Consulting Picks Up The Slack As Tech Employment Collapses For IESE’s 2023 MBAs

DRAFT: Consulting Picks Up The Slack As Tech Employment Collapses For IESE's 2023 MBAs

IESE has released its MBA employment report showing that despite economic headwinds, 94% of Class of 2023 graduates found employment within three months of graduation

Jobs for MBAs graduating from IESE Business School at the University of Navarra were not as scarce in 2023 as they were for the graduates of many U.S. B-schools.

Despite a shaky global economy, IESE’s 379-student Class of 2o23 continued the employment success of its immediate predecessors, with 94% landing a job within three months of graduating, down just 1 percentage point from last year’s class and matching the rate of the Class of 2021. IESE continues to bury the memory of the 87% employment rate of the coronavirus year of 202o.

“In 2023, a number of key trends affected the global job market and the MBA recruiting scenario,” says Patrik Wallén, director of the 
Career Development Center IESE, in the introduction to the B-school’s new employment report. “The global economy continued to experience a slowdown, although this took place mainly in advanced countries.”

DRAFT: Consulting Picks Up The Slack As Tech Employment Collapses For IESE's 2023 MBAs

Source: IESE 2023 MBA employment report


Perhaps because of struggling economies, it was to the “more advanced countries” that fewer IESE grads chose to accept work: One of the biggest shifts reflected in this year’s employment report is a dramatic downturn in those finding jobs in Europe. Excluding IESE’s home base of Spain — which, with 25% of the class, was the single biggest destination for the Class of 2023 — IESE MBAs largely looked beyond Europe to launch their post-MBA careers, with just 24% finding work there, down from 37% last year and fewer even than the 26% of 2021.

“The hiring landscape,” Wallén acknowledges, “was marked by a dip in the number of graduates moving to a new geographic location for employment, with fewer MBA alumni going to Europe. At the same time,
 there was an upswing in graduates heading to the Middle East, particularly Dubai, for career opportunities.” More chose Asia-Pacific (12%, up from 8%), the Middle East (11%, up from 7%), and North America (6%, up from 4%), while an unchanged percentage chose Latin America (20%).

One thing that didn’t change in 2023: The jobs secured by IESE grads continued to be of the highly paid variety. The average base salary for the Class of 2023 was €99,500, up from €92,500 in 2022 and €87,613 in 2021. That’s about $109,100, a 7.6% year-over-year increase and an increase of 13.6% in two years. Minimum annual base salary in 2023 was €45,000 (up from €30,000 for the Class of 2022, but still down from €46,162 for 2021) and maximum annual base salary was €194,800 (up from €181,000 for the Class of 2022 and €168,652 for 2021). At current exchange rates, that max salary is about $214K.

Compare IESE’s salary benchmarks with the latest data available from a rival European B-school, London Business School, where the Class of 2022 reported a starting salary average of $124,822; or to a U.S. school, Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business, ranked 16th in the U.S. by Poets&Quants, which reports the average base salary for Class of 2023 MBAs was up 5.7% this year to $156,500. CMU Tepper’s max salary in 2023 was about $210K.


DRAFT: Consulting Picks Up The Slack As Tech Employment Collapses For IESE's 2023 MBAs

IESE’s Patrik Wallén: “IESE’s reputation as a leading global business school and our vibrant alumni network both contribute to the school’s high placement rate”

By sector, consulting grads made the most of IESE’s 2023 MBAs, reporting an average salary of €108,100, up from €96,500 in 2022. Consulting was also by far the biggest sector, with 47% of the class getting work there, up dramatically from 33% in 2022 and 34% in 2021. The next-highest paid were techies, who comprised just 9% of the class — half what they were only a year before — and who were paid an average salary of €97,900, up slightly from €94,200.

Two other sectors, finance and diversified industries — automotive, consumer goods, energy, healthcare, manufacturing and retail — saw their base salary averages decline this year. Finance, which increased as a percentage of the class to 24% from 20%, dropped to €92,200 from €97,000; and industry, which cratered to 20% from 28%, dropped to €82,900 from €85,700.

A huge jump in consulting recruiting made up for the collapse in tech and industry jobs, Wallén says. “A drop in tech and general industry recruiting was compensated by a significant increase in consultancy recruiting,” he writes. “The number of IESE graduates hired by consultancy firms rose from one-third of the class to almost one-half, with the top recruiters being strategy consulting firms.”

Among the top recruiters that hired the most IESE MBA graduates in 2023: The MBB consulting firms, Bain & Company, McKinsey & Company, and Boston Consulting Group, as well as Amazon, Citigroup, Eli Lilly. About 280 companies offered full-time jobs or summer internships to students in 2022-2023.

“IESE’s reputation as a leading global business school and our vibrant alumni network both contribute to the school’s high placement rate,” Wallén writes. “This year, the MBA program moved from 10th to 3rd place in The Financial Times’ annual ranking. The survey also highlighted the strength of IESE’s Career Services, which placed 5th in the world, and the effectiveness of the alumni network, which took the 8th spot.” IESE is No. 2 in P&Q’s 2023 international ranking; it ranked No. 1 in 2022.

DRAFT: Consulting Picks Up The Slack As Tech Employment Collapses For IESE's 2023 MBAs

Source: IESE 2023 MBA employment report


IESE is among a handful of schools that emphasizes the extent of its grads’ career pivots with a focus on the so-called triple jump, which is switching industry, job function, and geography post-graduation. In 2023, 30% of the class made the triple jump, up from 22% in 2022 but still down from one-third of the Class of 2021. Overall, 45% of this year’s class changed geography, 63% changed sector, and 64% changed function; in 2022, 69% of graduates changing location, 58% sector, and 52% function.

The biggest triple jumpers in IESE’s latest MBA class were women. Nearly half the women in the class — 49% — achieved the triple jump, including 63% who moved elsewhere for work, 77% who switched functions, and an incredible 82% who switched industries. However, women comprised just 30% of the Class of 2023, among the lowest proportions of any elite European B-school, and the lowest at IESE in at least the last six intakes. (The Fall 2023 intake for the MBA Class of 2025 had 35% women.)

“As a former consultant focused on accounting standards, I knew pursuing my dream role in finance would be difficult,” says Brenda Gabriela Ampuero Alfaro, IESE 2023 MBA who is quoted in the new employment report. But doing so while switching industries and geographies was definitely a daunting task. Luckily, the CDC, the Finance Club and my own peers fully supported me during the job search process with technical lectures, networking opportunities and mock interviews. Their support was key in my transformation into becoming a prime candidate to thrive in the investment banking world. Thanks to them, I’ll be kickstarting my new career path at Bank of America in London.”

Adds classmate Qi Zhang: “After accumulating a seven-year local work experience in the dynamic real estate industry within China, I made the pivotal decision to join the IESE MBA program. This journey allowed me to explore diverse career arenas and acquire a global perspective on business. Throughout the 19-month program, I had the privilege of engaging with classmates from 58 different nationalities. This experience illuminated the interconnectedness of our world and equipped me with the skills to navigate cultural disparities as a prospective global business leader. With the support from the CDC and alumni, I successfully transitioned from my previous role to the healthcare sector.”


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