Where Tech Finds Talent: The Top B-Schools That Feed The Beleaguered Industry

Silicon Valley Bank, a subsidiary of SVB Financial Group, was taken over by federal regulators on Friday, March 10

Silicon Valley Bank was taken over by federal regulators last week after an unprecedented run by dozens of its largest clients. Hundreds of MBAs — founders, management, and employees of tech startups who graduated from the top business schools in the United States and the world — were among the thousands of the bank’s smaller depositors whose fortunes and futures were thrown into chaotic uncertainty as a result.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has made assurances that the government will make all SVB’s depositors whole, but how they and their businesses fare amid the fallout of the bank’s implosion won’t be known for days and weeks, perhaps even longer.

What we do know, besides the fact that a host of MBAs are impacted, is that the drama is being watched closely by their alma maters and will surely become part of the curriculum for a new class of students. The biggest bank meltdown in a decade and a half is destined to be the basis of a new series of cases that inform the education of everyone from C-suite executives to managers to new hires.

Where will interest in this tech tragedy — the great teachable moment of 2023 — be greatest? At the schools that have traditionally served as the biggest feeders of talent to the tech world, naturally!


Of 32 U.S. business schools examined by Poets&Quants, only 10 saw increases in the percentage of students in their graduating MBA classes that found work in the tech industry between 2021 and 2022. Nineteen schools saw declines, while three were even. For historical perspective, that's basically a reversal from 2018, when 18 schools were up and 13 were down; likewise in 2016, of 28 U.S. and five European schools, 18 showed increases in the numbers of Class of 2016 MBAs going into the tech sector from the year before, and 12 showed decreases.

Across the last five years from 2018 to 2022, 12 U.S. schools were up, 16 down, and two even. Among those with significant declines in that span is the University of Washington Foster School of Business, which remains the U.S. B-school with the highest percentage of MBAs headed into tech at 48% in 2022, up from 45.6% in 2021 but down 12 percentage points from a school-high 60% in 2018. One school that had a bigger decline in the last five years: Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business, which dropped 13 points to just 11% in 2022.

The biggest year-over-year decline occurred at Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business, which had been the top tech MBA producer in 2021 at 36.3% of its class but which dropped 18.3 points to 18% in 2022. Overall, of the 19 schools with declines from 2021 to 2022 — including eight of the top 10 schools in P&Q's ranking — the average decline was 5.3 percentage points. Of 16 schools with a five-year decrease, the average drop is 6.1 points.

Notable increases have happened, too. Washington University's Olin Business School jumped 17 points from 2018 to last year, to 32%. Michigan State Broad College of Business is up more than 13 points to 32.4% in that time frame, while USC Marshall School of Business is up 13 points to 29%.


Salaries for tech MBAs have slowed along with hiring. At 24 U.S. schools for which data is available, the total average salary increase from 2019 to 2022 is 11.9%; compare that to the period between 2016 and 2020, when tech salaries grew 14.3% at 32 leading schools. In fact, four B-schools report declines in 2022 from their 2019 tech salaries (average or median): UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, Washington Olin, Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, and Minnesota Carlson School of Management, the latter reporting the biggest drop-off of 5.2%, to an average of $105,667.

In the P&Q top 10, salary growth from 2019 to 2022 was 12.7%. From 2016 to 2020, those schools — admittedly skewed by big numbers from Stanford and Dartmouth — averaged 18.3% salary growth.

Eighteen schools report median tech MBA salaries of $130K or more for the Class of 2022, same as the Class of 2020; 13 report medians of $140K or more, compared to just five two years ago. The top median salary is at Harvard Business School, which has grown an incredible 22.2% in four years to $165K; Stanford, up 17% in that span, is next at $163,750. Stanford had the highest median tech MBA salary in 2019 at $140K; in 2016, three schools — HBS, Chicago Booth School of Business, and UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business — were tied at $125K.

Some schools report the number of actual hires by employers; Amazon remains the top tech employer just about everywhere, with 22 full-time hires at Booth (4.1% of the entire Class of 2022), 19 at Michigan Ross School of Business, an incredible 48 at Northwestern Kellogg, 18 at MIT Sloan School of Management, and 18 at Duke Fuqua School of Business. Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Facebook (Meta), Cisco Systems, and Salesforce were also top MBA recruiters last year.


Banking collapses isn't the only peril facing the tech sector. So far in 2023, there have been 631 layoffs at tech companies with 164,273 people impacted (2,282 people per day). In 2022, there were 1,535 layoffs at tech companies with 241,176 people impacted.

That's according to True Up, a website dedicated to monitoring the tech bloodbath that includes major layoffs at Amazon, Twitter, Microsoft, and Dell, which fired 6,650 — 5% of its workforce — on February 6. Most recently, on March 14, Meta announced it would lay off 10,000 or 13% of its workforce, following 11,000 firings last November. .

Back in fall 2022 as the tech layoffs began to mount, business schools acted. Led by Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, which made highly publicized overtures to laid-off techies in November (and extended its test waiver in January), one by one the leading U.S. B-schools have reached out to the masses of newly unemployed product managers, engineers, and other tech staff at companies large and small; by January more than a dozen top U.S. schools had made admission easier for the laid-off via entrance exam waivers, extended application deadlines, admission counseling, and even fellowships. See below for details.

“Our focus on the intersection of business and science uniquely positions future leaders to excel in careers across many sectors and companies," said Kellogg’s Greg Hanifee, associate dean of degree programs and operations, in November. The school has waived MBA entrance exam requirements for laid-off workers through Round 3, with a deadline of April 5. "At Kellogg, we have a long heritage of acting with empathy and valuing collaboration."

See the tables on the next page for all the placement and salary data for tech-bound MBAs from the top U.S. and European B-schools from 2018 to 2022.

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