The Best (And Worst) Companies For MBAs

The Google campus is filled with buildings with joyful touches

It almost doesn’t matter what sort of survey, poll, or data you slice. MBAs love Google. And Google apparently loves them, too. According to aggregated data of graduated MBAs, no other employer in the world is more beloved and preferred by recent business school grads than Google. The company is on more dream lists of MBA students than any other–by a good margin.

For the first time ever, Poets&Quants took three categories of data from TransparentCareer, the Glassdoor for MBA grads, and crunched all of it into a composite ranking. The result is a list of employers ranked by self-reported data from recent MBA grads based on three key categories: total compensation, weekly hours worked, and job satisfaction. And out of the 30 companies ranked, no other performed better than, you guessed it, Google.

The tech giant didn’t top out in any of the three categories, but its overall standing toward the top of each category was enough to lift it higher than L.E.K. Consulting, which finished second. Rounding out the top five were Microsoft. Adobe and Bain & Company, respectively. Liberty Mutual was the first and only financial services company to make the Top 10. Not surprisingly, tech and consulting companies dominated.

“Investment banking isn’t the most desirable post-MBA career anymore, and it may not even be in the top three,” says Kevin Marvinac, co-founder and chief operating officer of TransparentCareer, which aggregates self-reported MBA job data. “That’s something these recruiters are going to have to fight against.”


To create the rankings, we weighted average total compensation by 50%, average job satisfaction by 40%, and average weekly hours by 10%. Each category was weighted with the idea that MBAs generally value making money and job satisfaction much more than how much they have to work when they’re fresh out of business school. Google placed eighth in total compensation, second in overall job satisfaction, and ninth in hours worked. The company with the lowest average weekly hours scored the most points for the category.

“I love this list because it surfaces some things we’ve heard anecdotally — within our personal experience as MBAs — but using the power of crowdsourced, quantitative data,” says Marvinac, who founded the company at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, alongside three other Boothies. “For example, we always hear that L.E.K. Consulting is a great place to work, but sometimes doesn’t get mentioned with the McKinsey, Bain, and BCG crowd as far as employer desirability. This list shows that the firm absolutely belongs up at the top from an employee experience perspective. Same story with A.T. Kearney.”

Indeed, it seems as if MBAs aren’t paying attention to L.E.K. Consulting. But it’s time to start—especially for recent grads with dollar signs in their eyes. L.E.K.’s second-place finished was buoyed by a massive average total compensation of $240,oo3, which was nearly $20,000 more than the next highest company. MBAs at L.E.K. work an average of more than 63 hours a week, which is higher than all but six of the 30 companies included. Still, MBAs at Bain, BCG, and McKinsey all work more. Moreover, L.E.K. notched an average job satisfaction score of 7.2, good enough for seventh overall.


Marvinac says Google’s top placement is “interesting” because TransparentCareer has anecdotally heard more about “some other tech giants.” One of those is Amazon, which has hired more MBAs than any other company, according to the self-reported data on TransparentCareer’s platform. “But there’s no doubt Google has some awesome MBA roles,” Marvinac continues. “In particular, they hire MBAs with technical backgrounds for product manager roles that seem to be in demand.”

Amazon squeezed into the Top 10, beating out Apple for the 10th spot. The 224 MBAs at Amazon that have reported job data to TransparentCareer’s platform have an average total compensation package of $200,000, which ranks 12th out of 30. Amazon also places 12th in overall job satisfaction with a score of seven. For hours worked, Amazon comes in 11th, with their MBAs reporting working 51.6 hours a week.

One macro-trend Marvinac sees is the continuing decrease in popularity of financial services roles, which he calls a “sign of the times.” Most current MBAs, Marvinac explains, were studying in undergrad during or right after the financial crisis. “I remember being a finance major in college and thinking, ‘Wow, I have no interest in banking anymore after watching the Lehman Brothers debacle. The ensuing hiring freezes didn’t help either.”

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