Stanford GSB | Mr. Latino Healthcare
GRE 310, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Military MedTech
GRE 310, GPA 3.48
Wharton | Mr. Aspiring Leader
GMAT 750, GPA 3.38
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Advisory Consultant
GRE 330, GPA 2.25
Kellogg | Mr. Equity To IB
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Mr. Marketing Master
GRE 316, GPA 3.8
Darden | Ms. Marketing Analyst
GMAT 710, GPA 3.75
Darden | Mr. Corporate Dev
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.8
Cornell Johnson | Mr. SAP SD Analyst
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
Kellogg | Ms. Public School Teacher
GRE 325, GPA 3.93
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Officer
GRE 325, GPA 3.9
INSEAD | Mr. Future In FANG
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Hedge Fund
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
Stanford GSB | Mr. Robotics
GMAT 730, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Yale | Mr. Army Pilot
GMAT 650, GPA 2.90
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
INSEAD | Mr. Tesla Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Tech To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
INSEAD | Ms. Investment Officer
GMAT Not taken, GPA 16/20 (French scale)
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Startup Of You
GMAT 770, GPA 2.4
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Mr. Policy Development
GMAT 740, GPA Top 30%
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Hopeful
GMAT -, GPA 2.9

Bouncing Back From The Great Recession

With the exception of the Great Depression, the Great Recession wrecked havoc on the world economy like no other economic downturn. No industry was immune from the devastation, including business schools which saw placement stats plummet along with starting salaries and bonuses.

Though the start of the Great Recession can be placed in 2008, the graduating class of MBAs that year went through relatively unscathed, in part because the worst of it occurred after they started their new jobs in August and September of that year.

Not so for the Class of 2009. Average starting salaries and bonuses fell dramatically at some of the best business schools. At the Wharton School, MBAs saw their starting pay and bonus fall 9.5% in 2009 to $123,741 from $136,676 in 2008. At Harvard Business School, the drop was 9.0%, to $131,219 from $144,261, and at Stanford Graduate School of Business it was 5.7%, to $132,769 from $140,771.

WHICH SCHOOLS HAVE COMPLETELY RECOVERED FROM THE RECESSION?

The more relevant question now is which schools have been able to recover those losses in pay and which have actually gained ground on their 2008 numbers. For this analysis, we’re examining data through 2011, even though most schools have reported their 2012 numbers which show continued improvement in the MBA job market.

The reason: the statistics come from the schools as reported to U.S. News & World Report for its annual ranking. U.S. News adjusts these numbers, accounting for graduates who do not receive starting bonuses so that they are true averages. The schools report average salary and average bonus numbers separately and fail to adjust the bonus averages for graduates who do not get a starting bonus. We’ll update the analysis once U.S. News publishes the 2012 numbers in April.

As of 2011, not all the top schools have completely bounced back. Some 12 out of the top 30 schools in U.S. News’ ranking reported lower average salary and bonus for its graduating MBAs than they did in 2008, including Harvard, Washington University’s Olin School and Cornell University’s Johnson School.

In 2011, for example, Harvard MBAs were making nearly 4% less than the Class of 2008 made at the starting gate. The school having the most difficult time recovering up until 2011? Georgia Tech. Its MBAs in 2011 were still down 7.5% on average starting salary and bonus from 2008.

SOME 18 OUT OF 30 TOP SCHOOLS WERE FULLY RECOVERED FROM THE RECESSION BY 2011

The remaining 18 schools out of the top 30, on the other hand, have not only recovered the losses from the Great Recession; they have reported gains over that pre-recessionary year. Leading the pack is Emory University’s Goizueta Business School which had been in the midst of implementing a strategy that focused on student outcomes (see Emory’s Goizueta School: Anatomy of a Turnaround Few Knew Was Needed). Average salary and bonus at Goizueta not only recovered from the recession but were up 18.2% in 2011 from 2009. As noted earlier, further improvements occurred for the Class of 2012.

(See following page for our table of the top 30 schools and how they’ve recovered from the recession)

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.