Six months ago, one second-year MBA student at the Tuck School of Business boasted that “the job market is phenomenally frothy.”
He was as right as could be.
Today (Oct. 22), Dartmouth College’s Tuck School published its Class of 2014 career stats and they are among the best ever reported by the prestige school. Salaries were slightly up and so were offers and acceptances three months after graduation. And MBA jobs in both consulting and technology experienced significant booms. The Tuck report, one of the first of the prestige business schools to report career numbers, is a harbinger of more good news to come from other top MBA programs.
Tuck reported that 91% of the class that graduated on June 8 had offers–exactly the same as last year–but that number zoomed to 98% three months later, up by three percentage points from the 95% rate in 2013. “That is as high as I have seen it,” said Jonathan Masland, director of Tuck’s counseling and recruiting in career development. “But the economy is continuing to recover, the students worked hard and the recruiters and alumni really wanted our students. It was a very strong year.”
AVERAGE STARTING SALARIES UP 2.5% TO $117,860 THIS YEAR
Tuck reported that 84% of the class had already accepted their offers by graduation, up from 81% a year earlier, while 94% took their job offers three months later, up from 91% in 2013. The job acceptance rate shot higher largely because many students received early offers as a result of their summer internships, especially those from consulting.
Average starting salaries hit $117,860 this year, up 2.5% from $115,031 a year earlier. Average signing bonuses–reported by 87% of the class–were $28,712, while other guaranteed compensation averaged $34,431. For a graduating student who collected all three forms of compensation, the average would have totaled a whopping $181,003. Tuck’s median base salary this year was $116,000, just $4,000 less than last year’s median at Harvard Business School which has yet to report its numbers.
Tuck’s class showed major shifts in industry preferences. Consulting firms took 35% of the class, up eight full percentage points from 27% last year, to become the number one industry choice for Tuckies. That last time that many grads went into consulting was before the Great Recession. One in five of the class, moreover, took jobs at one of the three elite consulting firms: McKinsey, Bain and Boston Consulting Group.
‘STUDENTS WANTED THOSE CONSULTING JOBS AND THE CONSULTING FIRMS WANTED OUR STUDENTS’
“There are two things that stand out in the numbers,” added Masland. “The strength in consulting was one. MBB took 20% of the class, and overall we ended up at 35%, matching what I think is the all-time high at Tuck. Students wanted those jobs and they wanted our students, not just in cities around the U.S. but in offices outside the U.S. Those are jobs that you get out of the summer or fall so they were especially helpful to us so we could focus on a bigger part of the class sourcing jobs in the spring.
“The other standout trend is technology,” said Masland. “About 20% of the class is going to the west coast this year, and a lot of that is technology. We have 60% more technology companies hiring this year than last so it’s not just the big guys grabbing more students like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. It’s also startups in technology.”
MBAs heading into the technology sector also showed a sizable increase, up five full percentage points this year to 18% of the class, up from 13% in 2013.
FINANCE TOOK THE BIGGEST HIT, BUT I-BANK HAVE INCREASED SALARY OFFERS BY $25K
The financial services industry took the biggest hit in 2014, getting 25% of Tuck’s class, down from 30% last year but still above the 22% number in 2012. MBAs taking jobs in investment banking fell to 11%, from 14% last year, and investment management to 5%, from 7% in 2013. The only uptick in finance occurred in venture capital and private equity where 4% of the class accepted jobs, twice as many as last year.
“The pull of tech and management consulting is grabbing some students who would have historically gone into investment banking,” explained Masland. “Whether that is a one-year blip or a multi-year trend, we’ll see. But for the first time since before the Great Recession, the investment banks are back on campus recruiting for second year students. And they have also increased their base salary offers to $125,000 from $100,000. They used to promise MBA hires $25,000 after the first bonus in January. They are bringing it to the time of acceptance. The investment banks really want to attract these students and hire them.”
The gains in consulting and technology also occurred as fewer MBAs headed into consumer products and manufacturing. Consumer product companies hired 7% of this year’s class, down from 10% a year earlier, while manufacturing firms brought aboard 3% of Tuck’s graduates, half the number as last year’s 6%.
Healthcare, pharma and biotech took 6% of the graduates, down slightly from 5% a year earlier, while energy companies hired 2%, down from 3% last year.
(See following page for year-over-year comparison chart)