For the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, no matter what 2020 looked like, it was going to be hard to top last year’s employment report. That’s because 98% of Tuck Class of 2019 MBAs received job offers 90 days after graduation, only just missing the school record of 99%, a mark that put the school at the head of its pack of top-10 peers. Tuck’s Class of 2019 also set new records in median bonuses, median salaries, and median overall pay.
Yet somehow Tuck Class of 2020 MBAs, graduating in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, did top their predecessors. Though the percentage of 2020 grads receiving a job offer within three months of graduation slipped to 94%, and the percentage who accepted positions within the same timeframe dropped to 92% from 93%, the class set new records in median salaries as well as total compensation, while keeping median bonuses stable.
Stephen Pidgeon, executive director of career services at the Tuck School, says the school’s success can be attributed to the hard work of the careers team and the contributions of a robust network of alumni. “In the middle of a global health crisis, we anticipated that recruiting might be more difficult this year,” Pigeon says. “The mechanics of recruiting remain much the same remotely, but we were mindful at the onset about the number of opportunities that might be available. In the end, a common theme emerged: organizations prioritizing collaborative, team-oriented leaders — a bill that Tuck students fit perfectly.
“I was pleased to see where we ended up with offers and acceptances. When I think back to the spring, when the pandemic was sweeping across the world and the economic situation was very uncertain, I did have a moment of concern, but I think our class of 2020 ended up doing very well. Salary numbers are up considerably, and I’m very pleased for our graduating students that they were able to achieve such high salaries. Some of this is driven by an increase in the percentage of students going into consulting, where companies are very competitive with each other to land the best talent, but overall we see companies recognizing the value of the MBA.”
Tuck is the latest school to publish its 2020 employment report in a year in which the annual MBA job reports are trickling out, little by little, almost always later than normal due to the pandemic (see 2020 MBA employment reports below). Harvard Business School, which typically publishes the outcomes of its latest graduating class of MBAs in early November, has yet to release its accounting. Stanford Graduate School of Business, which posts its employment numbers in early December, isn’t expected to go live with its 2020 employment report until January 12.
NEW RECORD TOTAL MEDIAN COMPENSATION: $180K
What we have seen so far from Dartmouth’s peer schools is similar — if not as robust — as what the Tuck School reports. UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business saw salaries creep incrementally upward while job offers and acceptances declined. Same for Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, though its salary increase there was somewhat more pronounced. Likewise at NYU Stern School of Business and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, both of which revealed a small bump in median salary for most of the class.
At Tuck, first-year total median compensation climbed to a new high of $180,000, up from $170,000 last year. The median first-year base salary is $150,000, up from $140K, and the median signing bonus is $30,000, same as 2019. The average first-year base salary of $143,867 is a 3.5% improvement on last year, helping to bring total mean compensation for Tuck’s newest graduates to $178,038. As with 2019, 88% of graduates received a signing bonus.
Consulting, financial services, and technology remained the top three industries for Tuck MBAs, with the school setting a record in consulting grads at 42%, up 4 percentage points from 2019. Finance followed with 21% of the class, down from 24%, and technology with 15%, down for the second straight year from a school record of 24% in 2018. Healthcare/pharma/biotech climbed to 8% from 5%.
“Interest in tech remains steady,” Pidgeon tells Poets&Quants. “Our 2018 number in tech was high, but overall we’ve remained quite consistent in the industry. And the numbers going to the West Coast are still up. For instance, 21% of the T’20 class went to the West Coast and our dedicated West Coast adviser Laura Mogilner has proved a great addition to the career services team.”
Median consulting salaries were flat at $165K, finance grew by $5K to $150K, and tech grew by $4K, to $130K. Healthcare salaries fell big, from $130K last year to $121K this year.
“We have certainly seen a rise in interest in consulting — I think there’s a strong logic to that in that consulting companies look for candidates with an overlap of academic strength and people skills, which fits very well with the type of student that is attracted to Tuck,” Pidgeon says. “And from the student perspective it’s a great post-MBA launchpad to start a company or pursue leadership positions back in the ‘real world’.
“Additionally, it’s notable that this year we have an increase in the number our students going into healthcare — there has been a significant demand for MBA skills across the healthcare industry especially in the face of the current crisis, and it’s been inspiring to see the way our students and graduates have rolled up their sleeves to get involved.”
ALUMNI & CORPORATE PARTNERSHIPS CREDITED WITH KEY ROLES IN A CHALLENGING YEAR
Calling the school’s 2020 employment report evidence of loyal and supportive alumni and corporate partners, Pidgeon says Dartmouth Tuck has “the world’s most effective MBA network,” adding that no matter the state of the world, there will always be a demand for the kind of leaders the Tuck School produces.
“The outreach and connections from alumni in the face of this pandemic has truly shown the value of the Tuck network,” Pidgeon says. “Alumni were incredibly supportive for full-time recruiting, but it was with internship placement that their impact reverberated most.”
Every student in the class of 2021 had at least one internship or fellowship during the pandemic summer, he says, and some even had two. Internship locations for summer 2020 are not listed in this year’s report, as most opportunities were remote.
“Most everything in 2020 has looked a bit different,” Pidgeon says. “The story behind this year’s employment data is one of stability, resilience, and a community deeply committed to supporting one another.”
He continues: “One thing that’s surprised me this fall has been the way that recruiting has shifted so well to the virtual environment. Before the pandemic, doing a virtual event was sometimes seen by students or companies as the ‘second-best option,’ but now we’ve all learned that’s not the case. Indeed, this year we’ve had more companies doing events with us than ever before, and while I’m sure many of our alumni and long-term recruiting partners will be looking forward to getting back to in-person events soon, we will definitely carry forward a stronger ability to connect our students with an ever-growing variety of opportunities from around the country and around the world.”
See Dartmouth Tuck’s entire 2020 MBA employment report here.