Tech Record In The Rearview, Duke MBAs Set New Benchmarks

The top employer of Duke MBAs this year: consulting behemoth McKinsey, which upped its employment of Fuquans to 45 from 17, a 165% increase. Duke photo

Despite the dip in tech-bound MBAs, the West Coast remains the top destination for Fuqua grads, with 25% (88 grads) relocating there. That is down from 30% last year. Second place was the Northeast, essentially New York City, with 22%, and third place was the South, at 17% — which Sheryle Dirks says should dispel the apparently widely held notion that Duke produces MBAs who stay in the South.

“From a destination perspective, the West Coast is our number-one location, and that’s the third year in a row for that,” she says. “I think prospective students have a tendency to think that because we are in the South, that that is a logical destination — that our students tend to stay in the South. But that is obviously not the case.” Eleven percent of Fuqua MBAs find work in the Midwest, and 5% leave the country altogether for work in Asia.

Outside the top three industries for Fuqua MBAs, healthcare remains a strong field, with 8% of the Class of 2019 finding work there, down only slightly from last year (9%). Healthcare also was the destination for 11% of Duke interns this summer. Consumer goods is a 5%, and retail is at 3%, both unchanged from last year.

“We’re really proud of our health sector management program, which provides a really deep, academic focus on healthcare, and so a lot of companies come to Fuqua to look for talent because of that,” Dirks says. “There’s a diverse footprint of healthcare opportunities here as a result of that.”


For undergraduate studies, 22% of the class had technical majors, while 36% majored in business and 42% in “other.” Those with technical degrees had the highest post-MBA average salary, $138,344, while technical and other each had median salaries of $140,000. But someone with a business undergrad degree — that same U.S. citizen in private equity/venture capital mentioned above — reported the highest salary, $325,000. That person also has more than five years’ experience, according to the employment report’s breakdown on work background, making him a member of the largest contingent in the class, at 54%. However, those with fewer than three years’ experience, only 4% of the class, had the highest mean and median salaries, $142,858 and $150,000, respectively.

The vast majority of 2019 Fuqua MBAs (about 183, 73%) found their jobs through school-related activities. Likewise for internships: 87%, or 303, of the Class of 2020 found their internships this summer with the help of Duke’s career center or through some school event or function.

“You look at our top employers list and you look at the employers who hire the most — McKinsey, Amazon, BCG, Microsoft — and it’s a really cream-of-the-crop list. And then you look at the ones that hire three or more, which is how we choose to feature them, and it’s a really diverse list. We’ve got manufacturers and we’ve got healthcare companies and financial services firms, and those are things that we are really proud of, that we are able to maintain relationships with such a diverse portfolio of companies.”

Source: Duke Fuqua 2019 Employment Report


Speaking of internships, Duke’s jobs report shows that 98% of all interns reported a salary, including 99% of non-U.S. students, at a monthly average of $8,477 and median of $8,300. The high monthly salary was $13,750, and the low was $400. A handful of interns — 16% — reported receiving a signing bonus, with a mean of $5,714 and a median of $5,000. Consulting interns, as usual, made the most, with median monthly pay of $12,200, followed by finance ($11,000), energy ($8,629), insurance ($8,400), technology ($8,000), and healthcare ($7,870).

Unlike grads, consulting was not the top destination for interns in 2019, with 21% working over the summer at McKinsey, Bain, BCG, etc. Instead, tech was the top summer home for Fuquans, 28% of whom worked in some capacity for a tech company. Finance was third at 17%.

“Tech with 28% of both the grads and interns shows that it is really robust overall across the two classes,” Dirks says. “Tech is still extremely healthy for us. The big employers, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, their numbers are comparable from last year to this year. Some of the more midsize employers for us were down a little bit — that is what we experienced this year.”


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.