For years now, tech has been the name of the game at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. In 2014, it ousted consulting as the top industry for the school’s graduating MBAs. Two years later, more than a third of Tepper MBAs took jobs in the industry; last year that number ballooned to 43%. That’s a level of commitment to the sector that outpaces most top MBA programs, including those on the West Coast.
As tech employment doubled for Tepper MBAs in the five years from 2013 to 2017, many wondered: Could it go higher? But this fall, even as a new era began at the school in the unveiling of a new $200 million building at the center of the CMU campus, there’s been bit of a course correction. Tepper’s employment report, released yesterday (December 5), shows a new balance — and while MBAs coming out of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania school are still most likely to seek and find work in tech — and to go west to do it — other fields are beginning to rebound.
Tech is still king at Tepper, the No. 17 school in the 2018 P&Q ranking, but by about 10 points less than it was last year, with nearly 33% of the Class of 2018 accepting jobs in the industry, including more than 16% working in “Internet/e-business” and another 6% in software. Overall that’s a 23% drop. Meanwhile, Tepper grads went into a more balanced distribution of industries: 23% to consulting (up from 20% last year), 11% to financial services (down from 15%), and 12% to biotech, health care and pharmaceuticals (up from 9%).
TEPPER STILL A ‘STRONG FEEDER FOR THE TECH INDUSTRY’
Of the 212 students in the CMU Tepper MBA Class of 2018, 92% accepted offers within three months of graduating, a five-year high. The class also set a new record for starting salaries with a median offer of $125,000, up $5,000 over last year’s salary. In tech, the average salary is $121,448, higher than any other field except consulting ($135,921), while the median is $130,000, again beating all other industries besides consulting ($135,000).
In 2017, one-third of Tepper’s graduating class took on roles that brought them to the West Coast of the U.S., followed by 26% who headed to the Northeast. A year later, the West is still the biggest draw for Tepper grads, but not so overwhelmingly, with 28.3% headed there while 26.6% went to the Northeast. (That is followed by the Midwest, where 12.7% of Tepper grads gravitated.) It’s no wonder MBAs stream out of Pittsburgh for the coast: Median salaries there are $130,000, higher than for any other region.
“Our top industry sectors clearly remained technology and consulting in 2018, but more Tepper students accepted jobs in other industries, including energy, manufacturing and biotech/pharmaceuticals,” says Stephen Rakas, executive director of Tepper’s Masters Career Center. “This speaks to our students’ broader interests and the success of the Tepper MBA program in preparing students to succeed across industries.
“Many would correctly identify the Tepper MBA program as a strong feeder for the tech industry, including areas like product management, but our footprint in biotech/pharma/healthcare is notable and always sees interest from recruiters.”
TEPPER WOMEN IN TECH NOW COMPARABLE TO MEN
In 2017, eyebrows went up far and wide when 58% of women MBAs in the CMU Tepper Class of 2017 entered the tech field — up from 45% in the Class of 2016. Compare that to 38% of Tepper men going into tech in 2017. This year the numbers have come back to earth a bit. In 2018, 31% of Tepper women and 33% of Tepper men, respectively, went into tech, Rakas tells Poets&Quants.
“This shift is largely due to the percentage of our MBA women going into consulting more than doubling this year,” he says. “Given our smaller class size, a shift of 10-15 students has a significant impact. We’re proud of the success of all of our students and we support them in achieving their individual career goals.
“A five year (2014-2018) view provides some additional perspective on this question,” Rakas adds. “During that span, 34% of Tepper men and 41% of Tepper women entered the tech industry.”