MBA Class Of 2021 Jobs: Offers Soar For Cornell Grads

Cornell University's Sage Hall

According to its 2021 jobs report, 97% of Cornell Johnson MBAs received employment offers within three months of graduation. Courtesy photo

Though salaries and bonuses continue to rise year-over-year for Cornell University’s MBA graduates, the winning stat from its recently released 2021 MBA employment report is the 97% job offer rate three months post-graduation.

Last year, in the middle of the pandemic, Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management saw employment offers slip by 1 percentage point from the previous year — avoiding, in that metric at least, the harsh effects of Covid-19 that impacted so many other programs. But Cornell did not miss out on the big 2021 rebound, as job offers jumped 4 percentage points and reached their highest rate in five years. 

“Johnson students enjoyed extraordinary placement success in 2021,” Cornell Johnson Dean Mark Nelson tells Poets&Quants. “We saw record highs in offer rate, acceptance rate, average base salary, and average signing bonus, with particular strength in MBB consulting, tech, and investment banking. Record numbers of recruiters interacted with our students, and we used our top-notch technology infrastructure to support virtual events and virtual interviews as appropriate.” 


For Johnson’s Class of 2021, 259 out of 278 two-year MBA grads sought jobs, and 97% of them got a job offer within three months of graduation; 95% accepted. Compare that to 2020 when 93% of the class were offered jobs while 90% accepted.

The offer rate at Cornell Johnson (ranked No. 15 in our latest ranking of the 100 best business schools) is on par with many of the other top-ranked schools. Comparatively, 96% of Harvard Class of 2021 MBAs got offers within three months of graduation, 98% of Dartmouth Tuck MBAs, and 98% for Chicago Booth

For the class of 2021, percentages were slightly higher for Cornell MBAs authorized to work in the United States (98% offered jobs, 97% accepted), but lower for those with non-U.S. work authorization (93% offered, 89% accepted.) 


Johnson Dean Mark Nelson 2021

Mark Nelson

While MBA pay slumped during the first pandemic year of 2020, graduates from Cornell University's two-year program fared better than most. Class of 2020 graduates earned the seventh highest compensation package of all the top programs. For the Class of 2021, base salaries and bonuses continue a five-year growth trend and are up over 2020, but they’re rising at a slower clip than in previous years. 

Since 2017, average base salary for two-year MBA graduates has increased 10.8% from $125,578 to $139,121. The biggest increase was in 2020 when base salary jumped 5.8% to $138,767, which was an even faster rate of growth than the 4% between 2018 and 2019.  The 2021 number represents a mere 0.26% increase from 2020. (Base salary for U.S. work authorized MBAs was $141,397 and $133,173 for non-U.S. work authorized.)

Meanwhile, average bonuses for Cornell’s two-year MBAs are up 19% since 2017, with a 3.6% increase from 2020 ($36,391) to 2021 ($37,684).  (The average signing bonus for 2021 MBAs authorized to work in the U.S. was $35,925 while it was $43,208 for those authorized to work outside the country.)

“The value of a Cornell MBA has never been higher,” Nelson says. “We are tremendously proud of our excellent students, our innovative curriculum (including our immersion programming and opportunity for study on both our Ithaca and NYC-based Cornell Tech campuses), and the dedicated alumni, faculty and staff that support everything we do.”

Next page: Where Cornell MBAs go to work

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