The last vestiges of a grueling New England winter are melting away at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. The nearby Connecticut River is no longer frozen, and the small piles of snow that remain scattered on the rural New Hampshire campus are mostly a reminder of an especially frigid season.
Already, the roughly 280 second-year MBAs are looking ahead—beyond the June 7th investiture and into a highly promising future. At a time when U.S. unemployment remains stubbornly high and there is heavy concern over the economy, life is awfully good at the Tuck School—as it is at all of the very best business schools in the U.S.
The vast majority of the Class of 2014 have had job offers for weeks, if not months. Offers and acceptances are ahead of last year’s strong results when 91% of the graduates ultimately had job offers at graduation and 95% received offers three months later. And this year’s compensation is just as good, if not better than 2013 when the median base was $115,000, with a sign-on bonus of $25,000 and other guaranteed compensation of $30,000—not including relocation, tuition reimbursement, stock or carried interest.
‘A PHENOMENALLY FROTHY JOB MARKET’
“The job market is phenomenally frothy,” says one second-year who is headed to Silicon Valley for a job with a startup. His goal: To work for a tech pre-IPO startup with a valuation of at least $1 billion and fewer than 300 employees. The MBA found 38 companies that met his criteria and interviewed with ten of them thanks to his Tuck credential.
This year, a typical Tuck student had campus interviews with seven different recruiting companies, and a record 20% of the class has accepted offers from just three firms which pay among the highest starting salaries in the world for freshly minted graduates: the so-called MBB, McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group. Students say that McKinsey is taking 27 of Tuck’s graduates this year, with Bain scooping up more than 20 grads.
“The students feel positive and optimistic,” agrees Jonathan D. Masland, director of career development at Tuck. “We’ve had five straight years of better, better and better.” This year’s success in the job market, moreover, has been universal. International students, in fact, have higher offers of employment than domestic for the first time ever by a couple of percentage points, adds Masland.
‘WE’RE PRETTY HAPPY PEOPLE HERE’ SAYS A STUDENT
Many of the graduates have successfully made career switches. One student is transitioning from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to a consultant for McKinsey & Co. Another student is making a “quadruple switch,” changing industries, functions, geography and language. The MBA is going from a bank in Mexico to Amazon’s retail leadership program in Seattle.
“We’re pretty happy people here,” says Sprague Brodie, 27, a former Deloitte Consulting analyst who will graduate from Tuck in June. Brodie has accepted a new role with Deloitte Digital which will reimburse her for two years worth of MBA tuition. Without the degree, she believes it would have been far less likely for her to have made the transition from Deloitte’s government consulting practice in Washington, D.C., to its digital consulting arm.
Even students who are racking up massive student loans express no regret. “I feel like I’m Charlie in the Chocolate Factory and got the golden ticket,” quips Kensington Schmidt, 29, a first-year student who says she will leave Tuck with $250,000 in student loans, including debt from her undergraduate studies at Babson College. But Schmidt, now weighing internship offers from two tech firms, has interviewed with a wide range of tech companies, including Amazon, Symantec, Intel, Microsoft, and Verizon. “There is no way in hell many of these companies would have looked at me a year ago.”