Hidden MBA Gems: B-Schools With Better Employment Rates Than Harvard & Stanford

When you think about MBA programs, you also automatically think that the degree will land you in a job better than the one you already have. So it may come as a surprise that the two giants of MBA education, Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business, lag behind quite a number of business schools in placing their latest graduates into jobs.

In fact, a slim majority of schools–51 to be exact–in U.S. News’ Top 100 MBA programs boasted better job placement rates within three months of graduation last year than Harvard Business School and 44 of the Top 100 had put more of their MBA grads into jobs than Stanford. Many of the schools that bested HBS and GSB are not necessarily the highest ranked programs. Indeed, more of them are schools that tend to get overlooked and underestimated by many MBA candidates.

Who would ever have imagined, for example, that Texas State University’s McCoy College of Business or Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business would trash Harvard and Stanford in job rates. Yet, in the midst of the pandemic last year, 100% of McCoy’s MBAs landed jobs three months after commencement, while at Iowa State 96.6% of its graduating MBAs were gainfully employed at the same time.


And how did those employment rates compare with Harvard and Stanford. At HBS, just 82.5% of the MBAs had jobs three months after graduation–17.5 percentage points below Texas State and 14.1 percentage points under Iowa State. At Stanford, where 85.3% of the Class of 2020 had jobs, McCoy MBAs had a 14.7 percentage advantage in the job sweepstakes, while Ivy MBAs achieved an 11.3 percentage gap over the GSB. Let’s not forget that Stanford sits at the epicenter of the still booming tech industry of Silicon Valley, far removed from San Marcos, Texas, or Ames, Iowa,

Sure, the jobs accepted by MBAs at these hidden gems don’t pay as highly, but these grads also didn’t have to reach deeply into their pockets to pay the tuition bills charged by Harvard and Stanford. In some cases, the hair cut in starting salary and bonus isn’t even that great, especially at such business schools as Emory, Georgetown, Washington, Vanderbilt or Rochester.

And yes, the likes of McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting Group, or J.P Morgan and Google, weren’t doing Zoom interviews with the MBA grads at most of those schools. Nonetheless, if the end game of getting an MBA is landing a job within a reasonable timeframe of wearing your cap and gown, there are a lot of schools that are doing better than HBS and GSB in getting their students employed.


Overall, which MBA programs left Harvard and Stanford in the dust last year? Among them, are the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School and the University of Texas’ Jindal School of Management in Dallas, Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management and Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, or  North Carolina A&T State University and St. Louis University’s Chaifetz School of Business.

To shine a light on these hidden gems, we’ve combed through business school employment reports to show who bested the MBA programs widely considered the best on the job front. We include only the programs that were successful in placing nine or more of their MBA graduates into jobs within three months of commencement.


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