Highest Job Offer Rate In Nine Years At Cornell

Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management

Some 94% of this year’s crop of MBAs at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management had job offers three months after graduation, up two percentage points from a year earlier and the highest job offer rate in nine years. For Cornell, this is significant achievement after the school’s job offer rate fell to 83% in 2010 during the midst of the Great Recession.

In releasing its 2016 MBA employment report for its two-year MBA graduating class of 292 students, Cornell also noted that average base salary was up slightly by 2%, or $2,128, to $121,228, just enough of an increase to qualify as the highest MBA salary level ever at Johnson. That follows a bigger $8,000 jump in 2015. Average sign-on bonuses, received by 81% in the Class of 2016, came to $30,904, up from $29,900. Other guaranteed compensation, landed by 16% of the MBAs, was $22,273, down a tick from $23,700 a year earlier.

The increase in average starting salaries was largely driven by salary growth in consulting and finance. Cornell says that the average consulting base salary was $132,525, up 4.5% from $126,800 a year earlier, while the average base for MBAs entering the finance industry was $123,259, up 3.1% from $119,600 last year.


Cynthia Saunders-Cheatham, executive director of Johnson’s Career Management Center

Median total compensation, however, fell this year by 3.1%, the result of lower median numbers for both signing bonuses and other guaranteed comp. Total median pay, adjusted for the percentage of graduates receiving bonuses, was $143,026, down from $147,571. Last year’s reported median sign-on bonus was $29,900, versus this year’s $25,000. Last year’s median other guaranteed comp was $21,000, versus $17,400 this year. Thus far, the highest total median comp this year has been reported by Stanford ($179,346), Harvard ($163,827).and Michigan Ross MBAs ($150,606).

Even so, the job offer numbers and the record average salaries reflect substantial improvements in the school’s career management efforts. Cynthia Saunders-Cheatham, executive director of Johnson’s career management center (CMC), points out that the CMC conducted over 70 career programs and more than 330 meetings with companies. The result: Some 22 new companies came on-campus, up from a dozen the previous year. Even more impressive, job postings alone jumped 58% this past year to more than 3,800 from 2,400 a year earlier. The CMC hosted nearly 100 recruiting companies conducting 257 interview schedules and held more than 3,500 one-on-one student appointments.


One big surprise: The percentage of graduates headed into the MBA-hungry tech industry fell four percentage points to 12% from 16% a year earlier. The largest single industry employer for Johnson grads was again financial services, which attracted 32% of the Class of 2016, down two percentage points from 34% in 2015. In finance, the majority of the hires (17%) went into investment banking, followed by managerial finance (5%), private equity (3%), and financial analysis (2%).

One in four Johnson grads this year (25%) accepted job offers from consulting firms, up slightly from 24%. Roughly 6% of the students went into the consumer goods industry, same as last year, while 5% joined the healthcare business, up a percent from 4% in 2015. There were increases in MBAs landing positions in manufacturing, 6% this year versus 4% a year earlier, and energy, 3% versus 2%.

The highest average salaries of $156,429 were gained by MBAs entering law, presumably dual-degree graduates with business and law degrees. The highest signing bonus and other guaranteed comp averages went to grads who took jobs in i-banking: $50,085 in sign-on bonuses and $86,500 other guaranteed.

  • MBAReview

    Johnson’s making nice progress vs its past, but the article should have compared how its career stats vs peer schools today. The program has had some trouble with its career mgt over the past few yrs due to turnover and is playing catch up. Its a nice school, but far away from a top 10 program in its career offerings. Unless you’re doing banking, consulting, marketing or corporate finance, you are on your own at Johnson. Even for those areas, students should be prepared to do work much harder (think weekly NYC trips for banking during yr 1 and get top marks) than peers at the top 10 programs for the same exact opportunities.

  • Campanile

    Encouraging news out of Cornell. Nice to see positive catalysts again. IMO has great potential with its global brand to be a very competitive option (outside of the m7). Cheers!