What Companies Pay MBA Interns

Jonathan Masland heads up career development at Tuck

Jonathan Masland heads up career development at Tuck

WHY BUSINESS SCHOOL INTERNSHIP DATA IS IMPORTANT

Internship data is a revealing harbinger for both the strength of the school’s career management center and the likely job prospects of a school’s graduating MBAs. It’s no accident that Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business, which has been putting up some of the best MBA job stats for years, has had a 100% internship success rate for the past six years in a row.

Recruiting for intern spots start early. Incoming students often hear from a school’s career management team long before they step on campus. Tuck immediately shares with incoming students a series of educational videos that describe the job search process across ten major industry sectors from healthcare to technology. “In June or July, you could be sitting on a beach somewhere and review what industries you might be interested in,” says Masland. “It’s to help them build an idea of what is the right fit.” There also are a series of industry chats throughout the summer with second year students, alumni and career development staff. And in August, just before on-campus orientation, there’s a Silicon Valley boot camp for incoming students interested in technology and energy that includes visits to such companies as Google and Chevron.

“An MBA is a big investment so we are trying to give them more options early,” explains Masland. “Things are so dense in the fall that the only time you can sit back and reflect in a related setting is before they get here. There really is no time. It’s very hard to get out of Hanover or wherever you are for a couple of days without missing classes”

MOST STUDENTS HAVE THEIR SUMMER INTERNSHIP OFFERS BY FEBRUARY

Companies generally come to campus starting in mid-September for briefings with newbies as early as two weeks after the start of classes. The students drop resumes and cover letters for openings and interview in early January. By late January or mid-February, most MBA students have already received and accepted summer offers. At Darden, two-thirds of the students have accepted intern offers by mid-February, says Oakes.

The best career offices routinely place more than 95% of their intern-seeking students into summer jobs, and many of the top business schools facilitate well over 80% of the internship offers their students get. At both Columbia Business School and Chicago Booth last year 84% of the MBAs got their internship offers as a result of the school and its connections. At Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business the number was 82%.

And internships also are an important way for MBAs to both try out a new industry or company and to earn some cash back to help offset the opportunity costs incurred from quitting a full-time job to attend a two-year MBA program.

INTERN EMPLOYERS AT SCHOOLS GENERALLY MIRROR FULL-TIME MBA HIRERS

Because such a high percentage of full-time job offers come through internships, the employers who hire MBAs for summer jobs pretty much mirror those who will ultimately scoop up the same MBAs at graduation. At MIT Sloan, for instance, McKinsey & Co. was the single biggest hirer of interns last year, bringing aboard 22 of the 328 students, nearly 7% of the MBA candidates who sought summer opportunities. The rest of the top intern employers at MIT? Google (14), Amazon (13), Bain & Co. (8), Boston Consulting Group (8), Deloitte Consulting (7), Microsoft (7), Credit Suisse (6), JP Morgan Chase (6), and Goldman Sachs (5). All big, mainstream buyers of elite MBA talent.

Internship salaries, of course, can vary widely. At MIT’s Sloan School of Management, students with summer internships last year reported median monthly pay that ranged from a high of $15,800 in consulting to a low of $1,325 in computer/electronics. As an industry, consultants paid the most–a median of $10,500 a month–while venture capital firms paid the least–$3,500 a month.

And in some cases, employers are increasingly offering sign-on bonuses for internships. At Harvard Business School, 34% of the students doing internships last year received extra median pay of $2,500, up from 13% a year earlier, in addition to the median base of $7,494, up from $7,083 for the Class of 2014. At Wharton, some 8% of MBA interns gained sign-on bonuses last year that ranged from a high of $10,000 to a low of $1,000, with the median bonus at a healthy $3,000 each. At Chicago Booth, 12% of the students who did internships in the consulting function received median sign-on bonuses of $2,500.

EVEN MBAS OUTSIDE THE M7 SUPER ELITE SCHOOLS ARE GETTING SIGN-ON BONUSES AS INTERNS

What’s more, sign-on bonuses are becoming more common outside the M7 super elite schools. At Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, some 12% of the MBA interns last year landed signing bonuses at a median of $3,000 each. At Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, sign-on bonuses were reported by intern recruits in consulting, financial services, the beverage and food industries, and healthcare, ranging from $10,400 in technology consulting to $6,923 in the beverage and food industries. The highest signing bonus came to $5,000, while the lowest was a token $1,000. And at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business, MBA interns reported picking up median sign-on bonuses of $3,500 in consumer products, $6,000 in tech and $2,500 in both consulting and financial services.

Internship pay tends to be slightly less overseas than it is in the U.S. Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, which placed its MBA students in internships in Argentina, China, the Philippines, Romania, South Korea, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates last year, reported that students who gained summer jobs in the U.S. earned an average $6,525 monthly vs. $4,879 for those who did their stints overseas.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.