Highest Job Offer Rate In Nine Years At Cornell

Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management

Some 94% of this year’s crop of MBAs at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management had job offers three months after graduation, up two percentage points from a year earlier and the highest job offer rate in nine years. For Cornell, this is significant achievement after the school’s job offer rate fell to 83% in 2010 during the midst of the Great Recession.

In releasing its 2016 MBA employment report for its two-year MBA graduating class of 292 students, Cornell also noted that average base salary was up slightly by 2%, or $2,128, to $121,228, just enough of an increase to qualify as the highest MBA salary level ever at Johnson. That follows a bigger $8,000 jump in 2015. Average sign-on bonuses, received by 81% in the Class of 2016, came to $30,904, up from $29,900. Other guaranteed compensation, landed by 16% of the MBAs, was $22,273, down a tick from $23,700 a year earlier.

The increase in average starting salaries was largely driven by salary growth in consulting and finance. Cornell says that the average consulting base salary was $132,525, up 4.5% from $126,800 a year earlier, while the average base for MBAs entering the finance industry was $123,259, up 3.1% from $119,600 last year.


Cynthia Saunders-Cheatham, executive director of Johnson’s Career Management Center

Median total compensation, however, fell this year by 3.1%, the result of lower median numbers for both signing bonuses and other guaranteed comp. Total median pay, adjusted for the percentage of graduates receiving bonuses, was $143,026, down from $147,571. Last year’s reported median sign-on bonus was $29,900, versus this year’s $25,000. Last year’s median other guaranteed comp was $21,000, versus $17,400 this year. Thus far, the highest total median comp this year has been reported by Stanford ($179,346), Harvard ($163,827).and Michigan Ross MBAs ($150,606).

Even so, the job offer numbers and the record average salaries reflect substantial improvements in the school’s career management efforts. Cynthia Saunders-Cheatham, executive director of Johnson’s career management center (CMC), points out that the CMC conducted over 70 career programs and more than 330 meetings with companies. The result: Some 22 new companies came on-campus, up from a dozen the previous year. Even more impressive, job postings alone jumped 58% this past year to more than 3,800 from 2,400 a year earlier. The CMC hosted nearly 100 recruiting companies conducting 257 interview schedules and held more than 3,500 one-on-one student appointments.


One big surprise: The percentage of graduates headed into the MBA-hungry tech industry fell four percentage points to 12% from 16% a year earlier. The largest single industry employer for Johnson grads was again financial services, which attracted 32% of the Class of 2016, down two percentage points from 34% in 2015. In finance, the majority of the hires (17%) went into investment banking, followed by managerial finance (5%), private equity (3%), and financial analysis (2%).

One in four Johnson grads this year (25%) accepted job offers from consulting firms, up slightly from 24%. Roughly 6% of the students went into the consumer goods industry, same as last year, while 5% joined the healthcare business, up a percent from 4% in 2015. There were increases in MBAs landing positions in manufacturing, 6% this year versus 4% a year earlier, and energy, 3% versus 2%.

The highest average salaries of $156,429 were gained by MBAs entering law, presumably dual-degree graduates with business and law degrees. The highest signing bonus and other guaranteed comp averages went to grads who took jobs in i-banking: $50,085 in sign-on bonuses and $86,500 other guaranteed.

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