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Top Employers Of Harvard Business School Alumni Over Five Decades

Major MBA employers

Which companies hire the most Harvard Business School MBA graduates?

At HBS, which does not disclose an annual list of major employers, that is a more difficult question to answer. But a study of Black alumni at Harvard Business School over five decades, name the biggest employers of HBS MBAs. The analysis is captured in Race, Work, and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience edited by Laura Morgan Roberts, Anthony J. Mayo and David Thomas.

In the early years, the 1970s, IBM and General Motors are at the top. But as the decades move on, there is a decided shift from manufacturing to financial services and consulting. The professors who examined the data and did the analysis believe the same trend occurred for all HBS graduates, not only Black Americans who graduated from the school.

In the 1980s, for example, GM dropped out of the list of major employers. Instead, the largest hirers of Black MBAs from Harvard Business School were, in order of importance, IBM, Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, Booz Allen Hamilton, Goldman Sachs, Kraft Foods, JP Morgan and Procter & Gamble. In the past decade, the 2010s, four of the half dozen major employers were consulting firms led by McKinsey & Co. Deloitte and Bain & Co., then Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, and the Boston Consulting Group.

Harvard MBAs Now Spend Less Than Three Years With Their First Employers Vs. 9.6 Years In The 1970s

McKinsey & Co. and Goldman Sachs, perhaps not surprisingly, were among the top employers over four of the five decades.

The researchers found that the number of years Black MBAs from Harvard stay in their first jobs has seen a dramatic decline over the decades, from 9.6 years and 8.6 years, respectively, in the 1970s and the 1980s, to less than three years in the 2010s.

The study also found that 35% of Black alumni currently work in the finance sector. The next largest concentration of Black alumni–18%–were those working in professional service organizations, including consulting, advertising and legal services. Black alumni are more concentrated in these two industries, say the researchers, than the overall HBS alumni base. A comparable 2014 survey of all HBS alums from 1982 to 2012 found that 27% and 13% were working, respectively, in finance and consulting.

Top Employers Of Black MBA Alumni At Harvard Business School Over Five Decades

Data shows a shift from manufacturing companies, such as IBM and General Motors, to financial service and consulting firms. McKinsey & Co., the global consulting giant, has been among the top employers of African-American MBA graduates at Harvard for four of the past five decades.

Decade Top MBA Employers
The 1970s IBM, General Motors
The 1980s IBM, Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, Booz Allen Hamilton, Goldman Sachs, Kraft Foods, JP Morgan, Procter & Gamble
The 1990s McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Bain, Morgan Stanley, Booz Allen Hamilton
The 2020s Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Procter & Gamble, Citi, JP Morgan, American Express, Merrill Lynch
The 2010s McKinsey, Deloitte, Bain, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, BCG

Note: Companies are listed in order of the numbers of graduates they employed in the decade
Source: Race, Work, and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience