51% of Columbia MBAs Went Into Finance

Which top business school sends the highest percentage of its MBA grads into consulting? The answer to this and many other questions will surprise you. An analysis by Poets&Quants of what industries grabbed the most members of the elite Class of 2011 from leading U.S. schools often reveals hidden strengths and weaknesses of each institution.

As for the first question, the answer is Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Some 35% of its Class of 2011 headed into the consulting business, more than any other top B-school, including Dartmouth College’s Tuck School (33%) and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (30%).

Which school sent the most grads into financial services and banking? Not Wharton. Columbia Business School, were 51% of this year’s graduating class went into finance, followed by New York University’s Stern School (46%), and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (41%).

The study–of 2011 employment reports from the top business schools–is chock full of interesting data. Did you know, for example, that the school sending the highest percentage of its MBAs into media and entertainment is UCLA’s Anderson School, where 11% of this year’s graduates took jobs in those two fields?

Or that the school with the highest percentage of MBAs in energy is the University of Texas at Austin? Some 11% of its Class of 2011 are employed in the energy field. It makes sense given the location of both UCLA in Los Angeles and Texas in Austin and shows the important role geography plays in where MBAs go.

Within many of these industry categories, moreover, there are many different types of jobs from marketing to finance and general management to manufacturing. In finance alone, there are some significant differences, too. Harvard Business School, for example sent 14% of its Class of 2011 into private equity and leveraged buyouts. Chicago Booth, on the other hand, sent less than 4% of its MBAs into those fields. Some 7% of Harvard’s MBAs went into hedge funds this year, versus less than 1% at Chicago.

You might think that Stanford’s Graduate School of Business would have the tech business locked up. Not so. As a percentage of its Class of 2011, Berkeley’s Haas School sends more than twice as many grads into the technology industry–32% versus 13%–than Stanford.

And while it may be no surprise that Yale’s School of Management sends the highest percentage of its MBAs into non-profit and public sector jobs–some 10%–it will surprise many to know as the No. 2 school in this arena is MIT Sloan. Some 8% of MIT’s Class of 2011 went into non-profit and government jobs.

Where MBAs From Top Business Schools Go To Work

Financial Services39%36%39%41%19%51%29%16%20%
Consumer Products5%7%7%8%11%8%11%4%1%
Health Care4%4%6%2%7%2%4%7%8%
Real Estate1%1%3%1%2%3%NA3%0%


Financial Services22%35%10%32%39%46%26%29%26%34%
Consumer Products8%8%10%9%6%12%8%5%8%8%
Health Care12%3%3%4%5%2%6%9%2%7%
Real Estate0%1%1%1%2%0%3%0%NA8%

Source: Business schools reporting to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Non-profit includes public service jobs in the government. Health care includes jobs with pharma and biotech companies. Bold numbers indicate the highest percentage of grads among the schools in the study.


  • Bob

    Hi John,

    Have you released an updated article including this information?


  • Gal,

    That’s a very good idea. We’ll try to get to it soon.

  • Hi John,

    Thank you very much, great stats table, very informative.
    Can you write an article that opens a window into the post-MBA jobs that graduates actually accept on the different industries?
    I would really like to know more about some of the different positions that are out there and learn from graduates about some of the challenges they face and the personal satisfaction they get…

  • Gosh

    Very intersting, thank you very much.

  • Jason McDougal

    Nice post John, As someone interested in finance, glad to see my top choice has such substantial numbers in the industry,

    One thing I thought you might like to post in the “On the Horizon” section is an LGBT admissions event at Columbia on Dec 10. The link to register is below. Hope this helps!


  • Chandler,

    There will be. Because most of the schools have yet to publish their full employment reports, the info at this point is scant. But I know my audience would value that info so as soon as it’s available across a broad range of schools, I’ll do a story on that with a table.

  • Chandler

    Is there a breakdown within Financial Services available for the schools listed? You refer to specific data of grads into PE and hedge funds but its not in the data table at the bottom.

  • Eric

    Hi John

    Full disclosure: Stanford, Columbia, and Wharton are great schools IMO. I think MBA students at these schools are just as bright as MBA students at USC or should I say more well rounded in terms of pre-MBA school experience.

    However, I doubt it if a Stanford, Columbia, or even a Wharton MBA grad stands a chance against a USC MBA grad in either financial services, consulting, especially media if that applicant chooses to live and work in Southern California (LA & OC).

    Connection, connection, connection.

    Never underestimate of the power of the alumni network. I have seen that many times at my former employers.

  • nhoj,

    Yes. Check the source note on the table. There’s a link to where you need to go. This info is buried in each individual business school statistical profile so you’ll have to search for it.

  • nhoj

    John is there a link for the Bloomberg data? Thanks

  • AJK

    stern placed a lot more students in consumer products than i would have thought. what type of roles did they fill? were they more finance related (treasury/corp dev) marketing, or general management like leadership rotational programs?

  • Anonymous,

    The schools report the data this way without much explanation. That said, however, I would think that if an MBA landed at a PE firm dealing with real estate it would be called a PE job.

  • anonymous

    Hi John,
    Am slightly confused in terms of the meaning of real estate in this study. Does this include private equity / fund management in real estate? Thanks in advance.

  • Keyrims

    Rice is a big ground for folks looking to enter the energy space and considering its Houston location,not surprised by the #s

  • Ranjit,

    Yes. The percentage of grads who went into energy was very high at Rice: 29% in the Class of 2011. Here’s what the overall numbers are:

    Graduating students who accepted jobs in the following industries:
    Government: 0 %
    Consulting: 17 %
    Consumer Products: 15 %
    Financial Services: 25 %
    Manufacturing: 5 %
    Media/Entertainment: 0 %
    Non-Profit: 2 %
    Petroleum/Energy: 29 %
    Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology/Health Care: 3 %
    Real Estate: 1 %
    Technology: 3 %

  • Ranjit

    Hi John,
    As someone living in Houston and already working in the energy sector, I was wondering if Rice University participated in this Bloomberg study? I was curious to know the percentage of MBA students from Rice that go into the energy industry. I think it may be even higher than the % at UT Austin.