Where Prestige Consulting Firms Scoop Up MBA Talent

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STANFORD ONLY SENT 14% OF ITS CLASS OF 2015 INTO THE CONSULTING GAME

One big surprise of our analysis: The least successful recruiting ground for consulting firms was the Stanford Graduate School of Business where only 14% of last year’s graduates ventured into consulting. That’s the lowest percentage of any prestige U.S. school. For the Top 25 U.S. schools in 2015, the median percentage of MBAs sent into consulting work was 29%. So Stanford’s number is less than half the median for top schools. That’s not an anomaly, either. Ten years ago, only 19% of Stanford’s MBA output accepted jobs with consulting firms in 2005. Harvard Business School, meantime, also was below the median last year. Roughly one in four Harvard MBAs (24%) took jobs in consulting in 2015–exactly the same percentage as those in 2011.

How come? It certainly has to do with Stanford’s location in Silicon Valley where entrepreneurship and early stage companies are the rage. It also has to do with the school’s social climate that discourages doing a job that might be considered mainstream for a top MBA graduate. And, ultimately, it may have to do with something else few applicants consider when picking a school: stock. It’s not an accident that MBAs from the California schools, including UC-Berkeley and UCLA, are more likely to be enticed into non-consulting jobs by stock grants and stock options, largely from startups and early stage companies. Last year, for example, 36% of Berkeley’s Class of 2015 received either stock or stock options with their job offers, up from 31% a year earlier. At UCLA, 34.1% of the graduating MBAs in 2015 received equity as part of their compensation, up from 27.9%.

When you look at the employment results by function–rather than industry–the numbers can get even higher. Columbia Business School, for example, says that 40.3% of its Class of 2015 went into the consulting function. That’s more than five percentage points over the group that actually went into the industry. The difference is made up by MBAs who go into corporate jobs as internal consultants. At Yale University’s School of Management, 37.1% of its 2015 MBA graduates found their way into the consulting function versus the 29.3% who went directly into the consulting industry. Looking at the numbers by function can provide a bit more context, too. At Emory, for instance, 23% of the graduating class went into management consulting, the province of the McKinseys and Bains, while 6% accepted jobs in finance consulting. Technology, healthcare and marketing consulting, meantime, took 3% each of the Class of 2015.

DON’T MISS: WHAT MCKINSEY SEEKS IN MBA HIRES or WHAT BAIN SEEKS IN MBA HIRES

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.