The story of the MBA Class of 2022 was written even before a single student anywhere logged into their first virtual class in the dark days of autumn 2020. When the coronavirus pandemic struck in spring of that year, it was immediately clear that huge challenges were ahead for newly and soon-to-be admitted students as they faced a steep curve in adapting to an entirely virtual learning environment.
This fall, from the release of the first employment reports for that inaugural pandemic class, it became clear that the struggle was worth it, particularly for graduates of the top programs. The latest elite business school to offer evidence of the enduring value of an MBA is MIT Sloan School of Management, where the 358 job seekers among the 476 members of the MBA Class of 2022 “overcame unprecedented challenges to achieve exceptional results,” as Susan Brennan, assistant dean in MIT Sloan’s Career Development Office, writes in the foreword to the new employment report.
Among the most exceptional results: One venture capital-bound MIT Sloan grad reported accepting a job in New York City with a starting base salary of $270,000; another in general management reported a signing bonus of $160,000; and one newly minted MBA reported receiving a gobsmacking $800,000 in other compensation in the form of stock and equity. (An earlier version of this story inaccurately categorized the $800K as a “bonus”; Sloan says the amount was not a bonus but was “collected as a single, total estimated value in USD based on valuation and/or share price at time of survey.”)
MIT'S CONSULTING GRADS REPORT MEDIAN BASE SALARY OF $175K
Based on the new report, Sloan kept pace with the successes of peer schools in the M7 and elsewhere. Average base salary for 2022 Sloanies increased 7.6% from the previous year, to $159,391, and median base salary grew 10% to $165,000; total median compensation — calculated by combining base salary with signing bonus and other compensation and weighing the percentage of graduates who reported the latter two — was $204,700, up 4.7% from $195,600 last year.
But it's not as though MIT Sloan saw a huge drop-off in MBA outcomes in previous years, even in the depth of the pandemic. While median salaries and bonuses were flat last year at $150,000 and $30,000, other compensation, reported by more than 70% of the class, skyrocketed from a median of $11,000 to $34,000, powering an 8.5% jump in total compensation to $195,600 from $180,223. That was a better rate of pay increase than 2020’s 3.8% and even better than the strong 7.6% that the Class of 2019 enjoyed.
Leading the way in median pay in 2022 were Consulting grads, who reported a median $175K, followed by Finance ($170K) and Auto/Aerospace ($160K). A finance grad had the highest reported salary — the aforementioned venture capitalist — followed by a consultant who reported a base salary of $245K. The lowest median was for Other Services, which includes Real Estate, at $125K.
"The strength of these employment outcomes reflect the dedication of our faculty, students, alumni, employers, and colleagues — our many partners across the MIT Sloan community who create a uniquely Sloan experience through world-class curriculum, learning labs, centers and initiatives, mentor programs, and professional development and networking activities," Brennan says. "These experiences create leaders who are prepared and energized to transform the future of business."
3-MONTH OFFERS UP SLIGHTLY, ACCEPTANCES STEADY
Placement rates for MIT Sloan grads never fell out of the 90%-and-above range even during the worst months of the Covid-19 pandemic. For context, in 2019, nearly 96% of MIT’s 403 grads received job offers by three months after graduation, down slightly from 2018 (97%), while 93.2% accepted, down from 93.6%. In 2020, when coronavirus struck, the percentage of offers after three months to the 314 grads who were actively seeking work dropped only slightly, to 95.5% from 95.7%, and those accepting fell to 91.1%.
Of the 407 MBAs graduating from MIT in 2021, 95.9% received offers within three months of graduation, a mild improvement, while 94.8% accepted — a better than 4% increase. And this year, the numbers improved on the offer side, at 96.6%, and held steady on the acceptance side, at 94.4%.
Last year, top industries for MIT's MBAs were consulting (28.3%) and tech (25%), while finance saw a resurgence (21.4%). But the big news was the higher percentage of full-time offers in healthcare/pharma/biotech, which grew to 9.8% of the class from 6%. This year, consulting grew to 31.2% of the class and tech — including software/internet, computers/electronics, and telecommunications — dropped again, into a tie with finance at 22.6%. Healthcare snapped back a bit to 6.8%.
MBA Class of 2023 interns, meanwhile, chose roles in finance first (29.2%), then tech (26.5%), and consulting (22.2%). Healthcare/pharma/biotech (5.2%) "was another key industry for internship-seeking students, rounding out the top four industries," Brennan writes.
53.7% OF 2022 GRADS WENT TO NYC OR BOSTON, UP FROM 40% LAST YEAR
Of the 405 total graduates in the Class of 2020, 57, or 14.1%, were sponsored and planned to return to their companies; that was up from 46 (11.4%) in 2019. Fewer planned to start their own business, however: just 14, or 3.5%, down from 6.7% in 2019. Last year, 76 Sloanies (18.7%) were sponsored and returning, and 17 (4.2%) were planning to become entrepreneurs. In 2022, 62 grads (13%) were sponsored and returning and 49 (10.3%) starting a business.
Where do Sloanies go to work? In 2021, the answer was largely the Northeast — Boston and New York — though a bigger portion chose the West than in 2020 — 29.7% from 27.2%. The Northeast once again claimed most Sloan grads in 2021 (40%), but the lure of the West continued to be strong — and the earner of the top reported salary of $275K was based in the San Francisco Bay Area. This year, many more Sloanies chose the Northeast corridor: 53.7%, split about evenly between Boston and New York, with the latter group matching the high median base salary of $175K that was also found in Chicago and Miami. Nineteen percent chose the West Coast; only 6% found work outside the U.S., with half of those going to Europe.
As it is every year, "growth potential" was the top reason Sloan MBAs accepted their position, up to 42.3% from 40.7%. "Sustainability," which had grown by leaps and bounds in 2019 as a cause for Sloan MBAs to take a job, then cratered from 4.3% to 0.9% the next year before notably bouncing back in 2021, stayed steady at 2.9%. See table below.