Best & Worst 2013 MBA Job Placement At Top 30 U.S. B-Schools

by John A. Byrne on

Employment Report Cover 2013-2

The optimistic vibe in MBA hiring has apparently met or exceeded expectations, according to a new study of job placement and salary data at the top 30 U.S. business schools by Poets&Quants. There was no shortage of job offers for graduating MBAs in the Class of 2013, making predictions for the upcoming year fairly upbeat.

This year, well over half of Poets&Quants’ 30-top-ranked U.S. schools reported stable or improved job placement rates. Some schools reported dramatic increases in job offers to their graduating students. The University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School saw an improvement of eight percentage points over last year so that 96.1% of its MBA graduates had job offers three months after graduation, up from only 88% last year. Along with Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business, Kenan-Flagler posted the best MBA job placement rates for a public business school in the U.S.

The biggest surprises in the study? For the second consecutive year, Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business boasted the best MBA placement record of any U.S. business school in the Top 30, with 98.1% of the Class of 2013 reporting job offers three months after graduation. That is a full ten percentage points ahead of UCLA’s Anderson School, with 88.0% of graduates having offers, or the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, where 88.7% of this year’s MBAs had offers three months after commencement.

WHARTON & COLUMBIA WERE AMONG THE SCHOOLS WITH THE BEST PLACEMENT RECORDS

Of the big name players in the MBA market, the best numbers came from two schools that have had to adjust to significant downsizing on Wall Street given their renown strength in finance. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School reported that 97.8% of its Class of 2013 had a job offer three months after graduation, the highest rate of employment at Wharton in ten years. Columbia University’s Business School also reported that an exceptionally high 97.0% had offers. After Goizueta, Wharton and Columbia had the best MBA placement records in the U.S. this year.  New York University’s Stern School, whose fortunes are also somewhat tied to Wall Street, had its best MBA placement year in the past four years, with 96.0% of this year’s class with job offers three months after commencement.

Another surprise. Both Wharton and Stanford Graduate School of Business graduates reported higher median starting salaries this year than graduates of Harvard Business School. In all likelihood, it’s the first time that Wharton’s base salaries have exceeded Harvard. The difference is little–just $5,000–but it’s a completely unexpected turn of events. Wharton and Stanford MBAs earned the highest median salaries this year–$125,000–with Harvard next at $120,000, tied with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, MIT Sloan, and UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. For Wharton, it also meant median base salaries rose for the first time in two years.

Harvard attributed the difference to the fact that HBS students are pursuing more options where they can have impact sooner rather than later. This year, for example, there was a 50% increase in the numbers of students going into the technology sector, which tends to pay less than either consulting or banking. Some 18% of the class took jobs in tech, up from 12% of the class in 2012. “For many of these folks, that meant taking an equity stake in a new or recent venture, rather than salary,” explained Kristen Fitzpatrick, who heads Harvard’s career and professional development office.

FEWER HARVARD MBAS WENT INTO HIGHLY LUCRATIVE PRIVATE EQUITY & VENTURE CAPITAL

Meantime, roughly 5% of the class took jobs in the non-profit sector, up from 3%. “They will definitely make their mark, but not win recognition for a high salary,” adds Fitzpatrick. “Beyond all this, the numbers of the class going into high-paying PE/VC firms are down–10% this year, down from 16% last year.” Add it all up and for the first time in history, Harvard grads made less than the MBAs at Wharton.

More telling than the salary numbers, however, are the latest placement stats. By and large, they confirm a strong and continuing recovery in the market for top-ranked MBA graduates. Some 23 of 26 reporting schools in Poets&Quants Top 30 report that more than nine out of every ten graduates had at least one job offer three months after graduation. The numbers are so impressive they very nearly put to rest the rather dismal statistics that came out of these same schools during the height of the Great Recession in 2009 and 2010.

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  • devils0508

    Is there a break down between domestic and international students? I was pretty much sold on attending UCLA (assuming I’m admitted), but the low placement rate is worrying. I’ve heard most people who don’t find jobs are international students (I’m a domestic student), but I’d like to see some numbers if possible to allay my fears.

