Most Desirable MBA Employers Of 2014

Why would an MBA want to work for Google?


The real question is, who wouldn’t want to be a Googler?

Let’s face it: Google is cool. They’re still young, growing, and innovative. From artificial intelligence to renewable energy, the search engine giant is tackling the most daunting challenges. Who could resist the pull of working with the brightest minds to develop self-driving cars or find a cure for aging? In Mountain Park, employees know they’re working toward something greater than appeasing shareholders every quarter. Googlers are shaping the future – and they’re given the latitude to dream big and deliver.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that Google again topped Universum Global’s annual survey of the top 100 employers for MBAs. An avid collector of talent from Harvard Business School, Wharton, Haas, and Kellogg, Google ranked #1 for the eighth consecutive year in the poll.

In fact, the percentage of respondents who preferred Google was more than double the percentage of those who chose Amazon, Bain & Co., and Apple  (which ranked #3, #4, and #5 in the 2014 rankings).

The Universum Global Survey

This year’s survey was based on responses from 2,500 students, who participated from October 2013 to January 2014. In the poll, MBA students were asked to select the five companies they would most want to work for. The percentages were derived from the number of times a company was listed among the top five per student.

Remarkably, 27.13% of respondents – over 1 of every 4 – listed Google among their top five choices. Trailing behind were consulting juggernaut McKinsey and Co. (17.11%) and online retailer Amazon (13.65%), which leapfrogged Apple to snag the #3 spot. The top five was rounded out by Bain & Co. (13.33%) and Apple (13.24%). The 1.5% drop in Apple’s popularity could reflect student buy-in to a popular narrative: Apple is losing its mojo after the death of founder Steve Jobs.

Financials Returning to Prominence


Among top 25 out of the top 100 employers for MBAs, the biggest ranking gains over 2014 were produced by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (+14), Morgan Stanley (+12), and Ernst & Young (+10). In other words, professional and financial services are roaring back to life.

Need more proof? Overall, the companies that grew the most in appeal to MBA students include: Fidelity Trust (+42), KPMG (+36), Wells Fargo (+33), Credit Suisse (+27), and Deutsche Bank (+26)

Despite CEO Marissa Mayer taking heavy fire in the media, Yahoo! has grown increasingly popular with the MBA set, jumping from #95 in 2012 to #65 in 2014.

Consumer Brands Tumble

Looking for a theme in this year’s survey? How about this: MBA students are losing interest in the business-to-consumer sector. In fact, leading consumer brands were among the biggest losers on this year’s list, including Nike (-3), Disney (-3), Facebook (-4), Starbucks (-9), Nestle USA (-8), eBay (-13), Nordstrom (-31), Target (-17), BMW (-13), Mars (-12), Sony (-9), The Gap (-50), and Estee Lauder (-20). Most notably, the alcoholic beverage sector took the biggest slide as Anheuser Busch (-17), MillerCoors (-14), and Diageo (-28) all lost ground.

The exception to the rule? Wal-Mart, of course, which rose from #100 to #83 in popularity among future MBAs. Students were also attracted to Macy’s, which jumped into the top 100 employers for MBAs at #77. They also gravitated towards General Mills, which climbing from #62 to #47, Otherwise, the most recognizable consumer brands stagnated, including the Coca-Cola Group (0), Procter & Gamble (+1), PepsiCo (+1), and Kraft Foods (-3).

Who were the other big losers this year? You can start with medical device makers like Medtronic (-29) and Genentech (-15). When you factor in the Mayo Clinic (-18), you could argue that MBAs are beginning to pivot away from the health care sector.

Hospitality also took a hit with Hilton (-22) and Starwood Resorts (-43) both freefalling out of the top 50 of the top 100 employers for MBAs (though MGM Resorts, which rose 23 spots in the rankings, proved to be the exception). Teach for America has also apparently lost its luster among MBA students, slipping 17 spots.

New Favorites Emerge


This year, 10 companies debuted in the Universum Global survey of top 100 employers for MBAs, the highest being Adobe Systems at #60. Other new additions include: the National Security Agency (NSA), Macy’s, Daimler/Mercedes-Benz, Kellogg, VMWare, Oracle, American Airlines, Schlumberger, and SAP. These companies replaced H&M, GlaxoSmithKline, Abbott Labs, United Airlines, Toyota, Northrop Grumman, Dell, Intuit, Merck, and Ernest & Julio Gallo from last year’s list.

(See following page for table of the top 25 companies)

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