Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Real Estate Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Emory Goizueta | Mr. Multimedia
GRE 308, GPA 3.4
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Poet At Heart
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Yale | Mr. Ukrainian Biz Man
GRE 310, GPA 4.75 out of 5
Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
GMAT 680, GPA 3.65
Stanford GSB | Mr. Sustainable Business
GRE 331, GPA 3.86
Wharton | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Yale | Ms. Impact Investing
GRE 323, GPA 3.8
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Food Waste Warrior
GMAT Not written yet (around 680), GPA 3.27
Stanford GSB | Ms. Future Tech Exec
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Georgetown McDonough | Ms. Air Force
GMAT 610, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Fanatic
GMAT 770, GPA 3.46
Kellogg | Mr. Finance To Education
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Columbia | Mr. Aussie Military Man
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0 (rough conversion from Weighted Average Mark)
Harvard | Mr. Hopeful Philanthropist
GMAT 710, GPA 3.74
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech
GMAT Not Taken Yet, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Analytics Man
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Cornell Johnson | Mr. FinTech Startup
GMAT 570, GPA 3.4
Darden | Ms. Teaching-To-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.47
Chicago Booth | Mr. Future Angel Investor
GMAT 620, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Ms. Software Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.84
Harvard | Mr. PE Strategist
GRE 326, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. FBI To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.85
Harvard | Mr. MBB Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
Chicago Booth | Mr. Cal Poly
GRE 317, GPA 3.2

Best B-Schools for Getting a Job

You’d never guess which U.S. business school was most successful at placing its graduates into jobs by the time they wore their caps and gowns to commencement last year. If what pops into your mind is Harvard, Stanford, Chicago or Columbia, forget it.

How about the University of Arkansas’ Walton School of Business? Last year, 82.6% of Walton’s graduating MBAs landed jobs, the highest placement rate of any business school in the U.S. Equally surprising is who came in second? Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York.

Of course, the last couple of years have been difficult ones for the Career Service staffs at business schools who help to match graduating students with job offers. The severe recession that hit two years ago wrecked havoc with MBA job placement. Even though the market improved for the Class of 2010, it was still no walk in the park. So how did Walton in Fayetteville, Arkansas, of all places, manage to get jobs for more than eight of ten of its MBAs by graduation?

Truth is, as a Walton spokesperson points out, the school only graduates 30 to 35 MBAs a year. So placing them into jobs may be a lot easier than it is finding jobs for the 910 graduates at Harvard or the 650 or so at Northwestern’s Kellogg School. And you also can’t ignore the much higher pay. At Arkansas, starting pay totalled $64,993, compared to Harvard’s $131,759. As it turns out, three months after commencement, grads at the elite schools more than catch up. At Stanford, for example, 92.4% landed jobs, compared to Arkansas’ 87%.

So if you put Arkansas and Pace aside as anomalies, the list of schools that did the best job of getting jobs for their graduates becomes much more familiar. Of the highly ranked, prestige schools, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business comes in first with an 80% placement rate by graduation. Harvard Business School is not far behind with 78.6%. Among the other top elites are Chicago’s Booth and Stanford (both at 75.8%), MIT Sloan (75.6%), and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management (75.2%).

First, some advice on how to both read and interpret these numbers. Getting MBAs placed into last year’s job market was no cake walk. Only four U.S. schools in the top 25–Dartmouth, Washington University, Stanford and Harvard–were even able to get  90% or more of their graduates into jobs three months after graduation.

And even then, some grads accepted jobs they didn’t exactly prefer or want–but because there the “dream job” was unavailable, they had sign up for something to get a paycheck. Obviously, these numbers don’t reflect that dynamic.

Neither do they reflect the much smaller percentage of grads at each school who may hold out for something better, regardless of the job market. They have a job offer or two, but refuse to bite. Perhaps, they may be lucky enough to have a mom or dad who can finance a longer job search. So the fact that they’re unemployed–even three months after graduation–may be less a reflection on the school than it is on their determination to only accept a job they really want.

Most business schools are now only weeks away from graduating the Class of 2011 and all indications are that the market for MBAs is almost back to normal. So all these numbers should show significant improvement this year, particularly for MBAs with jobs at graduation.

SchoolEmployment at GraduationEmployment 3 Months LaterAverage Salary & Bonus
1. Arkansas (Walton)82.6%87.0%$64,993
2. Pace University80.3%85.9%$69,600
3. Dartmouth (Tuck)80.0%93.3%$128,013
4. Harvard Business School78.6%90.1%$131,759
5. Howard University76.3%89.5%$92,105
6. Chicago (Booth)75.8%88.6%$126,779
6. Stanford75.8%92.4%$131,949
8. MIT (Sloan)75.6%88.9%$125,905
9. Northwestern (Kellogg)75.2%86.5%$123,996
10. University of Cincinnati75.0%92.9%$62,484
10. Tulane (Freeman)75.0%93.3%$78,443
12. Iowa State74.1%96.3%$60,530
13. New York (Stern)73.7%86.4%$121,867
14. UPenn (Wharton)72.5%84.2%$132,579
15. Abilene Christian71.4%97.1%$46,600
16. Indiana (Kelley)70.1%83.8%$101,206
17. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)69.7%88.9%$106,066
18. Virginia (Darden)69.0%82.7%$119,278
19. Worcester Polytechnic68.4%76.3%$77,100
19. Iowa (Tippie)68.4%94.7%$92,802
19. Boston University68.4%86.0%$90,157
22. Oklahoma State (Spears)67.7%96.8%$53,330
22. Georgia Institute of Tech67.7%95.2%$92,282
24. California-Davis67.4%93.0%$96,295
25. Columbia Business School67.2%89.6%$123,486
26. Cornell (Johnson)66.8%85.9%$112,039
27. Boston College (Carroll)66.7%88.5%$91,282
28. California-Berkeley (Haas)64.9%87.0%$120,164
29. Texas-Austin (McCombs)64.8%89.7%$108,886
30. Rutgers64.6%87.5%$84,827

Source: Data reported by business schools to U.S. News & World Report for the Class of 2010.

DON’T MISS: THE HIGHEST PAID MBAS OF 2010 or THE SIX-FIGURE HAVENS FOR GLOBAL MBAS

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.