When it comes to landing a job with your MBA degree, where a business school ranks tends to matter. The highest percentage of MBAs from the Class of 2014 have job offers at graduation, and three months later if they graduate from programs that are ranked among the Top Ten. And graduates of the Top 25 MBA programs do better than grads of the next 25 programs.
Even so, this year was a great time to graduate with an MBA degree. Some 85.9% of Top Ten graduates had job offers at graduation, while an impressive 95.4% had offers three months later. The numbers for the Top 25 schools were nearly as good: 83.9% had offers at commencement, while 94.2% received offers three months after graduation. And even the next group of schools, ranked 26th through 50th, did very well: 75.4% reported offers at graduation, while 91.5% had job opportunities three months later.
At the three-month mark, four business schools in the US tied for the best job offer rate. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School all reported that 98% of their graduating MBAs this year had job offers three months after commencement.
For Emory, it was the third consecutive year with a 98% job offer rate, better than any other business school in the world. That’s an extraordinary record of success that no school, not Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, or Northwestern, can match. In fact, Stanford’s 94% offer rate is four full percentage points below Emory, while Harvard’s 93% offer rate is five percentage points under Goizueta. And for Tuck, it also was a special year. Tuck had the highest job offer rate at graduation of any business school–91%–while being tied for first three months later.
In some cases, job offer and acceptance rates can be lower than expected at some schools because an increasing number of students are seeking jobs out of the MBA mainstream with startups or non-profit organizations. “One of the things we are seeing is a good number of students who are walking away from earlier offers to pursue things that are more narrow in focus and often require a post-graduation job search,” said Sheryle Dirks, associate dean of recruiting and operations for the career management center at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. “They are still going to show up in the offer data but in many cases they didn’t accept that offer.”
Three months for reporting data is a standard, though arbitrary timeframe. “Inevitably, you’ll talk to someone who got the job of their dreams on Aug. 15 (four days after the Aug. 11 three-month cutoff), but more students are continuing these very focused job searches,” added Dirks. “For some students who want to relocate to the West Coast or overseas, you also see them move first to their desired location. By the time they get their job search up and running, the chances of landing in that three-month window can be less.”
In general, the numbers show that this is the best year for MBA careers since the Great Recession. Yet, 10 schools out of the Top 30 reported slight declines in job offers from a year ago. New York University’s Stern School of Business slipped a couple of percentage points in job offers three months after graduation to 94% this year from 96% last year. Ohio State University fell five percentage points to 92% from 97%, while UC-Berkeley’s Haas School surprisingly dropped four points this year–in an extremely robust Bay Area economy–to 92%, from 96% a year earlier.
Most schools, however, reported stable or improved job offer rates. MIT’s Sloan School of Management saw three-month offers rise to 95% from 92%, while the University of Virginia’s Darden School reported a five-percentage-point gain to 95% from 90%. The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business improved to 93% from 89% last year. And many schools that had lagging job offer rates at graduation tended to recover nicely three months later. Only 57% of the graduating MBAs at UC-Davis’ business school, for example. received job offers at commencement. But three months later, 92% of the class had offers and 82% of the MBAs had accepted their offers of employment.
It’s also interesting to see how “acceptance rates” trail “offer rates.” This year, among the top schools, MBAs at Chicago Booth were the quickest to accept their employment offers. Three months after commencement, 97% of the class had accepted their job offers, just one percentile point below the 98% offer rate. At Columbia Business School, on the other hand, acceptances lagged offers by six full percentage points at the three-month mark, with 91% of the grads accepting their offers, while 97% had offers. That was the biggest gap among the best schools.
While the job offer and acceptance data is a critical metric for business schools, the quality of the jobs is just as important for MBA graduates as well as how much those positions pay. So the offer numbers are just one component of a school’s success in the marketplace. Obviously, the mix of employers and pay can differ significantly depending on the school. At the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School, which had a very impressive 96% job offer rate three months after graduation, the top employers were Crane Co., Nationwide Insurance, SDLC Partners, PNC, and Amazon.
At Washington University’s Olin School, with a 97% job offer rate three months after commencement, the top employers were Citigroup, Emerson, ExxonMobil, Sigma-Aldrich, and IBM. Those employer lists differ substantially from Top Ten schools, where MBA recruiting tends to be dominated by the likes of McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Deloitte, Amazon, Apple, and Google.
To see how the top 50 business schools in the US fared, check out PoetsandQuants.com: Best & Worst 2014 MBA Job Placement At Top Business Schools.