A Tale Of Two Schools: Kellogg vs. Booth

You can tell a lot about a business school by where its graduates go to work. That’s especially true when comparing one school with another. Consider the choices made by the MBAs in the Class of 2012 at both Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

The biggest difference between these two schools is in the numbers sent to the financial services industry. Some 43.2% of Booth’s Class of 2012 sought and got jobs in finance versus just 19% at Kellogg. Nine of the top 20 employers at Booth this year were financial concerns, ranging from Bank of America to Barclays Capital. Only two of the top 20 at Kellogg were in finance. The highest reported starting salaries at each school were in private equity where a Kellogg MBA and a Booth MBA landed PE jobs with hefty $225,000 and $240,000 salaries, respectively, to start.

On the other hand, Kellogg–long known as the best school for marketing–sent 9% of its graduating class into consumer goods and packaging companies versus just 2.2% for Booth. So among Kellogg’s top 20 employers this year are such companies as PepsiCo, Target, Anheuser-Busch, DaVita, and United Airlines–all companies that do not make the Booth top 20.

In recent years, Kellogg has become the preferred business school for the elite consulting firms. In 2012, a record 39% of Kellogg’s grads headed into consulting jobs. That’s nearly double the percentage at Stanford, where 20% of the class went into consulting, and a substantial difference from Harvard, where 25% chose consulting. Consulting powerhouse McKinsey & Co. hired twice as many Kellogg MBAs this year as Booth grads, 55 versus 28. So did Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte and Booz & Co.

And yet Booth is no push over when it comes to consulting firms. The top three employers at Booth this year were the Big Three prestige consulting shops, and a healthy 30.3% of Booth’s Class of 2012, some 141 MBAs in total, accepted jobs in the consulting business.

The median starting pay for a Booth MBA entering consulting was an impressive $135,000, with a range of $60,000 to a high of $150,000. At Kellogg, the median for consulting jobs was $133,000, with a low of $80,000 and a high of $166,300.

Clearly, Chicago students favor finance jobs over consumer marketing jobs. Kellogg grads prefer consulting and consumer marketing over finance. For an applicant, then, the big questions are should you to to Kellogg if you’re interested in finance or to Booth if you’re interested in consumer marketing.

The fact that fewer of Kellogg’s MBAs are interested in finance could very well be an advantage for an applicant seeking a job in that industry. There’s less competition and the companies recruiting talent would in all probability like to get more from Kellogg than they currently do. But the number of financial companies recruiting at Kellogg are likely to be less than Booth and the alumni network in finance probably won’t be as strong as it is at Booth. By the way, the same applies to consumer marketing, except the odds are more in favor of Kellogg here.

That’s because the school’s reputation in marketing is a bankable asset for a Kellogg MBA. More consumer marketing companies recruit at Kellogg, the alumni network is larger and more elite, and if you’re in marketing no one will ever asked you whether you were rejected by Harvard.


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