Hult: A Powerhouse Or A Pariah?

Students at Hult's Boston Campus, long its most popular location

Students at Hult’s Boston Campus, long its most popular location

WOULD JESUS CHRIST RECOMMEND HULT? IT’S UNLIKELY SAYS A PERSON CLAIMING A HULT MBA

School clubs provide another avenue for students to make business-world links while immersed in their busy, year-’round programs, says MBA graduate Spicker. “It’s a full-time gig, you’re not working when you’re there, so you do have to do some networking,” Spicker says. Club members bring in speakers from prominent companies, making valuable connections, Spicker adds.

Apparently, though, it’s not enough of an advantage for many students. Much of the online criticism against Hult revolves around graduates’ job prospects. A post by someone calling himself “ANGRYSTUDENT” appears on multiple GMAT prep websites, saying, “I sincerely regret attending HULT and this has been compounded by seeing how this morally corrupt organisation conducts itself.”

On collegetimes.tv, a purported Hult MBA “alumni” warns, “EVEN IF JESUS CHRIST COMES ON EARTH AND TELLS YOU TO JOIN HULT DONT JOIN IT.”

AVERAGE STARTING MBA SALARIES LAST YEAR WERE $89,872

Figures provided by the school for average starting salary three months post-graduation, based on alumni surveys, show Hult MBA graduates’ reported pay rising from $72,350 in 2008 to $89,872 in 2013—nearly $24,000 a year less than the reported average of $113,684 by INSEAD graduates.

Among Hult MBA graduates last year, the rate of job offers three months after graduation was 81%—well below many U.S. schools ranging from Rutgers University (95.2%) to the University of Washington (96.0%). The rate for business master’s graduates from Hult runs at around 88% per cent, Hodges says. Probably fewer than 50% of Hult MBA students have jobs at graduation, mostly because they are extremely busy up to the end of school, Hodges concedes.

Philip Hult says student satisfaction with business-school education rests to a large extent on whether students get the jobs they want after graduation. “If you’re doing the work it’s a lot of work and you don’t have a lot of time to go looking for a job,” Hult says. “Students sometimes get a cold shower that, ‘Oh my god, I’ve graduated and I don’t have a job.'”

‘UNTIL THEY GET A JOB, THEY ARE PRETTY UNHAPPY’

Also, Hult’s international make-up  –  26% of MBA students from Europe; 24% from the Asia-Pacific and South Asia; 20% from North America; 19% from Latin America; and 11% from the Middle East and Africa – sets it up for complaints from some U.S. graduates from foreign countries who erroneously believe they will easily obtain U.S. work visas, Hult says. “Those guys, until they get a job, they are pretty unhappy,” he says.

Tiffany Rasmussen, who lectures at U.C. Berkeley and teaches consulting skills and accounting at Hult in San Francisco, says about 70% of her foreign students aim to work in the U.S. “That’s Europeans, South Americans, Africans, Indians, Asians, everywhere, all looking for opportunities here. It’s a desire but not necessarily a reality for all of them. They’ve got the visas they’ve got to deal with,” Rasmussen says.

The school needs to improve its management of students’ expectations, Hult says. “As we’ve gotten larger we’ve been able to attract more companies to recruiting events. LinkedIn helps [and] reverse headhunting at Hult. Nothing has been a magic bullet,” Hult adds. “It’s sort of a shock to leave, and we’ve got to get better at that.”

HULT’S MOST SUCCESSFUL SOURCE FOR STUDENTS? INDIA, FOLLOWED BY THE U.S. & CHINA

Hult says it puts a 15% cap on students from any nationality. Globally, the dominant nationality is Indian at 11%, with 7% of students American, the same percentage Chinese, and the rest from about 140 other countries, Lu says, adding that the MBA program worldwide has 15% Indian students, 9% American, 6% Mexican, and the rest of 76 different nationalities.

But as recently as 2011, the school had more than twice as many Indian students on its Boston campus than its self-imposed 15% cap: For the Class of 2011, the number of students from India in the MBA program was 31% in Boston, 24% in London and 25% in San Francisco. The school says that 2011 was the year with the highest percentage of any one nationality. “Since then,” Hult’s Lu adds, “we have increased diversity to the point where we now target having no more than 15% of any given nationality worldwide. “

Hult’s focus on teamwork draws benefits out of its multicultural composition, says Omar Hernandez, professor of quantitative methods, operations management, and corporate responsibility at Hult San Francisco. “[Students] get to understand quickly that collaboration is the way to turn diversity into a key strength,” Hernandez says.