Where MBAs Want To Work In 2017 & 2018

MIT Sloan School of Management - Ethan Baron photo

MIT Sloan School of Management – Ethan Baron photo

Over the next three months, roughly 12,000 full-time MBA students will matriculate at top 50 MBA programs in the United States, where they will join a roughly equal number of second-year MBAs fresh off their summer internships. Both of these groups will be courted, analyzed, interviewed, and eventually hired by thousands of employers, and they will take on internships and full-time roles in hundreds of different functions in dozens of different industries, from early-stage startups to the world’s largest and most valuable companies. With the MBA job market at an all-time high in 2016 and expected to continue growing for years, MBAs are in a candidate’s market. What are those candidates looking for? What industries, functions, locations, and company size are most attractive to the most recently admitted batch of MBAs?

We have some answers, and they’re all about data. The results and insights presented below are based on detailed analytics from over 16,000 search inputs from nearly 2,000 current MBA students who used the RelishCareers platform during the first two quarters of 2016 (January 1 to June 31), representing nearly 10% of the classes of 2017 and 2018. The students are collectively a near-perfect cross-section of the MBA student population; you can find a detailed breakdown of their demographic information below.

There are 1,961 users contributing to this dataset, and all of the analysis and research for this post used anonymized data. For the following report, we have looked at three primary sources of data: profile information provided by student users, search activity and company page engagement by student users, and demographic information provided by our analytics platforms.

Here are a few stats to give you a sense of the candidate pool:

66% Class of 2017; 34% Class of 2018
84% from top 25 programs
34% female; 66% male

Undergraduate Degrees:
41% studied business and/or economics
38% studied STEM subjects
21% studied humanities and/or social sciences

Years of Work Experience:
15% with 1-3 years of work experience
60% with 4-6 years
18% with 7-9 years
6% with 10+ years

Users from 61 countries
48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia
Over 320 U.S. cities and towns


Search analytics provide a valuable insight into the mindset of candidates in a way that recruiter-facing profile data often cannot, so we looked at which industries were most likely to be included in user searches over the last six months. What we found in looking through the data was a clear champion among a crowd of old favorites.

Included in just over 16% of searches, Technology was the most popular industry filter by a considerable margin, beating out Consulting at 13.8% and Finance at 12%. Consumer Products (9.3%) and Private Equity/Venture Capital (8.3%) rounded out the top five, with industries like Retail, Health Care, Manufacturing, and Energy also strongly represented.

The rise of tech industry recruiting on business school campuses has been well documented, and the takeover is more or less complete. With firms like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft hiring hundreds of recent grads in each of the last several years, and MBAs flocking to (or starting) Silicon Valley startups, the circumstances are advantageous for tech recruiters of every stripe. But perhaps the biggest takeaway from the raw data is the diversity of MBA interests: Of 19 filter choices, all were included in hundreds of searches each, and the same variety of interests and opportunities is reflected both in candidate profile information and employer demographics.