Consulting Hiring Record At Kellogg

Lured by median starting salaries of $133,000, a record 39% of the Class of 2012 at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management went into the consulting business.

With the exception of one MBA who took a job in legal services that paid $165,000, the highest paid median salaries at Kellogg this year were in consulting. Some 44% of the MBAs who went into the field also received sign-on bonuses that ranged from a high of $55,000 to $10,000 each. The median signing bonus was $20,000.

The top six employers at Kellogg this year were all consulting firms led by such prestige players as McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Co., Deloitte, Accenture, and Booz & Co. McKinsey alone hired 55 Kellogg MBAs, BCG 43, Bain 35, Deloitte 24, while Accenture and Booz each took aboard 13 Kellogg grads.

The new record is two percentage points higher than last year’s 37% take by consulting. By way of comparison, only 25% of Harvard Business School’s Class of 2012 went into consulting and only 20% of Stanford’s latest class headed into that industry. Median starting salaries for the industry are up $8,000 from $125,000 in 2011.

The latest compensation details are in the school’s 2012 employment report released today (Dec. 5). By any measure, it was an exceptional year for Kellogg’s Class of 2012. Some 89% of the class had job offers at graduation and 96% had offers three months after their commencement. The average starting salary for the class was $116,605 (Also see A Tale of Two Schools: Kellogg vs. Booth).


“For us it was a really positive year,” says Michael F. Malone, managing director of Kellogg’s Career Management Center. “On the consulting front, our students continue to do extraordinarily well. It’s reflective of the fact that Kellogg focuses on teaching leadership and giving students hands-on experience in strategy. This is the highest percentage that we’ve ever had, although it’s close to the numbers from 2009 which was our previous high water mark.”

The rise of consulting at Kellogg has largely come at the expense of investment banking, brokerage and securities jobs. In 2008, Wall Street was taking 12% of Kellogg graduates, with consulting accounting for 33%. This year, the i-bank percentage fell to just 7%. “This is going to be the new normal,” said Malone. “There is still a core group at Kellogg that is intrigued by this space, but I think we will remain at that level going forward.”

Malone also said that MBAs taking jobs in technology also hit a new record—12%. “Technology came back pretty strong for us this year,” added Malone. “Students did particularly well in the tech sector in product development and business development jobs.” Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft were among the school’s top 14 employers this year. Only two years ago, Apple and Google didn’t hire a single Kellogg grad.


The school’s highest paid MBA reported landing a $225,000 starting salary in the Bay Area for a job with a private equity firm. The 30-something male grad already had six to nine years of work experience before going to Kellogg. “When you land that home run job, it’s often predicated on previous experience,” said Malone. “It’s somebody who was plug-in-play with the firm. He came with knowledge and relationships and ready to go.”

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