Graduating MBAs at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management had a sweet departure from the school this year. Some 96%, matching an earlier record, had job offers three months after graduation, with record high median base salaries of $125,000. The total median pay package, including signing bonuses but not other guaranteed compensation, hit $139,747, up from $138,751.
“It is an incredibly positive year, and we’re incredibly proud of where our students landed,” says Liza Kirkpatrick, Kellogg’s new director of the career management center for the full-time MBAs. “Some 96% of the students received offers three months after graduation. We have a great median base salary and deep relationships with employers who value the talent pipeline.”
The 96% three-month job offer rate, up from 95% last year and 94% in 2014, matches the peak year of 2012. Kellogg said that 93% accepted those offers three months after commencement. Some 87% of the class had job offers at graduation, with 81% accepting them at the time.
FINANCE HITS A NEW LOW OF 13% AT KELLOGG
Kellogg’s median base salary was up from $123,000 last year and $120,000 in 2014. Median sign-on bonuses, received by 59% of the class, were $25,000, same as last year. Unlike several of its peer schools, Kellogg does not publish numbers for other guaranteed compensation which would have increased the size of the total comp packages reported by graduates. At Kellogg, those guaranteed year-end bonuses tend to be lower at the school because it sends fewer graduates into financial services.
In fact, this year Kellogg grads entering finance hit a new low of 13%, down six percentage points from a year earlier, and nearly half the number of graduates who entered that core field just before the Great Recession. In both 2007 and 2008, one in four Kellogg MBAs—exactly 25%—accepted jobs in the finance industry.
Kirkpatrick says the drop was largely the function of declining interest in finance by Kellogg students. For the first time ever, however, the school sent fewer students into finance than even consumer products (see table of industry choices below). “It’s in line with the interests of the Class of 2016,” she says. “About 14% took internships in finance and 13% accepted full-time offers, but we had over 40 unique companies hiring our students in finance. We are not seeing less need. We are seeing shifts in student interest.”
AN ALL-TIME HIGH IN TECH HIRES AT 225 MAKES TECH THE SECOND MOST POPULAR INDUSTRY
Though Morgan Stanley didn’t make this year’s top employer list at Kellogg, Goldman Sachs hired seven grads, Bank of America Merrill Lynch employed six, and JP Morgan Chase claimed five Kellogg MBAs. Not surprisingly, the highest reported salary this year was $250,000 for an MBA who joined an undisclosed private equity firm, while the lowest salary was $51,000 for a grad who took a job with an e-commerce outfit. Kellogg also reported a high salary of $225,000 for a tech-bound MBA grad and a $219,335 base for another grad who accepted a job with an energy company.
More than offsetting the drop in finance was surging demand from high tech firms for MBA talent and increasing interest in the industry from students. Graduates entering tech hit an all-time high this year of 22%, making technology the second most popular industry choice at Kellogg after only consulting. In the past six years, the percentage of Kellogg grads accepting jobs at tech firms has doubled from 11%. This year, it jumped by seven percentage points from only 15% in 2015.
The increase was fueled by significantly greater hiring commitments by several premier firms in the tech industry. Amazon hired 23 Kellogg MBAs, up from 16 a year earlier. Google’s offers were accepted by 12 grads, up from seven in 2015, while Apple hired 10 Kellogg MBAs, up from six. For the first time ever, Facebook and LinkedIn popped up on Kellogg’s major employer list, taking away three and five MBAs, respectively.