BCG Expanded MBA Hiring This Year

by John A. Byrne on Print Print

McKinsey & Co., one of the largest and most sophisticated of MBA recruiters, had a field day at Wharton this year. The elite consulting firm hired 44 MBAs from Wharton’s Class of 2010. Yet as large as that number seems, it was lower than the recruiting haul a year earlier when McKinsey snapped up 50 Wharton MBAs. No matter. Rival Boston Consulting Group more than made up the difference at Wharton. BCG hired 43 MBAs from the school this year, a dozen more than the 31 hires it took from Wharton in 2009.

These fascinating facts and more are buried in the just released 2010 employment reports of the top business schools. Not all the schools have published this data yet, and many schools fail to disclose the top employers for their MBAs as well as the specific number of recruits by each company. Nonetheless, there’s a wealth of interesting data in the few publicly released reports from such top schools as Chicago, Columbia, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Berkeley, Duke and Michigan.

This year, for example, McKinsey was the number one MBA recruiter at Wharton, Columbia, Chicago, and MIT Sloan. Besides the decline at Wharton, though, McKinsey recruited 12 fewer grads at Columbia (38 this year vs. 46 in 2009) and seven fewer MBAs from MIT (15 this year vs. 24 in 2009). Yet, at the same time, McKinsey increased its hiring at both Kellogg (hiring 32 this year vs. 26 in 2009) and Chicago (hiring 24 vs. 23 in 2009).


Of the major consulting firms, BCG seemed to be the most aggressively expanding MBA hirer. The firm increased its hiring at Kellogg (hiring 35 in 2010 vs. 23 in 2009), Chicago (hiring 19 in 2010 vs. 9 in 2009), Wharton (43 in 2010 vs. 31 in 2009), Columbia (25 in 2010 vs. 21 in 2009), and MIT (14 in 2010 vs. 8 in 2009). James Platt, a BCG partner with responsibility for MBA hiring, confirmed in an earlier news report that the consulting firm  has been growing at double digit rate rates since 2003. “BCG is continuing with our successful MBA recruiting in 2010,” he said. “We recognise the MBA as an outstanding achievement and will continue to focus on the top European, UK and US business schools.”

No other major MBA recruiter posted larger across-the-board increases with the exception of some of the financial services firms, such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, whose hiring was fueled by a recovery from the severe economic recession in 2008-09. Goldman Sachs more than doubled its hires of Columbia Business School grads this year, employing 17 vs. eight in 2009. It also hired 13 Wharton MBAs, vs. nine a year earlier, and six from MIT, up from five in 2009. Morgan Stanley, meantime, doubled its hires from both Columbia and Chicago. Ten Columbia MBAs went to Goldman this year, up from five in 2009, while 11 went to the firm from Chicago, up from five a year earlier.

BCG was the single biggest hirer of MBAs at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, employing 35 grads from the Class of 2010.  Johnson & Johnson was the number one company hiring Duke MBAs, bringing on 18, while was the single biggest employer for MBAs at the University of Michigan’s Ross School, hiring 15 this year.

Deloitte Consulting apparently found Columbia, Duke, Michigan and Berkeley to be happy hunting grounds for MBAs. The firm hired a dozen MBAs from both Columbia and from Duke and 11 from Michigan. Deloitte also hired the most MBAs from Berkeley’s Haas School in 2010, taking away 11 grads. Microsoft brought aboard eight MBAs from Kellogg this year, along with seven from Wharton, and another five from Michigan. Bank of America, meantime, hired 11 MBAs each from Duke and Chicago, 10 from Wharton, and four from Columbia Business School.


While these firms were among the largest employers of elite MBAs, they didn’t necessarily pay the highest starting pay packages. The highest reported salary by a Class of 2010 MBA came from a graduate of Stanford who went into the private equity/leveraged buyout field. That person, anonymous in the pile of combined statistics on salaries of grads, told Stanford he landed a job at an unidentified private equity or LBO firm paying a salary of $330,000 a year. Another Stanford MBA won a job with a venture capital firm for $250,000 a year, while yet another joined a hedge fund for a $200,000-a-year salary.

At Harvard Business School, private equity firms were among the highest paying recruiters of MBAs as well. The median salary for an MBA going into private equity this year was $135,000, but some Harvard grads were paid much more. The school reports that the 75th percentage of the range of salaries among MBAs going into private equity was $185,000. The median signing bonus was $35,000, while the median additional guaranteed compensation was a whopping $155,000. Of course, these firms tend to recruit fewer MBA candidates–typically fewer than the fingers on one hand–and only at the most elite business schools.

