Despite the unprecedented economic convulsions sparked by the coronavirus pandemic this year, the MBA Class of 2020 at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business reported the highest average starting salary in school history, according to a December 15 announcement by the school.
The Darden Career Center reports that the average base starting salary for Class of 2020 MBAs was $139,945, up about $4,800 from the Class of 2019’s $135,168 average, or 3.5%. Average bonus was $33,266 this year, down slightly from last year’s $33,458.
“The resilient demand for Darden graduates and record salaries earned, despite the economic upheaval created by the pandemic, is a testament to the incredible talent of the purpose-driven Class of 2020,” Assistant Dean of Career Development Jeff McNish said in a blog at the Darden website. “It is also a testament to the hard work of faculty, alumni, our dedicated employer partners, staff and members of the Darden Career Center team, who form an unmatched network of career support for Darden students.”
AGAINST HEADWINDS, STRONG OUTCOMES FOR INTERNATIONAL GRADS
As elsewhere, however, the pandemic’s impact was undeniable at Darden. Within 90 days of graduation, 91% of Class of 2020 students accepted an offer of full-time employment, down 5 percentage points from 2019, with 93% of graduates receiving at least one full-time job offer, down from 97%. Yet these numbers represent typical outcomes at the elite U.S. schools amid a disrupted job market that led some companies to delay hiring plans; even international grads, who were inordinately impacted because of their sometimes-tenuous visa status, did well at Darden: 91% of the school’s grads without permanent U.S. work authorization receiving a full-time employment offer within 90 days of graduating, with 88% accepting an offer in that timeframe, down from 96% last year.
By industry, 41% of the Class of 2020 entered roles in consulting, up from 35% last year, followed by 20% in technology careers (up from 16%) and 19% in financial services careers (down from 25%). The top employers — tilted heavily toward consulting, as outcomes would suggest — include the MBB giants of Boston Consulting Group, which led all employers with 25 Darden hires, Bain (17), and McKinsey (17), as well as EY (15), Amazon (11), Dell Technologies (8), Deloitte Consulting (8), and Wayfair (8). Other top employers were Accenture (7), Google (7), Microsoft (7), and Capital One (6).
The full 2020 employment report will be released around mid-January, the school tells Poets&Quants.
MOST DARDEN GRADS GO TO WORK IN THE NORTHEAST
Darden’s most recent alumni began their post-graduate careers in a wide variety of locations across the U.S. and around the world, according to the school’s announcement. The Northeast U.S. was the most common landing spot for the class, with 30% of graduates accepting employment in the region, followed by 23% in the Mid-Atlantic, 15% in the West, 15% in the Southwest, 13% in the Southern U.S., and 5% in the Midwest. Five percent of graduates accepted jobs internationally, led by Asia.
Fifty-three percent of full-time offers came as a result of summer internships. A total of 48 Class of 2020 graduates facing delayed job start dates or rescinded job offers because of the pandemic participated in a paid Darden Impact Internship last summer “to continue building their MBA skills and give back by advancing projects strategic to the school and faculty research,” according to the school.
“This is a special class that persevered through unprecedented uncertainty, and we are incredibly proud of our graduates’ success,” McNish says.
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