Job Placement Rates At The Leading B-Schools

The Foster School of Business at the University of Washington in Seattle is the undisputed champion in job placement, with a 99.1% rate three months after graduation. UW Foster photo

They keep finding ways to top themselves in Seattle.

The Foster School of Business at the University of Washington already was the top school in the country two years running in the all-important measure of how many MBAs find a job, setting the bar seemingly out of reach with 98% finding work three months after graduation in each of the previous two years. But in 2018, Foster outdid themselves, reporting that a staggering 99.1% of MBAs got hired 90 days after graduation. The next closest school, USC Marshall, was more than 3 percentage points behind.

What’s next for Foster — 100%?

“First of all, our students are fantastic,” says Naomi Sanchez, assistant dean for MBA career management at Washington Foster, explaining the success her school has had in funneling MBAs into the marketplace. “It’s the quality of student that we have at Foster and the quality of faculty. We have a real capable faculty that are passionate about what they do.

“It’s a culture of people just wanting to help each other, and within that culture, you get that drive, energy, and capability, and this is the result.”


Washington Foster’s Naomi Sanchez. Courtesy photo

Washington Foster may be the pace-setter, but a Poets&Quants analysis of job placement rates at the top 50 U.S. business schools shows that it isn’t alone in guaranteeing quality jobs for the vast majority of its graduating MBAs. Nineteen of the top 25 schools in the 2018 P&Q ranking, and 30 in the top 50, have greater than 90% rates three months after graduation. In the top 10, even as the rates have dipped slightly at six schools, the average placement rate is 92.2%; in the top 25 it’s actually slightly better, 92.4%. In other words, if you graduate from an elite U.S. business school you will almost certainly find work — if you’re looking for it.

The top five schools for placement rate 90 days after graduation are not necessarily the schools that leap to mind. All are outside the top 20. After Washington Foster, Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business is second best at 97.4%, followed by Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business (97.2%), USC’s Marshall School of Business (95.8%), and the University of Florida’s Hough Graduate School of Business (95.7%). It’s not until the sixth school that you reach a household name: the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which registered the highest rate among top-10 schools at 95.5%.

Job placement rates for students at graduation are always lower than rates three months later but offer insight nonetheless. The top school in this regard is the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, at 89.3%, followed by Florida Hough (89.1%), Chicago Booth (87.6%), the University of Virginia Darden School of Business (87.3%), and MIT’s Sloan School of Management (86%).

Among the top 25, 15 schools saw year-over-year gains in three-month placement rates since 2014, and 10 saw declines (see chart below). The school with the biggest jump is USC Marshall, which increased its rate by 14.8 points, or more than 18%, from 81% to 95.8% in the four years between 2015 and 2018. The school with the biggest decline: the University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business, which dropped 4.5%, from 91% in 2014 to 85.9% last year.

The University of Texas-Dallas Jindal School of Management sets the mark for lowest employment rate at graduation among all the top 50 schools, at 54.5%; Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management has the lowest three-month rate in the top 50, at 80.6%. The school with the lowest three-month rate among the top 10? Stanford Graduate School of Business, a fact at least partly due to GSB being such a hub of entrepreneurship, where many MBAs veer off to start their own businesses rather than seek work at established companies. Not only that, but as an assistant dean at the school told P&Q in 2017, “The strong job market has allowed Stanford MBAs to defer decisions about multiple offers, and in some cases, turn down offers to remain focused on searching for an ideal opportunity.”


Back in Seattle, it’s all about tech. Washington Foster’s MBAs famously flock to the tech industry, with 60% taking positions there in the latest graduating class — a figure that has risen 19% since 2014. Which is only natural, since the school’s location places it at the heart of hiring for both Amazon and Microsoft, as well as a host of smaller companies. “We have many, many strong relationships with our corporate partners,” Naomi Sanchez says. An even bigger factor for the school, ranked No. 21 by Poets&Quants this year and tied for 21st (with Indiana Kelley and Emory Goizueta) in the latest U.S. News ranking, is its Career Management Office, which can reasonably be given credit for placing all those MBAs in high-paying jobs. (How high-paying? Foster’s 2018 grads earned an average base salary of $118,355, with an average signing bonus of $38,695.)

Washington Foster requires all MBA students to take a professional development course, which begins before classes even start, with a focus on preparing for professional-level interviews. Later, each MBA student is assigned a professional coach, and all work with executives through a popular mentorship program in which students visit companies and sit down for one-on-one meetings. The school also boasts “executive office hours” during which executives come to campus and talk to students about their career goals and also what the execs have done in their careers. And then there are the regular treks to the San Francisco Bay Area, Asia, and elsewhere.

There’s more, much more. Suffice to say, it all adds up to 99.1% of MBAs finding work 90 days after leaving campus. And rising.

“We serve as a bridge between the school, the students, and the incredible, iconic companies that we have in our region,” Sanchez says. “Ninety-nine percent — it’s really tough to get there! It’s not easy, and having that kind of record is something to keep us on our toes. We have an outstanding career team of professionals that have been in industry and that have also worked in higher ed, and so the combination makes a big difference in terms of being able to respond to questions from both students and corporate partners.

“We are constantly improving and constantly trying to get better, so it’s never done. You’re always working with a new class coming in, or you’re working with students who are seeking employment, so it’s never a job done. It’s always a work in progress. If we are paying attention to our students and our employers — and if we are collaborating within our own group — these things come together in a nice way.”

(See the next pages for the full list of job placement data at the top 50 U.S. schools.)

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