MBA Employment Survey: Nearly Half of MBA Grads Now Report Starting Annual Salary Offers of $125K or More

MBA Blog / 6th August 2018

A large and growing number of MBA graduates – 46% – are fielding employment offers with starting salaries of at least $125,000 per year, according to the 10th annual Training The Street (TTS) MBA Employment Survey. At the same time, the number of graduates who received three or more job offers surged to 28% from 22% a year ago. A total of 54% of those surveyed reported being “very satisfied” with their job offers, up from 48% a year ago.

Amid the optimism, there are also hints of unease. There was a big drop off in the number of MBAs saying they were satisfied with their job offer(s) – 32% versus 45% last year – and a doubling (14% against 7%) in the number of MBAs who said they were “dissatisfied” with their job offer(s). The number of graduates who did not receive any employment offers remained about the same as last year, at 17%.

“The war for talent is as strong as ever, and top candidates are in high demand, leading to higher starting salaries and multiple job offers,” noted Scott Rostan, founder and CEO of Training The Street. “Demand for MBAs remains strong, but firms are being more discerning in an effort to recruit those who can step in and contribute right away.”

Overall, optimism about employment prospects after school remained steady (55% this year said they are “very optimistic” compared with 54% last year). But a lower number of respondents (32%) consider themselves “somewhat” optimistic versus 39% last year. A total of 12% described themselves as “neutral” or “somewhat pessimistic” versus 8% that used the same terms last year.

Continuing a trend seen in last year’s survey, a much larger percentage of MBA graduates expressed a preference for working in consulting as compared to a traditional large Wall Street firm. Almost one in three grads (31%) said working in consulting was their number one choice. That compares with 20% a year earlier. The same number of those surveyed last year – 19% – said they hoped to work for a bulge bracket firm.

The surge in MBAs hoping to work in consulting may reflect greater marketing efforts by consulting firms. More than half of respondents – 51% – said consulting firms actively recruited them, up from 43% last year. Those who said they were recruited by bulge bracket firms slipped to 38% from 43% a year earlier.

“We’ve seen a concerted effort on behalf of the big consulting firms to attract the strongest, young talent coming out of the nation’s business schools,” said Mr. Rostan. “The results indicate that their efforts have paid off, as more MBAs see consulting firms as their top choice.”

On-campus interviews continue to be the way most MBAs find employment, as 64% said they found their job that way, up 10 percent from last year (54%). Just 15% of graduates this year said they found a job through independent search, a marked decrease from 25% last year.

Geographically, a growing number of MBAs expressed an interest in working in New York (44%), up from 39% last year. Chicago was the second most popular choice, jumping up to 18% from just 11% a year ago. Coming in third place was San Francisco, which was the favorite choice of just 9%, a significant decrease from 21% last year.

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