Duke Fuqua 2023 MBA Jobs Report: Another Big Jump In Median Salary & Total Comp

Duke Fuqua 2023 MBA Jobs Report: Another Big Jump In Median Salary & Total Comp

MBAs from the Duke Fuqua Daytime MBA Class of 2023 reported school-record salaries, though placement rates slipped from the records set by their predecessors in 2022. Justin Cook photo

The undulations of a global economy can reverberate in unexpected ways. Though MBA job offers in 2023 are slightly down at some of the top business schools both in the United States and Europe, the downturn is less pronounced than some prognosticators have stated — and at a handful of top U.S. schools where employment reports have been released this fall, the value of an MBA has largely been reinforced.

That’s certainly true at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which released its MBA Class of 2023 report today (November 2). Even as job offers after the traditional three-month post-graduation waiting period slipped from school records set in 2022, mirroring the reality at some of its peer schools, the Fuqua School reached new records in median class starting salary and median total compensation.

As Sheryle Dirks, associate dean for career management, writes in a new blog marking the release of the 2023 jobs report, finding the right fit at a new job or in a new career is equally important to getting a hefty payday right out of school.

“As a long-standing member of Fuqua’s careers team, I’ve journeyed with our students through many economic cycles in recruiting and hiring,” Dirks writes. “The global economy in recent years has been so unpredictable, though, that it’s made for an unusually bumpy ride. Despite challenging circumstances, our graduates have enjoyed well-deserved success — both in traditional compensation and in quality-of-life measures, like finding work that is meaningful to their unique career goals and personal values.”


Industry 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Consulting 43% 36% 32% 31% 32% 32% 33% 32% 32%
Technology 17% 23% 27% 27% 23% 28% 19% 19% 18%
Finance 21% 16% 17% 18% 20% 16% 20% 18% 20%
Healthcare 6% 11% 10% 8% 8% 9% 9% 12% 8%
Consumer Goods 6% 4% 6% 5% 5% 5% 5% 6% 7%


Duke Fuqua 2023 MBA Jobs Report: Another Big Jump In Median Salary & Total Comp

Sheryle Dirks: Amid economic uncertainty, “the outcomes are a testament not only to their talent but to their commitment and resilience as well”

In 2022, Duke’s graduating class of MBAs reported a 14% jump in median starting salary over their 2021 predecessors, to $160,055 from $140,000. Including a median $30,000 signing bonus that 83.6% of Duke MBAs reported receiving, total median compensation for Fuqua MBAs last year was $185,135.

This year’s graduates did even better, reporting a median salary of $175,000, up more than 9% in one year and 25% since 2021. Including a median signing bonus that stayed flat at $30,000, reported by 78% of the 389 grads seeking jobs, total compensation reached $198,400 — a 7.2% increase from last year. These outcomes are on par with Fuqua peers Michigan Ross School of Business and Virginia Darden School of Business, and close behind Chicago Booth School of Business, which U.S. News & World Report ranked No. 1 in the United States in 2023.

Like those other schools, Duke’s placement rates this year slipped, but that was to be expected — and not just because of shakiness in some corners of the market that tend to hire lots of MBAs. Duke grads achieved record offer and acceptance levels in 2022, with 98% of graduating MBAs receiving at least one job offer by three months post-graduation, and 97% accepting. This year, 93% of Fuqua MBAs seeking employment received an offer by 90 days post-graduation, and 92% accepted.

Dirks writes that the placement rate slippage “isn’t surprising as companies have been more conservative in recruiting and hiring, with later offers as the natural result. Another impact of the current market is that some graduates had the start dates of their accepted offers pushed back, an approach employers may sometimes find necessary to retain top talent while adapting to reduced work volume.

“We strongly believe that the timing of an offer is not a measure of its quality. We encourage students to be proactive in pursuing an offer that is right for them, rather than accepting something that doesn’t feel like a strong fit.”


Company 2023 Hires 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
McKinsey & Co. 30 16 24 18 30 17 21 12 24
Amazon 12 18 33 31 19 21 15 15 15
Boston Consulting Group 32 42 19 21 13 9 14 13 17
Bain & Company 21 12 9 7 NA NA NA NA NA
Microsoft 3 11 9 11 8 11 11 13 19
Google 5 11 5 8 9 7 5 6 4
Dell 4 9 7 5 10 6 3 6 1
Deloitte 18 22 12 15 16 NA NA NA NA
EY-Parthenon 6 4 7 14 7 NA NA NA NA
Bank of America 10 10 9 7 NA NA NA NA NA
JPMorgan Chase 9 8 NA NA NA NA NA
Accenture 13 10 6 12 NA NA NA NA NA


Consulting was once again the top industry for Fuqua MBAs in 2023, at 43% of the class — another school record — up from 36% in 2022 and 32% in 2021. Consulting has accounted for 30% or more of every graduating MBA class at Fuqua since at least 2015; this year, the MBB firms made 83 MBA hires, up from 70 last year: 32 at Boston Consulting Group, 30 at McKinsey, and 21 and Bain & Company. The prominence of consulting for Duke MBAs was, once more, even more dramatic by job function, with 47% citing their role as consulting, up 7 percentage points from 2022 and 14 points from two years ago.

And as placement in both tech (17% from 23% last year and 27% in 2021) and healthcare (6% from 11%) slipped this year, consulting salaries once again largely powered the big boost in the class median: Industry median salary was $190K this year, up from $175K, while finance kept its median salary at $175K but welcomed more Duke MBAs (21% of the class from 16%).

Noting that the number of students taking positions with tech companies decreased by 6%, with hiring in this sector led by Amazon, Google, Adobe, and Dell, Dirks writes that the tech downturn was “perhaps expected in light of workforce reductions across the industry. Many students refocused their interest to identify roles that focus on rapidly advancing technology and innovation in companies outside the traditional definition of the tech sector.”


Sheryle Dirks says the key metrics in this year’s employment report are important, but so are some things that aren’t as easily measured. Saying she wanted to “highlight some ambitions not accounted for in the employment report data,” she emphasizes the importance to newly minted MBAs of finding the right job, not just the highest-paying one.

“We are seeing some graduates opt not to seek traditional employment in favor of starting a new business, and some graduates with delayed start dates are using their time and skills to support startups, nonprofits, and social enterprises,” Dirks writes.

“I am proud of the Class of 2023 for pursuing roles that will fulfill their personal and professional goals, even when faced with a challenging job market which often means a longer and more difficult search. Amid such economic uncertainty, the outcomes are a testament not only to their talent but to their commitment and resilience as well.”

Read the Duke Fuqua MBA Class of 2023 employment report here.


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