Where MBAs Want To Work In 2012

Bad publicity rarely helps a company’s image or reputation. That’s certainly true among MBA students in the latest survey of the 100 most desirable MBA employers.

Goldman Sachs, plagued by an endless parade of bad news in recent years, fell three places on this year’s list to seventh from fourth a year earlier and from third in 2010. It was the lowest showing by the world’s premier investment banking firm–which has brought aboard more than 200 MBA summer interns in 2012–in many years.

Bain & Co., the prestige consulting firm, and Amazon.com, the preeminent player in e-commerce, on the other hand, gained ground in the MBA employer sweepstakes. Bain moved up two spots to fourth this year, passing rival No. 5 Boston Consulting Group. Bain says its MBA hiring is going to be approaching 400 people globally while its summer intern numbers are near 200.

Amazon, meanwhile, also gained two places to sixth from eighth last year and 11th in 2010. Last year the Internet company placed over 170 interns inside its operations from more than two dozen business schools.


The list. released yesterday, is compiled by Universum which surveyed 5,748 MBA students (2,109 women and 3,621 men) at 79 top business schools in the U.S. between the months of November 2011 and March 2012. The students were asked to choose the five companies they would most like to work for from a list of over 175 companies.

The top 25 remained fairly stable, with a few exceptions. The best three companies this year were last year’s top three: Google topped the list of the most desirable MBA employers for the sixth year in a row. One in every four students–exactly 25.35% of the responding MBAs–surveyed placed the search firm among its top five. More than 100 MBA interns in North America are working at the Googleplex this year.

McKinsey & Co., the largest single recruiter of MBAs in the world, was number two. Some 17.8% of the MBAs placed the elite consulting firm among its top five places to work. And Apple, now the most valuable corporation in the world by market value, was again third. Some 16.7% of the students said they would love to work at the Silicon Valley powerhouse.


Interestingly enough, Facebook, another favorite, lost a little ground this year, despite all the hoopla over the firm’s initial public offering. The social media giant slipped one spot to place eighth.

There also was again a significant divergence of opinion based on the gender of MBA students. Teach for America, the non-profit organization that puts highly credentialed students in disadvantaged schools as teachers, ranked 44th among female MBA candidates, but didn’t even crack the top 100 for the guys.

Women tended to rate consumer goods companies far higher than men. The luxury brand LVMH, ranked 14th among female MBAs, didn’t even make the top 50 among male MBAs. The guys put the firm, with such snooty brands as Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Sephora, in 80th place. Starbucks, ranked 11th among the women, placed 34th among men.

The big financial MBA hirers were more desirable employers from a male perspective. Blackstone Group, the prestigious private equity firm, didn’t make the top 50 among female MBAs but was ranked 12th among male MBA students. Goldman Sachs, ranked as the seventh most desirable employer by men (down from third last year), was ranked 18th among the female MBA students. Interestingly, Goldman maintained its rank among women.

(See following page for the top 25 companies that MBAs find as the most desirable employers)

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