Record Tech Hires At Duke Fuqua

Incoming MBA students in the Class of 2020 at Duke Fuqua

At Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, tech is super hot. A record 28% of the school’s Class of 2018 took jobs in the tech industry, up nine percentage points from a year earlier. The tech hiring binge was led by Amazon, which leapt over last year’s number one and two employers of full-time grads, Deloitte Consulting and McKinsey & Co.

Amazon employed 21 members of the class in full-time jobs, up from 15 last year, though all the big names in tech played a role in the surge. Microsoft was also among Fuqua’s top five employers this year, and Cisco, Apple, IBM, Google, Dell and Oracle also found Fuqua a strong hunting ground for MBA talent.

“Tech hiring comes across loud and clear as the biggest change this year,” says Sheryle Dirks, associate dean and director of Fuqua’s Career Management Center. “It’s almost a 50% increase. For one year that is prettty remarkable.” Dirks attributes the uptick to what she calls “the match. There’s increased interest from students and companies as well. It makes a lot of sense. More of our students are interested in working on the west coast and in what the tech companies are doing.”


According to the school’s 2018 MBA employment report, published today (Nov. 12), Fuqua MBAs landed average starting salaries and sign-on bonuses of $155,100, a 4.9% increase over last year. MBAs got average salaries of $127,874, up from $122,989 in 2017, while average signing bonuses, received by 82% of the class, came to $33,202, up from $30,374 a year earlier. The total compensation average, excluding other guaranteed pay which Duke no longer reports, was adjusted to account for the percentage of students reporting sign-on bonuses.

Median starting salaries remained stable at $125,000, while the median sign-on bonus jumped $5K to $30,000, from $25,000. That brought median comp at Fuqua to $149,600, up from $145,500 last year.

The average and median numbers are conservatives looks at total starting MBA pay. “One of the things you don’t see in these snapshot statistics are stock options,” explains Dirks. “We are seeing more diverse compenation pckges that don’t get fully captured in these numbers. With other guaranteed compensation, each company has its own way of structuring their incentive compensation. The nuances are hard to capture and represent in a meaningful way in one statistic. The more diverse and nuanced that is, the harder it is to put forth a single number to give a good representation of that. But it’s certainly out there and it’s an attractive part of the compenstion.”

Fuqua said that 89% of this year’s class had at least one offer at graduation, with 85% aceepting their offer. Within three months of commencement, 96% of the class had been offered  job, with 94% accepting.


Not surprisingly, international grads trailed their U.S. counterparts in landing employment. Some 94% of students with permanent work authorization had job offers at graduation versus 80% of internationals, a 14-point gap, two points higher than last year. Three months after graduation, the gap shrunk in half to seven points, with 91% of international students reporting job offers versus 98% of domestics.

Several other business schools have reported a widening of the gap between international and domestic MBA students this year. “It is very much a real issue at all business schools and Fuqua is not immune from that,” says Dirk. “It just takes international students much longer to get a job in the U.S., and many will choose to exhaust their U.S. options first before accepting a job back in their home country. There is a gap but what I will also say is that you will see that every year. If we were to look at a six-month timeline, my guess is that the playing field will have been leveled. The narrative about this topic is increasingly prevalent, which is a good thing because it raises awareness and empathy.”

For the first time ever, the highest percentage of Fuqua MBAs landed jobs in the West, more than either in the South or the Northeast. The school reported that 30% of the class got jobs in the west, up from 24% a year earlier, while 25% took jobs in the Northeast and 20% stayed closer to campus in the South.

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