Where Tech Firms Are Finding Their MBA Talent

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‘TECH INCREASINGLY OFFERS MANY OF THE MOST DYNAMIC, CHALLENGING & LUCRATIVE CAREERS’

A confluence of factors has caused the tech surge in MBA hiring. Notwithstanding Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg’s recent comments that people don’t need an MBA to succeed in Silicon Valley, tech firms have shown a strong appetite for business school grads, emerging as among the most aggressive recruiters with consulting shops and financial powerhouses. It’s also the fastest growing, most dynamic industry in the economy today, drawing deep interest from MBA grads who want to make an impact with their careers. And a disproportionate share of the jobs are in California, long a magnet for jobseekers who also are seeking lifestyle in their career choices. That’s why Silicon Valley pilgrimages by MBA students around the world have become de rigueur.

Those are some of the reasons why tech has become so popular with MBAs, even though the field pays less than either consulting or finance. At Harvard last year, MBAs who went into tech scored base salaries of $125,000–$15,000 less than either consulting or finance. Median sign-on bonuses in tech were $25,000, equal with consulting but another $15,000 less than finance. And fewer tech-bound MBAs got those signing bonuses (69%) than MBAs who headed into consulting (93%). Some of the gap is made up in stock awards. At UCLA’s Anderson School, one of the top schools for tech, 34.1% of last year’s graduates received equity as part of their compensation, up from 27.9% a year earlier.

“Technology careers are increasingly offering many of the most dynamic, challenging and lucrative careers for MBAs,” says Jonathan Masland, director of the career development center at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. “In addition, as technology revolutionizes and disrupts traditional business and means for accessing products and services, they are hiring more MBAs to lead these efforts – MBA programs like Tuck are attracting and training professionals that can help lead these businesses forward and therefore are being hired in greater numbers.”

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