  • elvasco1

    I’m not a UCLA or USC student (I attend Kelley at IU) but I lived in Southern California for quite a few years and what I found is that everyone and their dog wants to live in Southern California (and why not? it’s beautiful…) Also, CA has a ton of excellent schools. Most people coming out of UCLA (a GREAT school) are looking to stick in Southern California. Depending where you’re from, you might not know that SoCal is essentially at capacity – so there are limited jobs (as a ratio to the population) and you’re competing against students from UCLA, USC, Haas, Stanford, UC Davis, UC Irvine (I know Irvine is ranked lower but they have a very strong pull in Orange County and while SF is a draw for the Northern CA crowd, PLENTY of people are from and want to go back to SoCal), and everyone else in the country who wants to live the SoCal dream. Then if you look at a school like Emory (undoubtedly a GREAT school as well), who else are they competing with? I know Atlanta is a large city and there is great business there, but not that many people are migrating there… So when it comes to competition, you have Emory as a top school and then what, Georgia? Not a bad school, but Emory is definitely ranked quite a bit higher. You might get some drift from other states, maybe a few from UNC, but it’s nothing like SoCal.

  • devils0508

    Gotcha, that makes sense. UCLA tends to send very few people to the North East (where I currently live), only 8% I believe. Always wondered whether that was because people wanted to stay in Cali, or if they weren’t able to get jobs in NY. Seems like most people just want to stay in California from what I hear. I guess worst case scenario I can come back to NY in a management position at my current bank if I strike out in Socal.

  • JohnAByrne

    That’s a very good question. Many schools publish breakdowns and what the data generally shows is that international student placement lags domestic placement. There reasons are obvious: 1) International students who want to stay in the U.S. or elsewhere for that matter have to get a work visa and many companies don’t want to deal with the hassle of that. 2) International students who return to their home countries often have to start a search with the disadvantage of being thousands of miles away from their base. That takes extra time and effort, making it a bit more difficult.

    Interestingly enough, I noticed that a few U.S. schools this year reported slightly better numbers for international students. A good example is Chicago Booth: At graduation, 86% of domestic students and 87% of international students had job offers. Three months later, 93.2% of domestic students and 94.7% of international students had offers. That tells me that Chicago is doing an exceptionally good job of setting expectations and getting students ready for the job of getting a post-MBA job.

  • JohnAByrne

    What you say is absolutely true. But in defense of Emory, I would have to tell you that this is a school that has done everything possible–and a lot that would not be possible at most business schools due to the entrenched power of the faculty–to make sure it gets great jobs for its MBA students.

    The faculty agreed to start school a month early–in early August.

    The faculty agreed to squeeze the entire core curriculum in the first semester so that students would show up for their summer internships having taken five electives so they appear sharper to their intern employers.

    The faculty also agreed to work closely with students to help them with their job searches, turning over contacts and making phone calls on their behalf.

    And the faculty didn’t scream and yell when the administration decided to expose recruiting companies to students in August–before most MBA students even show up on campus for their programs. At a good number of schools that interaction is actually banned through “black out periods.”

    As the story points out, this is why Emory is number one. As to competition, the school does have very formidable rivals in Duke, Virginia, UNC and to a lesser extent the Georgia Institute of Technology which has a terrific, high quality MBA program. These are all highly ranked and highly competitive schools that are among the very best in the world.

    Let me put it this way: If a dean had to choose between having a Nobel Prize winner on the faculty or having one of the two or three best career services functions, what do you think most deans would choose? Sadly, the Nobel Prize winner, regardless of the person’s teaching ability or whether their research efforts have completely jumped the shark.

    Emory wouldn’t say it out loud, but my assessment is that it would rather pass on the Nobel Prize faculty member in favor of making sure its students get the best possible jobs year in and year out.

    Just my two cents.

  • Roger Smythe

    Emory is #1 because it has 133 students! Do you really think they would have a 98% placement rate if they had 250 students?

  • JohnAByrne

    The relatively small size of the school obviously has a lot to do with it. That’s why I mentioned the number of students in the story. But I will also tell you that a lot of other schools have relatively small graduating classes and that having fewer graduates actually makes it harder to place them. Why? Because the school lacks the MBA inventory for the big mainstream MBA recruiters to come to campus. So the school and its graduates effectively have to go to them–a much more difficult proposition.

  • Guest

    I heard that Georgetown McDonough has one of the best placement rate for Int’l students among top 25 MBAs!

  • LE

    Actually, I can verify that they would. I’m not sure where you got those numbers from, but there are 163 students in the 2 year full-time program, another 45 in the one year full-time program (there are usually around 50), and that doesn’t even include the part-time (evening) and executive MBA program. So, yes, they would have a 98% placement rate regardless. Also, their alumni outreach and internship placement programs are next to almost none. How do I know this? Because I’m actually an alumna of the full-time program (c/o 2010).

