By all accounts, 2015 was one of the best years ever for graduating MBAs. One school after another reported increasing starting pay for their graduates along with some of the strongest employment numbers since the Great Recession.
In fact, the MBA job market was so good, that many of the very best business schools had slight declines in their employment levels from the previous year. Huh? That’s because graduates were so confident that they would land jobs that they became incredibly choosy about saying ‘yes,’ waiting for the ideal job offer. More often than not, those late offers were coming from early stage companies and startups, which are getting a larger share of the best MBA grads.
Some 16 of the Top 25 MBA programs in the U.S. reported 90% plus employment rates for their graduates three months after commencement. The Olin Business School at Washington University led the pack with 97.1% of its Class of 2015 employed three months after graduation, followed by the University of Washington’s Foster School, with 95.6% landing jobs. Virginia, Dartmouth, and the University of Chicago business schools rounded out the top five last year, each with 95% or more employed three months after commencement.
UVA’S DARDEN SCHOOL TOPS EMPLOYMENT AT GRADUATION
Of course, there are different ways to look at employment. Schools generally report job offers and then accepted offers at both graduation and three months later. U.S. News & World Report, in gathering data from the schools on employment, relies solely on the latter measurement in its rankings: The actual percentage of MBA graduates who are employed.
The schools that led the pack at graduation last year? Among the Top 25 schools, the University of Virginia’s Darden School was No. 1, with 88.8% of its graduating class employed on commencement day. Chicago’s Booth School of Business was next with 86.5% and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management was third with 86.3% of the class accepting job offers by graduation. Michigan’s Ross School and MIT’s Sloan School rounded out the top five, with 86.3% and 86.1%, respectively.
The MBA programs at the bottom of the list will surprise you. Three of the best business schools in the world–all based in California–trail in the Top 25 group: Stanford GSB, with just 71.7% employed at graduation; UC-Berkeley’s Haas School, with 72.0% landing jobs, and UCLA’s Anderson School with 72.3% having accepted their job offers at commencement. It was a similar story among the next 25 schools in the Top 50, with the University of Southern California and UC-Irvine taking up the rear.
Stanford’s numbers are especially instructive. Some 90 days after graduation, 92% of the class had offers–but only 86% accepted those jobs because they were being so selective. “This cohort has a very positive outlook on the market and a higher tolerance for risk,” said Maeve Richard, assistant dean and director of the Career Management Center at Stanford Graduate School of Business. “The strong market has allowed them to defer decisions about multiple offers, and in some cases, turn down offers to remain focused on searching for an ideal opportunity,” she said.
2015 Employment Rates At Top 25 U.S. Schools Three Months After Graduation
|Washington University (Olin)||97.1%||95.0%|
|University of Washington (Foster)||95.6%||95.0%|
|Notre Dame (Mendoza)||92.7%||88.0%|
|Harvard Business School||91.1%||90.0%|
|Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)||89.5%||89.0%|
|Indiana University (Kelley)||89.1%||88.0%|
Source: Business schools reporting to U.S. News