Tech Still King For Tepper MBAs, But Now It Must Share The Throne

The high-tech Tepper Quad, which opened in 2018. Tech is still king at the Tepper School, but now it must share the title with consulting. CMU photo

Tech is, seemingly, always going to be king at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. Last year, however, that wasn’t such a certainty, as the number of tech-bound Tepper MBAs tumbled precipitously.

Tepper’s employment report last fall showed that the number of MBA grads going into tech dipped to 32.4%, a decline of about 10 percentage points from 2017. Turns out that wasn’t a harbinger so much as a course correction. As it has since 2014, tech remains the top destination of Tepper MBAs in the school’s new employment report released this week, with 30.5% of 2019 grads headed into the industry.

But tech has company this year, with an equal number of Tepper MBAs — 30.5% — finding jobs in consulting. In fact, when we say “equal,” we mean exactly the same number of Tepper MBAs — 57 — went into each field. This, though, represents a huge leap for consulting: Last year, just over 23% of Tepper MBAs went into the industry, meaning this year’s figure represents a 32% jump. It’s a return to form for consulting, which was pushed aside by an ascendant tech in 2014.

“The employment outcomes ultimately reflect the interests of our students each year,” Stephen Rakas, executive director of Tepper’s Masters Career Center, tells Poets&Quants. “Our curriculum equips students with a powerful skillset that blends business, technology, and analytics, so I don’t foresee any significant drop of interest in the technology industry. This same skill set is also a great fit for careers in consulting and other industries, as reflected in the employment outcomes.”


Tepper’s 2019 employment report has some very good news for the school and its graduates: the crop of newly minted MBAs set a record for median starting base salary, at $126,250, up from $125,000 in 2018. The school’s high salary, $165,000, was reported by multiple grads who found work in the West, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast.

Of the 231 full-time MBA grads in CMU Tepper’s Class of 2019, 205 sought employment; more than 90% of the Tepper Class of 2019 received (94%) and accepted (91%) offers within three months of graduating — an all-time high for Tepper since there recession days of 2008. Of the grads seeking work, 83% reported signing bonus, with a median of $25,000 and a high of $200,000.

Besides the twin towers of tech and consulting, Tepper saw a more balanced distribution of industries, with 10% going into financial services, 9% into manufacturing, 7% into biotech/healthcare/pharma, and 6% into “other.”

Nearly half of Tepper’s Class of 2019 (49.7%) had five years or more of experience, and most of the rest (41.7%) had between three and five years. More than half (51.3%) had technical, rather than business (25.7%), undergraduate majors. The vast majority (92%) found work in the United States, with only a small number (5.9%) going to work in Asia.


In 2016, Tepper reported an astonishing stat: 45% of its women MBAs went into tech. The next year, eyebrows raised across the graduate business education landscape when that number ballooned to 58%. While the number of women Tepper sends into tech has declined significantly from those highs, the school remains in the vanguard among its peers in the quest for gender balance and equity, Stephen Rakas says.

“Twenty-nine percent of women MBAs at Tepper went into tech in 2019, which was similar to the 31% of our women who did so in 2018,” Rakas tells P&Q. “The outcomes for men in tech for those same two years were 32% in 2019 and 32% in 2019, so while overall tech has adjusted down from a few years ago, it’s still higher than many of our peers. 

“It’s important to note that in 2019, 38% of women went into consulting compared to 27% of our men, so it appears that our women are leading the significant trends, which is an exciting story to share.”


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