    Also, for those that say that there is no competition around Atlanta for jobs (which is why the placement is so high), think again. Very few students of the school actually stay in Atlanta a year past graduation (definitely less than 50%) and for those who have never lived here, it is a very transitional city–most people live here less than 5 years. I know is sounds like I’m drinking the kool aid, but it really is just a good program. I had a tremendous amount of support from the career services office and faculty all the way through the program and they really encourage the students to focus on the end-game, which is employment after graduation.

    Just a little insight from an former insider…

  • JohnAByrne

    You are absolutely right. This year, 76% of the international graduates at McDonough had job offers at graduation and 93% had offers three months later. Those placement rates exceeded its numbers for domestic students: 71% at commencement and 91% three months after graduation.

  • Orange1

    Have to hand it to Goizueta for posting these results. Also surprising is how well Columbia and NYU Stern did, considering their ties to Wall Street. Regarding UCLA and USC, interesting what @evasco1 wrote. I was working in SoCal for a bit and fell in love with the UCLA campus (Westwood will do that to you). But I was also under the impression that one of the factors with a saturated MBA market out there is that you have divisions of large companies vs. the headquarters where MBAs are more likely to be hired.

  • penn

    Just out of curiosity, how much is the University of Chicago paying this website for the publicity that it provides?

  • Stupidity@itsBEST

    a lot! I heard John is actually moved his offices to Chicago just to be close! I heard also that in fact the admission team at Booth are the editors of this website and John is been allocated a comfortable office with Herman Miller airo chair! he is just sitting there and collecting the checks!!

  • Cameron

    in fact even GeorgiaTech did well in the placement this year.

  • Ryan S.

    It’s also my understanding that USC has been going through a transition phase with their careers department, which I’m sure has something to do with. I’m also pretty sure that your employment outcomes are going to have something to do with what industry you want to go into. For example, LA is pretty big with tech so if you’re looking to get into that you’re in better shape than say.. someone who wants to go into finance.

  • Roger Smythe

    I am also an alumni. Great school, the year I came in they reduced the full-time program (that’s what we are really talking about here no? I can’t believe the statistic includes all the programs you mentioned) from ~170 to ~136 because they fell to 27th in the rankings for a number of reasons one of which was they could not place that many students. Trust me if they could place 98% of 250 students they would extend the class size and gladly take $84K per person, they can’t. i don’t know why they can’t but they seem to have realized this and found their sweet spot. Do you really think Emory is doing something superior to say Ross? If Ross reduced its class size to the 163 you cited they would have 100% placement and so would every other top 10 school.

  • PresCT

    Hi John – Michigan has actually increased from 85% to 89%, but you list them as one of the schools that has declined…did you accidentally say that? you should edit this so it doesn’t mislead people that don’t take the time to read the chart.

  • dan

    “Trust me if they could place 98% of 250 students they would extend the class size and gladly take $84K per person, they can’t”.

    FALSE. The program doesn’t want 250 student because it isn’t built for 250 students. That would be an entirely different program, would require they hire more faculty, build additional classrooms and shed their appeal as an intimate learning experience. Roger appears to have gone to a different Emory than the rest of us or just has a bad habit of saying nonsensical things.

  • dan

    Who need enemies when you have friends like Roger? If you want to hate on you alma mater on the heels of a positive article why choose to do it on a message board? Take it somewhere else.

  • Dutch Ducre

    Emory means business and as more businesses and talent move to the South, the school should continue to place well and gain more recognition vs northeast programs with brand recognition

  • Dutch Ducre

    time for an Emory/Duke Smackdown

  • Marshall S

    It would be interesting for the EMBA programs to track their career placement effectiveness. Of course, those programs are built on mostly professionals who are already working and having jobs, but many will change jobs during the course or shortly thereafter (or at least want to, if they can). I wonder if the rankings would be similar for EMBA programs?

  • Harlan

    If you are working while attending school and are having tuition paid by your employer (as most EMBA students are, unless they are self-employed entrepreneurs) then it is highly likely that your employer has required you to sign an indenture which commits you to continue working for that employer for a certain period of time (for example, 2 years). If you quit early to take another job, such agreement generally requires you to repay all, or a specified amount, of the costs of your education.

    The reason that an employer agrees to sponsor an employee for a (very expensive) EMBA is because the employer has identified that individual as having high potential for a senior-level position in the company, and is investing in that person’s development for such purpose.

    Putting yourself on the recruitment market while enrolled in an employer-paid EMBA program would be awkward, as word would likely get back to the employer that you are “looking.”

  • UofAalum

    Did Carlson at University of Minnesota report their numbers as a part of this? I think I recall them being #1 back in 2011, I’d be surprised if they had fallen to less than 82%.

