How CMU Tepper Confronted — And Overcame — A Challenging 2023 MBA Job Market

Carnegie Mellon Tepper reports that median salary grew

All the top business schools in the U.S. and Europe faced a challenging MBA job market in 2023. Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business was no different — but thanks to a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work from its highly ranked career center, Tepper MBAs reported a strong set of outcomes in the B-school’s annual employment report released late last month — showing them to be more resilient, in fact, than graduates of many of the B-school’s peer schools.

Within three months of graduation in 2023, 94% of Tepper MBAs had received an offer of employment, and 92% accepted an offer. That’s down from the school-record 97% with offers and 96% acceptances in 2022, but better than many top schools, including Harvard Business School, and in line with such elites as Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.

Yet even as outcomes took a hit, Tepper’s median MBA starting salary grew substantially, up nearly 9% to $161,000. The school’s median base salary has climbed more than 18% in two years. Average salary also climbed significantly, to $156,500, up 5.7% from 2022.


Tepper’s Stephen Rakas: School’s alumni “stepped up in a big way” in 2023

Stephen Rakas, executive director of Tepper’s Masters Career Center, credited his team’s efforts in connecting students with employers and alumni through on-campus and virtual recruiting events, and in conducting aggressive outreach. Among other drives, Rakas’ team reintroduced the Tepper Masters Career Fair last fall; hosted an inaugural virtual event to connect students with MBA leadership development programs; and launched daily communications with recruiters via a series of on-campus and virtual recruiting events.

The result: new connections with employers, and broad success in linking grads with new jobs. More than 73% of full-time job acceptances for the Class of 2023 came from school-facilitated activities, including 40% converted from internships secured through school assistance.

In a blog post at the B-school’s website, Rakas pointed to another source of success: Tepper alumni, whom he praised for helping students overcome the headwinds of the employment landscape. “Without our Tepper School graduates and recruiting partners, our students would have had a more challenging path to securing a job,” Rakas says. “Our alumni stepped up in a big way and we at the MCC want to express our gratitude.”

Tepper’s 2023 MBA graduates were grateful for the efforts of the school’s MCC, which The Financial Times recently ranked the No. 8 best MBA career center in the world.

“The finance MCC advisors were instrumental in getting me prepared for investment banking interviews,” says Eric Tinnell, an investment banking associate at Morgan Stanley. “Every interaction I had with them was value-adding, from the initial resume overhaul to mock interviews to practical insight about a career on Wall Street. Without their assistance, my path to an investment banking internship and full-time offer would have been exponentially more difficult.”

Adds Rukayat Muse-Ariyoh, an associate at McKinsey & Company: “Upon entering business school, the multitude of post-graduate opportunities can be overwhelming. The MCC adeptly delves into understanding your interests and goals, offering valuable insights to guide you towards a clearer path for your post-MBA career. The personalized advice I received from MCC advisors during my consulting recruiting journey was particularly impactful. They pinpointed gaps in my resume and interviewing skills, providing practical strategies for improvement.”


Industry 2023 % Jobs Accepted Average Base Salary Median Base Salary 2022 % Jobs Accepted Average Base Salary 2021 % Jobs Accepted 2021 Average Base Salary 2020 % Jobs Accepted 2020 Average Base Salary
Biotech/Health/Pharma 4.3% $124,125 $120,000 6.2% $129,250 9.7% $124,500 6.8% $123,292
Consulting 42.2% $172,787 $175,000 39.1% $164,612 33.7% $146,983 33.0% $151,686
Consumer Products 1.6% $123,667 $127,000 3.1% $120,000 1.7% $129,333 1.0% NA
Energy/Petro/Utilities 2.2% $151,000 $135,000 0.8% NA 2.3% $113,667 3.1% $95,300
Financial Services 13.5% $158,080 $170,000 16.4% $145,000 12.6% $128,667 13.1% $137,200
Manufacturing 1.6% $138,367 $140,000 2.3% $121,667 5.7% $126,111 7.3% $113,129
Media/Entertainment 0.5% NA NA 1.6% NA 1.1% NA 1.0% NA
Technology 28.6% $144,824 $142,800 28.1% $140,426 28.0% $132,737 31.4% $130,244
Other 4.3% $136,571 $155,000 1.6% NA 4.0% $125,000 1.6% $133,333


For about a decade, most of CMU Tepper’s MBAs regularly went into the tech industry. A major shift occurred in 2019, and since then the school annually sends a significant plurality of graduates into the consulting industry — more, in fact, every year.

In 2023, of the school’s 202 MBAs seeking employment, consulting was the top industry of choice for 42.2%, up from 39% in 2022, 33.7% in 2021, and 33% in 2020. Tepper’s consulting MBAs made an average base salary of $172,787, highest in the class, up 17.6% since 2021; the sector’s range of salaries was $95K-$197,500.

Jobs in technology followed with 29%, up slightly from the last two years but down from 31.4% in 2020. Tech’s average base salary was $144,824, up just 3.1% from 2022. Financial services was third with 13.5%, down from 16.4% last year; that sector saw a 9% increase in average base salary in one year.

Energy, in which 2.2% of the class found jobs, had the highest upper end of salaries in 2023, at $210K. Overall in total pay, which Poets&Quants calculates by adjusting for the percentage of graduates reporting bonuses, Tepper’s 2023 MBAs reported a median $187,820 and an average $192,175.

“The achievements showcased in this annual report affirm that our graduates are shaping the evolving business landscape, and their skills are in high demand – despite a challenging job market,” says Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, Tepper’s dean. “As a school, we take immense pride in contributing to their journey.”


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