What MBA Interns Are Being Paid

Darden Dean Robert Bruner says internships have become the pathway to full-time MBA jobs

Darden Dean Robert Bruner says internships have become the pathway to full-time MBA jobs

“For many large companies, the internship is the pathway to a full-time job offer,” says Robert Bruner, dean of the University of Virginia’s Darden School. “If you don’t get that summer job, it can be much harder to line up a position at graduation. It’s enormously important. That’s one of the sea changes in my 30 years at Darden.”

“The summer internship used to be an opportunity to dabble and see what you like, but we’ve all awakened to this change in behavior among companies. It dictates that you throw a lot of resources to help students get summer internships.”


At Darden, more than 40% of the graduates in this year’s Class of 2012 accepted full-time positions with their summer-internship employers, up from 25% in 2010. It’s a similar story elsewhere. At Chicago Booth, roughly 48% of this year’s graduating class took jobs with the companies that gave them their summer jobs. At Harvard, about 42% of the Class of 2012 landed their full-time jobs thanks to their summer internships.

A recent survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council found that 69% of summer interns who applied for full-time positions received offers, though the rates for MBA jobs in consulting, finance and accounting were even higher.

In effect, it’s a “try before you buy” method of hiring. Caesars Entertainment Corp. told The Wall Street Journal that it annually brings in 10 to 15 MBA students for its internship program. This year, five of the firm’s six hires had worked for Caesars during the previous summer. Up to 40% of the 400 MBAs hired annually by Bain & Co. are former summer associates. Another third of campus recruits worked at the firm before attending business school, leaving just under one-third of the slots for students without prior experience at Bain, reported the Journal.


Most of the MBAs from the top schools are going to work for the big brand companies that tend to hire them when they graduate. At Wharton, for example, the top ten organizations hiring the most MBA interns last year were McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, UBS and Bain & Co. Also in the mix were such companies as Microsoft, Amazon, Walt Disney, Google, Fidelity Investments, and medical device maker Medtronic (see tables on following pages for leading companies that hire interns at select business schools). Amazon and Google are the top two intern employers at Wharton this summer.

These same companies tend to do most of the intern hiring at other top schools as well. At Chicago Booth last year, for example, McKinsey hired 30 summer interns, Bain & Co. claimed 20 Boothies, Credit Suisse took on 16, and Boston Consulting Group hired 15 Booth interns. A.T. Kearney and Morgan Stanley both claimed 11 Booth interns each, while J.P. Morgan Chase brought aboard 10 interns.

Tech firms tend to hire interns in much smaller batches. Google got five Booth interns last summer, Amazon.com seven, Apple five, and IBM just two. Yet, this also varies from school to school. Apple, whose CEO Tim Cook is an alum of Duke University’s Fuqua School, hired 14 MBA summer interns from the school last year. That was second only to Deloitte Consulting which took on 15 Fuqua interns. At Kellogg, Amazon took 11 interns, the same number as Target Corp., while Apple hired eight and Cisco System seven.


While the vast majority of internships come through the business school’s career management center, a good number also come from personal contacts and networking. At Wharton, for instance, about 54% of the students said they received their internship offers as a result of on-campus recruiting services. Slightly more than 17%, however, got their summer jobs through their own personal network connections, and another 11% through a job board posting.

(See following page for top intern employers at the best business schools)

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