Finance & Tech Hires Down At Tuck

MBA students at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business

The number of MBA graduates going into financial services this year from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business fell to an all-time low of 20%. Only three years ago, 30% of the school’s graduating class ventured into the financial world.

In releasing its 2016 employment stats online, Tuck also reported that MBA hires by tech firms declined as well by two percentage points to 16%, from 18% a year earlier, while graduates going into the health care field also fell to 4%, from 6% last year.

Jonathan Masland, executive director of career development, suggested to Poets&Quants that the larger decline in finance may be something of an aberration. “If you peel the onion back a little bit, you’ll see that investment banking—which is the largest piece of finance—increased three percentage points to 13% from 10%,” explains Masland.


Most of the erosion, in fact, occurred in investment management, down to 3% from 5%, and in other financial service jobs. “I do think though that there is a trend where finance is a lower portion of the class,” adds Masland. “But 25% of our first year MBAs went into finance as interns this past summer so you will probably see an increase next year. It’s still a big part of what we do and it will contnue to be a big part.”

The fall of tech, which has continued its growth at several other schools this year, may well be the result of a reporting glitch, adds Masland. Some MBAs who took jobs with e-commerce companies, for example, reported their industry as “retail” rather than technology. “I don’t sense a peak in tech. I wouldn’t be surprised if for this second year class you see it returning to the 18%-plus level. I don’t see any signals of it abating. Some of the minor shift this year could be graduates picking the retail category even if they are in online retail. That would explain the bump in retail. There remains continued interest in tech, and the tech firms are still very eager to hire MBAs.”

Taking up the slack from the declines in finance and tech, consulting, consumer goods and manufacturing gained ground with the Class of 2016. Consulting firms hired 36% of the class, matching the industry’s high at Tuck in 2012. Some 13% of Tuckies went into consumer goods and retail this year, up three percentage points from 10% a year ago, while the percentage going into manufacturing doubled to 4% from 2%.


Overall, it was another solid year at Tuck, with few major surprises other than the drop in grads going into finance. The school said that 93% of its students had job offers at graduation and 98% had offers three months later. Some 87% of the grads had accepted their offers by commencement, while 96% signed their employment deals three months after graduation. Those numbers are roughly on par with previous year results, with three-month offers down just a single percentage point.

“The accepts were among the highest I have seen at graduation and three months out,” says Masland, who has been in Tuck’s career development office for 12 years. “It was a very strong year. I’m really proud of the year. We worked really hard, and I feel great about it.”

Median base salaries of $125,000 and median sign-on bonuses of $25,000, received by 87% of the class, remained unchanged this year. Average base salaries were below the median at $123,934, while average signing bonuses were over the median number at $28,962. And the growth in Tuck’s total first-year compensation slowed, reaching $146,789, just a tick up from $146,020 last year after a more notable rise from $137,718 two years ago.


Moreover, Tuck’s median base salary number in consulting of $140,000 was below the new standard $145K level at Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, and Booth this year. Masland says that U.S. based consulting jobs hit the $145,000 standard, but that the overall number was dragged down by consulting hires in Southeast Asia and Latin America where base salaries are lower.

That could have a greater effect on Tuck’s numbers because of the smaller size of the school’s graduating class. Roughly 20% of the class, Masland noted, were hired by at the big three global consulting firms of McKinsey, Bain, and BCG.

This year’s highest paid graduate reported a base salary of $250,000 for a private equity or venture capital job in the New York metro area. The MBA accepting the lowest base salary of $38,039 went to work in Asia in a consulting/strategy role.

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