Big Jump In Tech Hires At Kellogg

Kellogg School of Management's new global hub now under construction

Kellogg School of Management’s new global hub now under construction

Led by strong hiring by Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management today (Dec. 19) reported an upsurge in the number of graduating MBAs landing jobs in the technology sector. Tech firms hired a record 18.4% of the school’s graduates this year, up from 12.2% a year earlier.

The increase nearly mirrored a sizable decrease in the number of Kellogg MBAs headed into the financial sector. Graduates accepting jobs in finance fell to a low of 13.9% from 20.1% last year. Of the so-called M7 business schools, generally considered to be the best seven MBA programs in the world, Kellogg now ties MIT with the smallest percentage of graduates who go into finance.

Most of the other top business schools have reported similar results this year. The percentage of MBAs accepting job offers in finance have fallen at Columbia, Wharton, Tuck, MIT Sloan and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. The most notable exceptions to that trend occurred at Harvard and Stanford where an increasing number of grads headed to Wall Street.


In general, however, tech has been gobbling up more of the prestige MBA output in recent years. At MIT Sloan, tech hires from the Class of 2014 hit a record 26.1%, more than any other M7 school and up nearly seven full percentage points than 19.2% a year earlier. According to Mark Gasche, managing director of Kellogg’s Career Management Center, that trend is expected to continue.

“What we’re seeing from big tech is that they are finding people for a number of different kinds of roles in operations, strategy, marketing and finance as project managers, supply chain managers, and product managers,” says Gasche. “The general management curriculum matches up perfectly with technology. And we don’t see the rise in technology letting up. Students are interning there in greater numbers.”

Many MBAs, adds Gasche, think tech has become the engine for the new economy in ways that make a job offer from that sector something special. One Kellogg student who had offers from Apple and a prominent consulting firm told Gasche that he was going to Apple because “at this point in history I would be remiss not to work for them. This is a unique point in time to be at a company like Apple. The banks and consulting firms will always be there.”


Overall, it was another strong year for recruiting at Kellogg, the last of the M7 schools to release its 2014 employment report. The school said that 85% of its graduates had job offers at graduation and 94% had offers three months later, rates that were roughly equivalent to those of last year. Some 80% of the MBAs had already accepted their offers of employment by the time they donned cap and gown, while 88% had accepted three months after commencement.

The median starting salary remained the same at $120,000, despite the decline in finance jobs which tend to pay more than tech. Only four schools–Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and MIT–reported higher median salary this year. Kellogg’s median sign-on bonus was $25,000, also the same as last year. The school did not report other guaranteed bonus because only 13 or 14 students reported that additional year-end comp which is more typical in finance jobs that pay out backend bonuses. Interestingly, the median pay in tech was slightly higher than in finance: $115,000 vs. $110,00. But the big difference is in the signing bonus. Tech’s median sign-on incentive was $25,000, while in finance it was $40,000.

Kellogg, which has six dedicated employer relations staffers, said more than 200 companies hired MBAs from the Class of 2014 and that 22 new companies came to campus this past academic year to recruit its students. The school also said it brought students on 37 separate career treks. Kellogg’s top 30 employers, firms hiring three or more graduates, employed 244 students out of the 514 that were seeking employment.


This year’s numbers are somewhat different from previous years which makes comparisons to earlier employment reports difficult. “The population for this year’s report is 1Y, 2Y and MMM students,” says a Kellogg spokesperson. “In past years, including 2013, in addition to those populations, our report also included students from our JD/MBA and MD/MBA programs, as well as part-time students who participated in on-campus recruiting and sponsored students.” Minus 89 sponsored students and Kellogg said the Class of 2014 captured in the report includes 474 two-year MBA graduates, 107 one-year MBAs, and 55 MMMS, who receive both an MBA and an MS in Design Innovation.

But the big news on the job front this year was the aggressive recruiting by tech firms. At Kellogg, Apple hired 13 MBAs this year, up from only four the year earlier, while Amazon took 12, up from nine in 2013, and Microsoft nine, about the same as the 10 it hired last year. Search giant Google and software provider Adobe also were among Kellogg’s top employers this year, each bringing aboard four of the school’s graduates. The only top schools where more MBAs went into tech this year were Sloan and Stanford.

Given the number of Kellogg MBAs who had summer internships in tech in 2014, this sector will clearly remain a big choice in the future. A dozen Kellogg students interned at Apple this year, while eight interned at Amazon. Five were at Microsoft, four each at Google and Intuit, and a trio at both Adobe and Cisco.

Pay & Placement At Kellogg Over The Years


Category 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Median Base Salary  $120,000 $120,000 $115,000 $110,000 $105,000
Median Sign-On Bonus  $25,000 $25,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000
Job Offers at Graduation 85.0% 84.0% 87.3% 84.6% 76.5%
Job Offers 3 Months Later 94.0% 94.2% 95.6% 94.8% 87.8%

Source: Kellogg School of Management    Notes: All data is for one-year and two-year MBA programs as well as the MMM program

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