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MBA Students' Career Shift To Tech Companies Gathers Pace

A trio of leading business schools' MBA students were hired in huge numbers by technology companies, which are upping their graduate recruiting efforts globally.

Thu Nov 6 2014

A trio of leading US MBA programs have graduated students into the technology sector in huge numbers, according to new 2014 employment data which mirrors a wider trend in business education recruitment.

At Michigan’s Ross School of Business Amazon hired a record 27 MBA graduates, twice as many as last year. The e-commerce giant surpassed Deloitte, the consultancy, Ross’ typical biggest recruiter.

Technology was second most popular industry for Ross MBAs with 15% entering the sector, up on 2013 and a significant increase on the 11% who entered tech firms in 2011.

At the Tuck School of Business 60% more technology companies are hiring this year than last, according to Jonathan Masland, director of career development. The percentage of Tuck MBAs moving into the tech industry jumped 5% to 18% this year, up from 13% in 2013.

The migration to technology is also evident at Wharton School, another US stalwart, where nearly 14% of 2014’s MBA class were hired, up from 11% the previous year and from less than 6% in 2010.

However it is not just Google, Microsoft and Amazon snapping up MBAs but tech start-ups too, says Tuck, which are enjoying a period of strong growth as the business world embraces the digital age.

The shift to technology companies at leading US schools to likely to be mirrored at business schools across Europe when they release their career reports later this year.

E-commerce companies continue to lead the charge to technology. Amazon in particular is on a recruitment drive at business schools across the globe, while smaller internet companies are also targeting MBAs.

At Wharton, technology-leaning students are most interested in internet services – 10% of the class entered companies in that sector.

The autumn careers reporting season sheds light on which companies are hiring the most MBA graduates and which firms are most attractive to students.

The shift in mentality comes at the expense of the financial services sector. Investment banks and other groups are struggling to attract the level of MBA graduates that they could five years ago before the financial crisis.

The reports reveal what graduates can expect to earn at some of the world’s biggest global companies.

Tech businesses pay their employees less than other generally less popular sectors including healthcare, media and energy.

Wharton graduates, for example, earn $115,000 in median salary in the technology industries but private equity firms are paying out $140,000 in median salary.

This might explain why the Stanford Graduate School of Business, another of the top-ranking US institutions, has seen an uptick in students banking on the financial services industry in 2014. Its latest career data released this week show that 29% of the class of 2014 accepted job offers in finance, up from 26% last year. Comparatively the percentage entering tech fell to 24% this year from 32% in 2013.

Stanford graduates who accepted jobs in private equity – 12% of the cohort – cashed in median starting salaries of $170,000, 36% more than the $125,000 median pay package of 2014’s class.

Sign-on bonuses in private equity were also large – $46,250, the highest of any sector.

The majority of high-ranking business schools, however, are becoming magnets for technology companies.