At Red Hot Stanford, Tech Fever Slims MBA Pickings For Traditional Companies


In their second year, after GSB MBA students come back from internships, they can attend a company networking night and participate in on-campus interviewing and recruiters’ events in the fall term, as well as the official OCR in the new year. “Throughout their second year we support their networking-based job search, helping to foster connections through significant employer outreach,” Richard says.

About 65% of first-years participate in on-campus recruiting for internships, and about a third of the class accepts internships through that process, Richard says. Internship hiring generally occurs from February through June, Charvat adds.

About 25% of second-years participate in on-campus recruiting for full-time jobs, she says. “The numbers are smaller for full time because we know that fewer students need to continue seeking after their MBA summer. For example, some students go back to their former employers, while others have accepted full-time offers from their summer employers,” Richard says.

Fewer GSB students are relying on on-campus recruiting, Richard says. Employment data from the school shows that for both internships and full-time jobs, increasing proportions of students are finding positions through networking.

How GSB students and graduates found full-time jobs:

Source Class of 2014 Class of 2013 Class of 2012
On-campus recruiting 9% 14% 12%
Summer employer (GSB-facilitated) 15% 21% 12%
GSB job board 3% 5% 6%
Alumni referral 6% 5% 6%
Student networking 25% 24% 22%
Summer employer (student-facilitated) 11% 7% 13%
Pre-MBA employer 13% 10% 12%

How GSB students and graduates found summer jobs:

Source Class of 2015 Class of 2014 Class of 2013
On-campus recruiting 24% 28% 27%
GSB-facilitated networking 11% 7% 5%
GSB job board 12% 11% 19%
Alumni referral 5% 7% 6%
Student networking 28% 31% 21%
Pre-MBA employer 2% 5% 4%

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Stanford, like highly ranked West Coast business schools U.C. Berkeley Haas and UCLA Anderson, trails many eastern schools in percentage of graduates receiving job offers within three months of graduation. Richard dismisses any significance to the delay in finding work. “I would question the notion that the job offer rate signals something meaningful,” she says. “Our Stanford GSB students are in high demand and have many choices. If anything, what we’re observing is a delay in decision-making as our students look for something singular and unique that matches their life goals. They are weighing many factors—experience, impact, exposure, location, growth potential, etc.—and they’re willing to wait for just the right opportunity.”

Also, many students are taking jobs with companies doing “just-in-time” hiring, which don’t operate according to regular hiring cycles, and often don’t recruit on campus. These types of firms include early-stage startups, high-growth mid-sized companies, and alternative asset managers, Richard says. “These organizations tend to hire just in time and as such may only hire on a one-off basis,” she says. Indeed, 85% of companies that hire GSB students hire just one, Charvat says.

Another contributing factor to the GSB job offer rate is the differential between interest in working in startups and actual jobs in the new-venture realm, Richard says. “Student interest in startups is typically greater than the opportunities to join startups, which often means a more deliberate, determined search,” Richard says.

In general, employers are “looking to leverage people’s prior skills set,” Charvat says. “It’s much easier to transition into a new industry than a new function.” MBAs with quant backgrounds find easier entry into early-stage tech companies, she notes, while non-quants have opportunities in the tech sector “but it’s a matter of, ‘Is the company at the right stage to bring that person in?'”


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