Good & Bad News In Duke’s Hiring Stats

Duke University's Fuqua School of Business is ranked tenth among the best U.S. B-schools by Poets&Quants.

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

First, the good news. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business said that this year’s graduates saw their average starting salaries climb 2.5% to nearly $115,000, up about $3,000 over the Class of 2012. Average signing bonuses also rose to more than $29,000, up from an average $27,000 last year.

As for the bad news, Fuqua’s preliminary employment report showed that the percentage of graduates who had job offers by May 12 fell to 79% for the Class of 2013, down from 87% last year.

MBA hiring by such well-known companies as Apple, Google, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Medtronic, Samsung, Johnson & Johnson, and Credit Suisse was significantly down from Fuqua’s final employment numbers of a year ago. McKinsey, which hired a record 18 last year from Fuqua, brought aboard only seven MBAs this year. Just two Fuqua grads reported back to the school on landing jobs with J&J after a dozen did so last year. Google hired only one Fuqua grad despite having five summer interns last year (see Fuqua MBA hiring over the years).

The school emphasized that its numbers are preliminary and Fuqua expects them to improve into the low 80s when more graduates report back to the school. The decline in grads with job offers was attributed to visa challenges for international students and the fact that more MBAs decided to pursue their own searches for jobs rather than rely on campus recruiting.

Duke’s stats come on the heels of a recent study by the Graduate Management Admission Council which found that Class of 2013 students who acquired a job had to work slightly harder to obtain an offer than last year’s class. Overall, job seekers in the Class of 2013 submitted a median number of 10 resumes and went on three job interviews for a return of two job offers, compared with job seekers in the class of 2012, who submitted a median number of three resumes and went on two job interviews to secure two job offers.

For the third consecutive year, Deloitte remained the top employer of Duke MBAs, hiring 26 graduates. Deloitte also employed 18 summer interns from Fuqua for a total number of 44 hires in the 2012-2013 academic year.

Other consulting firms hiring multiple graduates include Accenture (11), Bain (10), McKinsey (7), Boston Consulting Group (6), PricewaterhouseCoopers (5), A.T. Kearney (5), ZS Associates (3), Booz & Co. (2), and LEK Consulting (2). Nearly a third of the graduating class this year (32%) accepted offers to work in the consulting business. Six of the top 10 employers of graduates this year are consulting firms.

The school’s overall strength in placing its MBAs in consulting made less visible a shift in hiring to a broader range of firms. McKinsey’s drop in hiring to only seven students from 18 was not entirely unexpected because only 9 students did internships at McKinsey last summer. McKinsey uses the internship as a pre-hiring screening tool. In the previous year, 16 Fuqua students were summer interns at McKinsey, setting the stage for the record 18 hires last year.


Boston Consulting Group, which hired 13 Fuqua grads last year, hired only six this year. The same was true of ZS Associates which hired six Fuqua MBAs last year but three from the Class of 2013. Even Deloitte, the number one recruiter at Fuqua, hired four fewer MBAs from the school than it did in 2012. Whether this is an early sign of a cutback in MBA hiring by top consulting firms or unique to Fuqua is yet to be seen.

Consulting firms have been steadily increasing their hiring of top ranked MBAs in recent years as investment banks and financial service firms have trimmed their employment rolls and scaled back from recruiting heavy numbers of new employees. The big consulting companies also tend to pay among the highest starting salaries for freshly minted MBA talent.

The preliminary employment numbers from Duke, one of the first of the top business schools to release employment data for the Class of 2013,  are just further evidence of the trend. Unlike many other schools, Fuqua offers far greater detail about the companies hiring both its graduating MBA class and its summer MBA interns. Not surprisingly, the stats also show both the breadth and depth of the school’s success in the MBA job market. Fuqua grads continue to land jobs in an exceptionally wide variety of industries and companies.

(See following page for table of all the major employers and their hires for the past four years)

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