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Consulting Widens Gap In Chicago Booth’s Final 2020 MBA Jobs Report

Chicago Booth has released its final MBA Class of 2020 employment report

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business has released its final MBA Class of 2020 employment report, and the impact of coronavirus on Boothies’ job hunt can be seen in where they found work and for how much. In short, closer to home and for only moderately more money.

The overall median base salary for the class grew by $5,000 to $150,000 from last year, with consulting and finance flat at $160K and $150K, respectively, but tech jobs brought in $10K more, from a median $130,000 to $140,000. Overall median bonuses were the same at $30,000, though they rose for finance grads by $10,000 (to $50K) and for tech grads by $7,500 (to $40K). Overall total compensation — base salary plus sign-on bonus, but not including “other” comp, which Booth declined to report this year — was up slightly, to $170,100 from $168,060, or 1.2%.

The top three industries remained the same from last year, with consulting leading the way, finance a close second (but losing ground), and technology firmly in third place. Like other schools, Booth’s job offers three months after graduation were down somewhat, to 92.8% from 96.3%, and job acceptances were also down, to 91.4% from 95.1%. And far more Boothies opted to stay in the U.S. rather than work internationally, no doubt a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


With more than 38% of the Booth Class of 2020 going into the consulting sector this year, compared to just over 30% in finance, the gap widens from 2019, when consulting was the favored industry of 33.7% of Boothies and 31.3% chose banking. Until 2017, Booth had long and widely been considered a finance school. Interestingly — considering the remote nature of so much work this year — fewer Booth grads went into tech this year: 16.3%, down from 20.7% in 2019.

Last year, starting pay for Booth MBAs in consulting and finance set new record highs. The median salary for a consulting hire jumping $10,000 to $160,000 to start in 2019, while sign-on bonuses rose $5,000 to $30,000. The starting median salary for graduates who accepted jobs in financial services jumped a whopping $25,000 to $150,000 that year, with median signing bonuses of $40,000. In 2020, consulting pay grew to a median of $165K and finance was flat at $150K. Consulting bonuses were flat but finance bonuses jumped to $50K. Tech jobs saw the biggest jump in both areas, with median salary climbing $10,000 to $140K and bonuses growing to $40,000 from $32,500.

Notably, healthcare became a much bigger slice of the employment pie this year, with 3.5% of the class taking jobs in healthcare products and services, up from just 1% last year. Healthcare MBAs’ salaries grew, too, to a median of $130K from $125K, but median bonuses dropped to $20K from $30K.


In 2019, the largest single group of graduating MBAs from Chicago Booth stayed in the Midwest (28.9%), with 26.1% taking jobs in Chicago. About 21.7% of the class headed to the West Coast, with 13.5% in the Bay Area, 6.1% in Seattle, and 2% in Los Angeles. A nearly equal percentage (21.3%) accepted jobs in the Northeast, mainly in New York, which accounted for 18% of the class. This year, even more Boothies stayed local: 32.7% in the Midwest and 29.5% in Chicago. West Coast numbers were up, too: 24.6% headed for the coast, with 14.5% to the Bay Area, 6.2% to Seattle, and 3.7% to L.A. And New York got more Booth MBAs, as well: 22.6% went to the Northeast, including 18.9% to the Big Apple.

Where did the gains in three U.S. regions come from? Abroad. Last year, some 12.8% of Booth MBAs assumed jobs outside the U.S., with 5% in Asia, 4.8% in Latin American and the Caribbean, and just 1.7% in Europe, mainly London, which accounted for 1.1% of the class. This year, unsurprisingly given the turmoil involved in travel, the overall international employment number was way down, to 8.6%, with most Booth MBAs who did take jobs abroad going to Latin America and the Caribbean (3.7%), Asia (2.9%), and Europe (1.3%).

Outside of the top two industries, the majority of Boothies went to work in tech this year and last — though it was a smaller number this year than last. In 2019, the vast majority of tech hires went to work in e-commerce and Internet companies (11.7% of the entire class), with software a distant second (4.6%), followed by hardware (1.7%). Those numbers were roughly in line with the year-earlier stats on tech, though e-commerce grads in 2018 accounted for 10.7% of the class. In 2020, as tech-bound grads dropped by nearly 17% to 16.3% of the class, the number of Booth MBAs taking e-commerce jobs fell to 8.8%; however, software grew slightly to 4.8%.

See our October report on the Chicago Booth intern employment data here.