BCG Expanded MBA Hiring This Year

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
Booz & Co.10111611265NA
AT Kearney7NA37NANA-3*NA
Monitor GroupNANANA6NANA-3*NA
Oliver WymanNANA3NANANA-3*NA
ZS AssociatesNANANANA330NA



Goldman Sachs913177406NA
JP Morgan/Chase78133013*NA
Morgan Stanley1114104NANA3*NA
Credit Suisse121216NA203*NA
Deutsche Bank10101414NA25NA
American Express 7NA12NA73-3*NA



Firm Chicago Wharton ColumbiaKellogg Duke Michigan MIT Berkeley



FirmChicago Wharton Columbia Kellogg Duke Michigan MIT Berkeley
Johnson&Johnson NANANA81833*NA
General ElectricNANANA3NA23*NA
General MillsNANANA9NA30NA
United AirlinesNANANA5NANA-3*NA
Baxter HealthcareNANANA3NANA-3*NA
Becton, DickinsonNANANA3NANA0NA
  • ET

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

  • 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?

  • Emily

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

  • Emily,
    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

    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 🙂

  • joy

    Hi John
    I am matriculating at Ross this year and i would be 30 when classes start. Does that rule me out for MBB consulting offers? I have a consulting(5 yrs, Big 4) background and hope to continue in the profession, with a change in the kind of work (supply chain to M&A strategy and port merger integration)
    Any insights would be great!

  • Angie,

    That’s generally right. But the best schools don’t completely shut the door. They leave it open for 30+ students. It’s just a little harder. And some very good programs, such as IMD, have a median entry age of 30 or above. Generally, though, many in their mid-30s and 40s go to EMBA programs or evening programs. Career stats on EMBAs are harder to obtain because most are already employed. You would have to locate a few programs you’re interested in and then do some reporting with the school. Career service offices do help EMBAs with job searches and connecting with alums, but the infrastructure of this function still is geared to the full time student.

  • Angie


    Thank you for your insightful report. After reading the report and some of the comments above, it seems that if you are over 30, your opportunity to be accepted to one of the elite B-schools diminishes. Is that correct for full time MBA Programs?

    How about the Executive MBA Programs from these same elite schools. How do they rank compared to their full-time MBA counterparts? What is the percentage of companies hiring from them and the mean and maximum base salary paid from recent graduates?

    Looking forward to your reply. Thanks.

  • Thanks for sharing this. Very helpful.

  • John,

    Great article. The hypothesis from an earlier comment that MBA unemployment is largely caused by international students is untrue. Here’s a report from Chicago Booth that shows employment statistics by citizenship.

    Kudos to Chicago for their transparency. I guess it explains why they are number one!

    Since, profiles of full-time MBA grads at top schools tend to be fairly homogenous, I would assume that the other schools reflect similar statistics.

  • Alex,
    I wish I could. The INSEAD data is for 2009. I’ve searched high and low on the school’s website but there is no 2010 report yet. There are essential two problems in gathering and reporting this data: 1) Some schools still don’t have 2010 info published, and 2) Many schools are not nearly as transparent as an applicant would like.

  • Arthur,

    That’s interesting. I can check that out with a few of the career service folks at a half dozen or so schools. Remember, however, that these stats are based on reports from grads to the schools. Not all grads report back. If I had to guess, I would say the least likely to report back are foreign students who as you put it could be “caught out in the cold.” Let’s see what I can turn up.

  • Arthur Dullsworthy

    I was wondering if you could provide statistics that examine hiring of US citizens and permanent residents. It’s been speculated that much of the high unemployment post graduation is foreign students caught out in the cold.

  • Thanks Alex. I’ll do that.

  • Alex

    Great initiative John! You should also include some of the top-international B-schools, e.g., INSEAD. INSEAD’s career report is probably the most extensive out there and provides all the infos on career decisions and salaries, broken down by country and employment type.
    Direct link here:

    Disclaimer: I am an INSEAD alumnus but this doesn’t make the INSEAD career report any less detailed/useful.

  • Pete

    Hi John,

    I’m 30 years old. Would a matriculation age of 31 at Top 10 programs be too late to get hired by one of the mainstream recruiters? Assuming I have couple of years of experience in the same field or doing little bit of a career switch. Thank you so much.

  • Amit K

    Hi John,

    A very enlightining article. Is it possible to have these facts in a downloadable, XL format!! Will help a lot 🙂


  • Lim

    John, what about the big names of real estate industry? And which other schools, besides Wharton, offer prominent real estate program?

  • Nuy,

    HBS does not disclose this information.

  • Zach

    I am 28 and began working toward my MBA right after undergraduate school. I landed a job at a prominet investment bank. I went to a small private college without a lot of brand equity, if any because it is in such a small town in Urbana, Ohio. I am afraid I may have a rough time earning a more lucrative position due to lack of much experience. Great article. Thanks for it.

  • nuy

    why isn’t there Harvard Business School?

  • 2011MBA

    From these stats, I would rank the schools based on over all placements as
    Wharton = Kellogg > Columbia > Chicago > MIT > Duke > Michigan > Haas.
    I would also like to see the stats from Tuck, I suppose it might be between MIT and Duke.

  • Divva,
    No, it’s not too late. But I wouldn’t delay further.

  • divya

    Hi John,

    I had asked you a question in an earlier post but it seems that the article is not on the must reads section anymore..

    Is 29 on matriculation too late for a Indian woman applicant for schools such as Kellogg, Tuck or Wharton?

    Please let me know.


  • Lim,
    They will be hired. It’s simply less likely that they will land jobs through the mainstream recruiters who come to campus through career services. It’s more likely they will have to do an independent job search.

  • Lim,

    I was wondering the same thing. Admit it or not, the preponderance of b-school students are in b school for a career switch to business. There are even reports about how more and more EMBA and part time MBA programs were enhancing their career services in order to accommodate to respective program’s growing student demand. It just doesn’t seem like people are less likely to be hired in their early thirties

  • WhartonAspirer

    Wow, good stats I see Wharton, Kellogg have overall performed well across the industries much above Booth and MIT, given the discrepancy over NA.

  • Rich


    If the recruiters aren’t coming to EMBA programs and they don’t want us in our early 30s… how do we transition into business?

  • AzhakMansor

    OK, my last quest would be the one that I have always wanted to know due to my very own background: Do hiring companies value successful entrepreneurs who have had no experience working ‘for people’ at all?

  • Ashak,

    Good question. It is a little unusual to have students in their early 30s in two-year, full-time MBA programs. Getting hired by the mainstream recruiters who pass through one campus after another is definitely harder. They are there for the 26-to-28-year-old mainstream grads. But depending on your earlier work experience, you could even have an advantage. In any case, that’s why those in their 30s are often more likely candidates for executive MBA programs or part-time programs.

  • AzhakMansor

    John, is it unusual to have people in their early thirties in B-schools? If it’s not, will these people be discriminated by companies doing recruitment?

  • AzhakMansor

    Great post, better yet, make these data ‘updatable’ in light of further research. Thank you John

  • SR

    It would be useful if this can be expanded to include European schools as well.

  • Thanks Linda. If I could do it for all of the top 20, I certainly would.

  • Kudos to the schools that share this data (and contribute to true transparency) and to P&Q for putting it together in such a usable format.