  • DKS

    Hi John, I wonder if you might consider including the schools’ graduation dates in these tables? Some schools graduate early (as soon as late April/early May for schools like Ross, Cornell, and Fuqua) while others are as late as end-of-June. It would be helpful to see if the schools with later graduation dates tend to have higher employment numbers due to the added time after fall recruiting to work on their job searches. When presented in table format, it may be tempting to assume the measurement dates are all the same when there are often considerable differences, perhaps as much as eight weeks.

  • felipe rojas

    i didnt know that rice had such a strong numbers for placements

  • Canybec Sulayman

    Devils0508 please don’t worry too much about UCLA placement rate. I am a currently an MBA student at UCLA and had a pleasure to discuss this topic with the people in career services. They stated that because of a high number of UCLA grads who ignore the post-graduation survey and just plainly don’t respond the placement rate statistic tends to gravitate toward the lower end. If you want to work in California/West Coast US, Asia or South America, going to UCLA is definitely a great choice.

  • Rounaq

    Mr John, do you realise that just getting placed isn’t the sole aim of most MBA students? The pay, company and profile also do matter a lot

  • JohnAByrne

    Of course. What also matters is the education one receives, the friends one makes, and how enriched your life might be because of those two things. There is much that can’t be sliced and diced here.

  • JohnAByrne

    Among the top 25, Georgetown’s numbers show a remarkable turnaround since the Great Recession. McDonough MBAs landed average base salaries this year of $103,695, a substantial increase from the $77,168 earned in the recession-plagued 2010. Signing bonuses rose to an average of $32,022, nearly double the $16,179 average in 2010. What’s interesting, too, is that the difference in pay between a domestic and international student at Georgetown in 2010 was $2,226. This past year the difference was only $381. And the international graduates posted slightly better job offer data this year than the domestic grads. Some 93% of the international MBAs had offers three months after graduation, compared to 91% of the domestics.

  • lookingintoMBAs

    Can you shed some light on Fisher. It seems to be doing very well for its size and ranking although the median base and bonus is on the lower size. Is it a program on the up?

  • FisherUG

    Unless you want to live and work in the greater Columbus, OH region or maybe Cleveland or Cinci, Fisher probably isn’t the right program. Their high placement is probably due to pull Fisher has with local companies. The lower pay is likely due to the lower cost of living in the region and lack of national pull with large corporations and banking or consulting. Good regional program for sure. Just something to consider.

  • CarlsonKid

    Carlson was 93% for 2013, with mean of 101,880 and a bonus of 19,540. Not sure why we aren’t on the list. Maybe John has a reason?

  • JohnAByrne

    And I thought that was a secret! Not anymore!

  • JohnAByrne

    There are probably a number of other schools with similarly solid numbers. At this point, I can’t recall why Carlson wasn’t in the table because we aimed to have the top 30 schools and only were able to get 26 to provide data. It’s probably because the school didn’t report back in time for our deadline.

  • CarlsonKid

    Thanks for responding! That would make sense

  • sachj

    hi John,
    Did Simon participate ? If yes, do you have the data for how good or bad the placement was, especially for 1 year MBA program ?

  • Brett Taylor

    The data reported here is wrong and manipulated. Case 1 (UCLA): The “2013 Offers” is including both permanent US workers and non-permanent workers. I’m a permanent US worker, so obviously that is what I am looking for. At UCLA, only 62.5% of US workers looking for work had accepted jobs three months after graduation. Case 2 (Kellogg): Only 91.4% of those seeking employment had found a job three months after graduation. Not sure about permanent vs non-permanent workers. It is quite upsetting that I found two errors on this. How can these institutes perpetually manipulate the data? I don’t want to be an investment banker or a consultant, so why would I get a MBA?

  • Rutali

    Would you be kind enough to give me some names of mba schools which have high placement rates for international students? Thanks.

  • classof 15

    Can u tell what’s the reason for students who didn’t get placed.

  • JohnAByrne

    Typically, there are a variety of reasons. 1) Their job search started too late because they were unsure of what direction to go in. As a result, they failed to line up a summer internship that would lead to a job offer they wanted. 2) The job they want is simply hard to get with lots of competition. It could be a position with a top-tier consulting firm, a private equity firm or hedge fund, or a technology company that tends to hire later in the game. 3) They don’t present as well as some of their classmates.

  • Jade

    Absolute WORST MBA program is at UC Riverside. If you are from Asia, you’ll get in no matter how unqualified you may be. Do not waste your time or money at UCR; you’ll be better off at U of Phoenix. And their placement is a joke…just as bogus as their admission standards.

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