Duke Fuqua | Ms. Account Executive
GMAT 560, GPA 3.3
NYU Stern | Mr. Military Officer
GRE In Progress, GPA 2.88
Cornell Johnson | Mr. IT To IB
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
Stanford GSB | Mr. Entrepreneurial Bassist
GMAT 740, GPA 3.61
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Green Business
GMAT 680, GPA 3.33; 3.9 for Masters
Kellogg | Mr. Real Estate Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Kellogg | Mr. Finance To Education
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Emory Goizueta | Mr. Multimedia
GRE 308, GPA 3.4
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Commercial Banker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
IU Kelley | Mr. Construction Manager
GRE 680, GPA 3.02
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Fanatic
GMAT 770, GPA 3.46
Harvard | Mr. Sovereign Wealth Fund
GMAT 730, GPA 3.55
Harvard | Mr. Smart Operations
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Darden | Mr. Strategy Manager
GRE 321, GPA 3.5
Ross | Mr. Airline Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.73
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corporate VC Hustler
GMAT 780, GPA 3.17
Wharton | Mr. Marketing Director
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Ms. Healthcare Startup
GRE 321, GPA 3.51
Georgetown McDonough | Ms. Air Force
GMAT 610, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Poet At Heart
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Yale | Mr. Ukrainian Biz Man
GRE 310, GPA 4.75 out of 5
Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
GMAT 680, GPA 3.65
Stanford GSB | Mr. Sustainable Business
GRE 331, GPA 3.86

Which B-Schools Have The Happiest Grads?

happy graduatesIf you graduated from business school in 2008, you probably have some stories to tell. Back then, you crossed the stage and hugged your fellow graduates like every class before you. Sure, the horizon appeared dark and menacing, you thought. But it was probably no different than what the classes of 1990 and 2000 had witnessed.

But something was different. In the following months, you learned just how connected we were. No institution was too big to fail. And your partners’ failings were suddenly your own. Bear Stearns’ fall wasn’t an economic nuclear bomb that leveled entire industries. It was more like a biological weapon, an unseen force that swept across businesses, leaving only physical structures in its wake. Back then, organizations flattened as banks mopped up their balance sheets. Company mantras become “all hands on deck” and “hold onto what you got.”

It was uncharted territory, marked by hard stops and sputtering starts. If “kill all the lawyers” was the clarion call of the 17th century, “blame all the MBAs” was its bookend in the 21st.

The class of 2008 was ground zero for this upheaval. So it’d be intriguing to check back in with them. Recently, Forbes did just that. As part of compiling their business school rankings, Forbes contacts graduates five years after graduation for feedback on their alma maters. In this case, Forbes surveyed 17,000 class of 2008 graduates from top 50 schools. They received over 4,600 responses.  In the survey, respondents shared “their level of satisfaction with their education, with the preparation it gave them and with their current job.”

So which school comes out on top? Not surprisingly, Stanford, which is ranked #1 overall by Forbes, also produces the happiest graduates. How happy? Well, Stanford scores high across every key metric according to Forbes:

“[Stanford] leads the way, ranking in the top five among schools across all three levels of satisfaction. Stanford grads were the most satisfied in our two previous surveys of alumni as well. The country’s most selective b-school (acceptance rate of 7%) also topped our ROI ranking in 2013.

Stanford grads had the top paychecks in our 2013 survey with median total compensation of $221,000 five years out of school. Stanford grads are highly sought after, and they have the pick of the litter when it comes to employment opportunities. The top five landing spots for the Class of 2012 were consultancies Bain, the Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey, as well as tech giants Apple and Google. These companies all rank among the top six most desirable employers for M.B.A.s in Universum’s annual survey (Amazon was the other firm in Universum’s top six).”

Forbes also lauds Stanford’s knack for churning out entrepreneurs. As Adi Bittan, a class of 2008 alum who launched a customer service platform claims, “no place does a better job of getting you to believe in yourself so much that you take the plunge into entrepreneurship so that you can change the world.”

So where do the rest of the schools stack up when it comes to alumni satisfaction? Are Harvard alums crimson with joy or anger?  Have Teppers grown chipper? And which schools have come out of nowhere to make the top 10? Check out the chart below:

RankSchoolMBA EducationPrepared Relative to Other MBAsCurrent Job Satisfaction
2UC-Berkeley (Haas)9191
3Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)8615
4Michigan State (Broad)3226
5Indiana (Kelley)4236
6Dartmouth (Tuck)2438
7Duke (Fuqua)5918
8Rice (Jones)23213
10U. of Chicago (Booth)6340

There must something in the Bay Area air, as Haas graduates rank below Stanford overall – and even maintain a higher job satisfaction than their Palo Alto rivals. Then again, as Forbes notes, Haas grads often work for many of the same consulting and tech employers as Stanford.

Dartmouth  grads rank just behind Stanford when it comes to satisfaction with their alma mater. Not surprising, according to Forbes, as Tuck alumni’s “giving rate topped 70% participation for the third straight year in 2013, which is nearly triple the average of its peer schools.”

Despite ranking #22 overall in Forbes’ rankings, Michigan State (Broad) came in #3 when it comes to being satisfied with their education. In terms of preparation, Indiana (Kelley) ranks just below Stanford according to the class of 2008. And life is nice for Rice graduates, as Jones ranks #3 in current job satisfaction. Considering their lofty overall rankings, the University of Chicago (Booth) and Tuck both stick out for having such low job satisfaction, despite their salaries rising by $92,600 and $71,000 respectively over the past five years. Apparently, money doesn’t buy happiness.

So which schools failed to crack the top 10? Certainly, “Where’s Waldo” is likely to be replaced by “Where’s Wharton.”And top 10 stalwarts like Harvard, Northwestern (Kellogg), Columbia, and Cornell (Johnson) are nowhere to be found. And the same applies to MIT (Sloan), the University of Virginia (Darden), NYU (Stern), and Yale. Apparently, the misery index is higher among alums at these schools.

The class of 2008 managed to weather the storm, some better than others. In two years, the class of 2010 will have its turn. In a reeling economy, these graduates walked into a contracted and cautious marketplace. Question is, did their educations prepare them to thrive in the aftermath? And have they found the same level of happiness as their predecessors? This class should be a fascinating study!

Let us know your thoughts. Were you happy with your program’s education? Why or why not?

To read Poets and Quants’ analysis of Forbes’ most recent business school rankings, click here and here.

Source: Forbes