management consulting positions. More than a third of MIT’s graduating class of 2009 took consulting jobs, three times as many at those who went into investment banking.

Industry MIT Harvard
Consulting 33.2% 26%
Investment Banking 11.3% 6%
Software/Internet 10.1% 4%
Computers/Electronics 7.7% 3%
Investment Management 4.9% 5%
Autos/Aerospace 4.5% 1%
Healthcare/Pharma 4.0% 7%
Oil/Energy 3.6% 2%
Financial Services 3.2% 4%
Starting Own Business 3.0% 3%
Retail 2.8% 3%
Hedge Funds, VC, PE 2.8% 16%
Telecom 2.4% NA
Consumer Packaged Goods 1.6% 5%
Transportation/Defense 1.2% 2%
Non-profit/Government 0.8% 7%
Media/Entertainment 0.4% 4%


Who Hires Who:

Unfortunately, Harvard is one of the very few business schools which declines to report on its major employers. As a result, it’s not known which firms hire the most Harvard MBAs, though you can be sure that the elite MBA players, McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Monitor, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorganChase are high on top of the list. Truth is, it’s hard to imagine a better degree that opens doors more widely than a Harvard-stamped MBA. At MIT, the big, major consulting firms carted away the largest groups of students, making McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and Deloitte the top four employers of Class of 2009 Sloanies. Not surprisingly, technology companies love MIT as a primary hunting ground: Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, and United Technologies all hired five or more of Sloan’s MBAs; Amgen, Biogen, British Telecom, Genzyme, Google, Hubspot, IBM, Infosys, Intel, and Novell all hired three to four grads each. (MIT does not breakout specific numbers of hirers for companies that employ fewer than five of its graduates).

Hiring Company Number of Hiresat MIT Number of Hiresat HBS
McKinsey & Co. 24 NA
Bain & Co. 10 NA
Boston Consulting Group 8 NA
Deloitte Consulting 7 NA 6 NA
Barclays Capital 6 NA
Apple 6 NA
Microsoft 6 NA
Cisco Systems 5 NA
Fidelity 5 NA
Goldman Sachs 5 NA
L.E.K. Consulting 5 NA
United Technologies 5 NA
  • GoldmanBoy

    It’s like comparing a C-Class Mercedes Benz to a Bugatti Veyron as far as the MBA world is concerned. Bugatti is HBS.

  • George Bush

    What the hell where you thinking Harvard? The worlds biggest idiot responsible for the mess in middle east which includes ISIS as your most famous alumni?!?

  • Bog

    Regarding networking, I agree! However, history
    seems to disagree with you regarding who is hiring who… MIT produces entrepeneurs, HBS produces CEOs.

  • CJ

    I noticed that, too. When I hear “entrepeneurial venture” I think “fancy word for company”. But maybe this is not the case.

  • Excellent article on MIT vs. Harvard comparison. I was lucky to attend both, getting my Masters at MIT and my doctorate at HBS. Having been at both schools almost seven years ( five for the doctorate) I can validate most of what the article mentions. Some additional considerations:
    • The teaching at both schools is simply outstanding, HBS of course, mastering the case method and MIT having excellent lecturers. Many Harvard doctoral students (myself included) preferred to take some required non-case courses at MIT.
    • The MIT culture is much more casual and open.For example, I was allowed to take graduate economics and political science courses as electives in the second year. Harvard cannot be beat in facilities and networking.
    • In some fields at times MIT has dominated Harvard. In Finance for example, at one point MIT had several future Nobel Prize Winners and superstars doing work in Finance ( Merton, Samuelson, Scholes, Modigliani, Black, Myers). Its only real competition at the time in Finance was Chicago. Most of what is taught in the field now was developed at MIT.
    In summary, you cannot go wrong with these two schools!!

  • Alex

    I like the statement from MIT that they don’t want fresh grads to rush out and start companies. I entirely agree having done that mistake. So the numbers some times don’t tell a full story. I think MIT should not dilute themselves just to get the stats up and so should HBS.

  • Htun Naing

    Hello John,
    I want to know about Harvard’s admitted percent of international students. Do international students compete with US students for seats or is there any quota for international students? Thanks for wonderful article MIT vs Harvard.

  • Bruce Vann

    Can’t you do that without a degree?

  • kindergartenteacher

    Oh my I wish I had a degree from either so that I could poke fun at the intelligence of either Sloanies or HBS folk in the future, and do it with a straight face

  • Ken

    To Spencer Maxwell. I would much rather have access to an “only-HBS” alumni network rather than to a Berkeley-MIT-Caltech “full-network”. Those HBS alumni will help you get into VC/PE, then help you establish your own company and once you are there you can eventually hire a bunch of “Sloanies” to do the grunt work nobody wants to do.

  • Jon

    Can we reconcile the apparent discrepancy between those two statements?
    “At MIT, possibly because of the technical bent of many of its students, about 10% start entrepreneurial ventures out of Sloan.”
    “about 3% of Sloan grads start their own companies before or immediately after graduation.”

  • Brentwood

    To Spencer Maxwell… HBS grads do have access to the entire Harvard alumni… you posted incorrect info.

    We use the general Harvard alumni website in addition to the HBS alumni website.

  • amitabishnoi

    very good comparative study of both. it gives a very clear picture of colleges with their plus and minus points ………….

  • Kumar

    Very nice article on MIT Vs Harvard. Provides a good perspective into their 2-year programs. Are there any rankings for business schools that offer a 1-year full-time program?.

  • Spencer Maxwell

    on alumni networks

    mit grads have access to the entire mit database of alums

    hbs grads only have access to the business schools alums

  • I graduated from Sloan in 2004, and can attest that the core, or the first semester there, is as “militarily” focused as can be–when I worked at the Cap Group (i.e., in investment management) in California over the summer after my first year at Sloan, I actually had to explain the minutiae of cash flow projections and analyses for a fellow Harvard MBA who also was doing her summer internship at this company with me, and who had been a 3-year analyst at Morgan Stanley. The bottom line is that Sloan is extremely challenging from a technical standpoint, independent of your previous academic background (I had an MIT Masters of Engineering degree before attending Sloan), and the school ensures that in order to graduate from it, you must be grounded in the fundamentals of business boot camp–I would say more so than any other of the top B-schools. Basically all Sloanies, without exception, are extremely well versed with numbers as well as with concepts and qualitative issues. When Sloan lets a “poet” in, the school makes sure that his or her quantitative GMAT score is very high, so that this person will be well adjusted in Sloan’s quantitative environment; I also was surprised to find out that many of my Sloan cohorts had Master’s degrees (as in my case) and even PhD’s, primarily from top schools.

  • MIT is a sensational school. I can understand why you’d want to know a lot more. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing a lot more information on all the top schools, including in-depth profiles of individual schools such as MIT.

  • Good Analysis…Want to know more,more and more about MIT as I’m from Engineering background and I always consider MIT as my ‘Theater of Dreams’.

  • s g

    Very useful article. Most articles about B-schools (especially the ones published by the schools themselves) are full of words like “innovative”, “ethics”, “leadership”, and “transformative”. In other words, you have no idea what a school is going to be like. This article has enough detail (grading policies, class size, etc) to let me know what Harvard or MIT would really be like.

    Looking forward to more articles like this one.

  • J Asalde

    Incredible article. Congratulations!

  • Varun

    Amazing analysis and loads of interesting information about the schools. Nice work here.