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McKinsey Doubles MBA Hires At Duke

Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business today (Nov. 25) announced that its graduating MBAs this year saw an 8% increase in median starting salaries to $120,000, up from $111,000 last year. The school said that 81% of the Class of 2017 received median signing bonuses of $25,000, while another 6% had median other guarnateed compensation of $20,500.

All told, total median first-year compensation for Fuqua was a record $144,130, a sum that even exceeded the numbers posted by the much higher ranked University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, largely because a higher percentage of Fuqua grads received sign-on bonuses (See table below). Total median pay at Fuqua was just a tad above last year’s $144,097 because fewer grads received guaranteed bonuses this year. Still, the Fuqua numbers are the best overall compensation and employment stats reported by Duke since the Great Recession.

The student landing the highest starting salary of $175,000 went into private equity or venture capital. The student receiving the lowest reported base salary of $50,000 accepted a marketing position with a household or personal consumer products company.

The school said 87% of its graduates received job offers at graduation, while  95% had offers three months later, just a sliver more than last year’s 94% total. International students trailed these numbers, reporting an 82% job offer rate at graduation, versus 91% for U.S. citizens, and 90% three months out, compared with 98%.


McKinsey & Co. led all employers of full-time MBAs this year, hiring 24 graduates, double its intake of Fuqua grads last year when the firm employed 12. As recently as 2013, McKinsey had only hired seven MBAs from Duke. This year Deloitte brought aboard 21 MBAs, down from 31 in 2014, while Microsoft hired 19 grads, up slightly from the 16 MBAs it employed from Fuqua last year. Boston Consulting Group and Amazon rounded out this year’s top five MBA employers, with 17 and 15 hires, respectively.

As expected, the recruiting companies at Fuqua were a diverse group of some of the big names in American business. Following the top five employers this year are Bain and PwC, which each hired 10 Fuqua grads. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch took away seven, while Citi hired a half dozen. Employing five MBAs each were Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, Accenture and Sears Holdings. Google, Apple, and IBM each hired four Fuqua MBAs this year.

Consulting, which paid the highest median salaries of $135,000, again emerged as the number one career choice for Fuqua MBAs. This year, some 32% of the class headed into the consulting industry, up two points from 30% in 2014. Five of the top seven major employers of this year’s class were all consulting firms, with the exception of Microsoft and Amazon.


Finance regained its status as the second most important recruiting industry for the school, attracting 20% of the Class of 2015, up three percentage points from the 17% level of last year. Many MBAs, no doubt, were enticed into financial services by significantly higher starting pay. The median base salaries in finance showed the largest year-over-year increase of any industry, rising to $125,000, from $100,000 a year earlier.

Technology, which doubled to 20% last year from only 10% in 2013, remained strong, drawing 18% of Fuqua’s MBA graduates this year, down two percentage points. Tech firms also increased their salary packages to MBAs, hiking them by $17,500 over last year to $120,000. Some 8% of the class accepted jobs in healthcare, down a wee bit from 7% a year earlier, while 7% took jobs in consumer goods, also down a percentage point from 2014.