Where Harvard MBAs Work & What They Do

Where do Harvard MBAs work and in what industries?

With its wealth of membership data, LinkedIn is now providing a glimpse into this answer. Of course, not all Harvard MBAs are registered with the professional networking site so it’s an obviously incomplete list. Even so, the data provides an interesting window into the most likely employers of Harvard MBAs as well as the most likely industries that attract its graduates.

Source: LinkedIn membership data

Not surprisingly, the number one employer of Harvard MBAs is McKinsey & Co, which according to LinkedIn data, has 507 consultants who are LinkedIn members with MBAs from the school. In fact, the top three firms are all consulting firms. McKinsey is followed by Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Co.

How does this compare with some of the other elite schools? Wharton, of course, has far greater representation among financial firms. Five of the top eight employers of Wharton MBAs, for example, are investment banking firms: No. 2 Goldman Sachs, No. 4 Citicorp, No. 5 Morgan Stanley, No. 7 Merrill Lynch, and No. 8 J.P. Morgan. According to LinkedIn, Merrill Lynch has four times as many Wharton MBAs to Harvard, 237 versus 62, as of December, 2012.

What does seem surprising, however, is that the biggest brand company with the most Harvard MBAs is IBM, with 254 LinkedIn members.

The number one industry for Harvard MBAs is finance, with 4,222 members. But number two is also a surprise of sorts: entrepreneurship. Some 2,959 LinkedIn members say they have an MBA from Harvard and have identified themselves as entrepreneurs. Business development is third with 2,687 LinkedIn members.

Harvard MBAs: Where They Work & What They Do


Company LinkedIn Members Industry LinkedIn Members
McKinsey & Co. 507 Finance 4,222
Boston Consulting Group 310 Entrepreneur 2,959
Bain & Co. 262 Consulting 2,345
IBM 254 Marketing 1,950
Deloitte 198 Operations 1,809
Goldman Sachs 186 Sales 1,541
Google 174 Administrative 1,494
Microsoft 173 Information Technology 930
Cisco Systems 114 Product 772
Morgan Stanley 102 Human Resources 671
Citicorp 94 Engineering 602
Hewlett-Packard 85 Creative 565
Novartis 81 Public Relations 510
Credit Suisse 74 Support 335
Accenture 72 Legal 269
Ernst & Young 72 Medical 252
Oracle 71 Accounting 251
Bain Capital 69 Buyer 131
PriceWaterhouseCoopers 63 Real Estate 95
Merrill Lynch 62
Booz & Co. 61
Amazon 60
Johnson & Johnson 55

Source: December 2012 LinkedIn membership data

Related Stories:

Where Stanford MBAs Work & What They Do
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Where Chicago Booth MBAs Work & What They Do
Where Kellogg MBAs Work & What They Do
Where Columbia MBAs Work & What They Do
Where MIT Sloan MBAs Work & What They Do
Where Tuck MBAs Work & What They Do

  • prusd

    So does the capital go towards paying off their loans? Or does the VC capital go towards the business idea? Or both? I really don’t know. If VC’s will give capital to start a business and pay down MBA loans at the same time, that sounds great. That makes b-school much much more amenable for someone like me.

  • RV

    Interesting point..

  • John A. Byrne

    I actually cleaned that up already, eliminating the business school as an employer when it was among the top employers.

  • RV

    Thanks for the response, John.

  • Argh

    It’s because students put their school as their current employer in LinkedIn. Although there are probably some alumni working there, I suspect this would have been cleaned up for the data here.

  • JohnAByrne


    Good question. Wish I knew the answer. One of the problems with these search-generated lists of networking sites is that you almost get some odd result pop up. On the other hand, Stanford is a hard place to leave. The sway of those palm trees can have an impact on you. And the university also will likely show a preference for its own grads in hiring.

  • heyholetsgo

    I’d like to hear more about that too…

  • RV

    I have a question — on the Stanford post John said there are 131 Stanford grads working at Stanford. Here in the Harvard post — Harvard University is not even on the list as an employer. I find it strange that the biggest and most (arguably) prestigious school hardly employs its own MBA grads (at least according to the list) but Stanford employs 131 of its own grads! There is something that just quite doesn’t add up here. I’m hoping John might be able to sort this one out.

  • B-Schooler

    HBS grads, like Stanford GSB grads, have access to VCs who’ll give them capital. That’s how the do it.

  • Derk

    I mean total alumni to those active on linkedin

  • Derk

    I think it would be productive to provide a percentage breakdown of both total active these schools alumni to those active on linkedin, as well as percentage in each bracket. Harvard might have the most kids at McK, but percentage wise Wharton or both might have more. Also, Wharton might have more MBA’s active on linkedin-which can be interpreted in many ways (those at bigger firms more likely to be on linkedin, missing those at smaller, etc…),

  • prusd

    I’m still waiting for the Poets and Quants article on how MBA graduates actually become entrepreneurs after they graduate? I’d like to have an MBA and be a successful entrepreneur, but I’m terrified of the 100,000+ or so of loans? I guess the Harvard MBA grads are wealthier, received scholarships, or possess some superhuman gene that allows them to do whatever they want in life. Sigh…