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For Cornell MBAs, A Boom In Finance, Consulting Jobs

Tech jobs are down at Cornell Johnson, but finance is up — big time. Cornell photo

This time last year, Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management was celebrating a big increase in tech jobs in its 2018 employment report. The school’s tech grads jumped from 12% in 2017 to 18%, a 50% increase, to coincide with the news that Amazon would build half of its massive new headquarters in Queens, across the East River from Cornell’s New York City campus. Much has changed since then. Amazon will no longer be creating 25,000 jobs with a new major installation, instead planning a much smaller Manhattan office; and tech jobs at Cornell have slipped, losing half what they had gained in one year.

2019 was not, then, the Year of Tech at Cornell that some had foreseen. Instead, finance and consulting were the fields that saw jumps: the latter by a little, and the former by a lot.

Consulting jobs grew to 28% of the graduating class from 22% last year, while finance jobs skyrocketed to 37% from 29%. Both represent more than 27% increases. Tech, meanwhile, dropped from 18% to 15% after sitting at 12% in 2017.

“Placement in the financial services industry was high, but it is important to recognize that those jobs incorporate everything from investment banking to equity research, marketing, corporate finance, and data analytics,” says David Capaldi, Cornell Johnson’s executive director of career services. “I would say that the decline in tech was offset by a six-point increase in consulting placement. We saw many students recruiting for both tech and the digital practices at the consulting firms. In the end a number of them went to consulting.”

SALARY, BONUSES ON THE RISE

Cornell graduated 282 MBAs in 2019; 264 sought employment, while five started their own businesses. Base salary for all job seekers rose to an average of $131,150, an increase of about 4% over 2018, while bonuses jumped 7% to $35,976. Eighty-five percent of grads reported receiving signing bonuses; calculating from this, the average total compensation comes out to $161,730, up from $153,155 the previous year, an increase of 5.6%. The average base salary for U.S. work-authorized MBAs was slightly higher than the overall average: $136,281; signing bonuses for those MBAs was higher as well: $36,456.

By three months after graduation, 94% of Cornell MBAs received job offers, same as 2018, and 93% accepted them. Top salaries came in consulting: $142,019. Finance was next at $131,693, followed by tech at $126,029.

“The ROI at Johnson is very strong demonstrated by the placement and compensation data,” Capaldi tells Poets&Quants. “I think the results are even more impressive when you take into account the high percentage of career switchers at Johnson.”

CORNELL MBAs WHO WORK IN THE SOUTHWEST MAKE THE MOST

Tech companies are still in the mix among the top employers of Cornell MBAs. Among the top 15 companies that hired Cornell Johnson Class of 2019 graduates for full-time positions: Amazon, Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Accenture, McKinsey and Company, Deloitte, and IBM. In total, 203 companies recruited two-year MBAs for either full-time employment or internships during the 2018-2019 academic year.

The vast majority of Cornell MBAs — 53% — find work in the region where they studied: the Northeast, presumably mostly New York City. But that’s not where the most money is. Northeast Cornell MBAs make an average base salary of $135,667, higher than the overall salary average but lower than those who relocate to the Southwest — presumably the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Though only 9% of Cornell MBAs make that move, they average $140,825. Another 11% of 2019 MBAs moved to the West, which includes the West Coast, to make an average of $135,492, while 10% moved to the Midwest to m are an average of $134,496.

Finance may not have offered the highest salaries for Cornell MBAs but it did offer the highest bonuses: 81% of finance-bound grads reported receiving bonuses that average out to $46,464. The next closest was tech, where 72% of grads report receiving an average $32,161. Consulting grads (90%) report receiving $31,913.

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AND SEE MORE FROM POETS&QUANTS ON THE EMPLOYMENT REPORTS AT THE TOP SCHOOLS: 

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