See results below for the big MBA recruiters (An asterisk indicates that a company hired at least three MBAs. When a minus sign appears before a 3 and an asterisk it indicates the company hired fewer than three MBAs.):


Firm Chicago Wharton Columbia Kellogg Duke Michigan MIT Berkeley
McKinsey 24 44 38 32 7 13 15 7
BCG 19 43 25 35 8 6 14 5
Bain 15 18 17 17 4 5 12 NA
Booz & Co. 10 11 16 11 2 6 5 NA
Deloitte 10 7 12 NA 6 11 3* 11
Accenture 4 7 NA 7 3 9 0 NA
AT Kearney 7 NA 3 7 NA NA -3* NA
Monitor Group NA NA NA 6 NA NA -3* NA
Cambridge NA NA NA 4 NA NA 0 NA
LEK Consulting NA NA NA 4 NA NA -3* NA
Infosys NA NA NA 3 3 NA 3* NA
Oliver Wyman NA NA 3 NA NA NA -3* NA
ZS Associates NA NA NA NA 3 3 0 NA



Firm Chicago Wharton Columbia Kellogg Duke Michigan MIT Berkeley
Goldman Sachs 9 13 17 7 4 0 6 NA
JP Morgan/Chase 7 8 13 3 0 1 3* NA
Morgan Stanley 11 14 10 4 NA NA 3* NA
Credit Suisse 12 12 16 NA 2 0 3* NA
Deutsche Bank 10 10 14 14 NA 2 5 NA
Citigroup 13 11 10 NA 1 8 3* NA
UBS 7 9 12 NA 3 7 -3* NA
Barclays 16 7 8 NA 4 2 5 NA
BofA/MLynch 11 10 4 3 11 1 3* NA
American Express 7 NA 12 NA 7 3 -3* NA
Wells Fargo NA NA NA NA 4 NA 0 NA



Firm Chicago Wharton Columbia Kellogg Duke Michigan MIT Berkeley
IBM 8 13 6 NA 1 1 3* NA
Samsung NA NA 5 4 8 NA 3* 3
Microsoft NA 7 NA 8 NA 5 6 NA
Apple 4 NA NA NA 6 NA 6 3
Dell NA NA NA NA 5 2 -3* NA
Genentech NA NA NA NA 3 NA 3* NA
Amazon NA NA NA 8 4 15 6 9
Cisco 4 NA NA 4 NA 6 3* NA
Intel NA NA NA 4 NA NA 3* NA
Symantec NA NA NA 4 NA NA 0 NA
Hewlett-Packard NA NA NA 3 NA 0 0 3
Google NA NA NA NA NA 2 3* 3
Yahoo! NA NA NA NA NA NA -3* 4



Firm Chicago Wharton Columbia Kellogg Duke Michigan MIT Berkeley
Johnson&Johnson NA NA NA 8 18 3 3* NA
Medtronic NA 6 NA NA NA NA -3* NA
General Electric NA NA NA 3 NA 2 3* NA
General Mills NA NA NA 9 NA 3 0 NA
P&G NA NA NA 6 2 1 0 NA
Heinz NA NA NA NA 6 NA 0 NA
Wal-Mart NA NA NA 5 5 NA -3* NA
Anheuser-Busch NA NA NA 5 NA NA NA NA
PepsiCo NA NA NA 5 NA 2 -3* NA
Target 4 NA NA 5 NA 2 -3* NA
United Airlines NA NA NA 5 NA NA -3* NA
Mars NA NA NA 4 NA NA -3* NA
Nissan NA NA NA 4 NA NA 0 NA
Eli Lily NA NA NA 3 NA NA -3* NA
Emerson NA NA NA 3 NA NA -3* NA
Del Monte NA NA NA 3 NA NA 0 3
Danaher NA BA NA 3 NA NA 0 NA
Baxter Healthcare NA NA NA 3 NA NA -3* NA
Becton, Dickinson NA NA NA 3 NA NA 0 NA
Dow Chemical NA NA NA NA NA 3 0 NA
Sun Power NA NA NA NA NA NA 0 5
Chevron NA NA NA NA NA NA 0 3
Bloom Energy NA NA NA NA NA NA 0 3
Novartis NA NA NA NA NA NA 5 NA
  • Emily

    I graduated in ’08, at the height of the economic downturn, but managed to land a few positions gaining experience in project management, operations, sales/merchandising, and now SEM/SEO for CPG brands at a start-up company. I am unable to enroll in an MBA program until next fall, but by then I will have a little more work experience to hopefully get into a top-rated program.

    My question is: If I am interested in landing a position in consulting at one of the major firms, how likely is it that they will hire me having only an undergraduate degree? I studied management and graduated cum laude if that also adds anything to my potential standing…

    Thank you! I just want to get a feel for how hard I should pursue this without first earning my MBA :)

  • John A. Byrne

    I would try really hard to get into a consulting firm now. The reason: you could spend a couple of years at a firm and then get the company to pay for your MBA education as many of them do. Deloitte would be a good bet, I think. But essentially I would make this your six-month campaign: creating folders on every major consulting firm that recruits MBAs and therefore also has positions for “analysts” and “associates” before they go to business school, and then working hard to get through the doors. If your campaign doesn’t work, then you can go to business school and use the MBA as a path into consulting. Good luck.

  • Emily

    Thanks for your prompt response, John! I am very enthusiastic about pursuing this and really appreciate the advice.

  • Edward

    To expand on Angie’s question; I am in a similar situation, where I am currently 29 years old with 8 years of experience in B2B business development, looking to matriculate in fall 2012 (at the age of 30) at one of these top full time MBA programs. What makes this goal a “a little harder” for people like me?

  • ET

    You only show US schools always. Why are you biased? 

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