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MBA Jobs: MBA Salaries Up 12% More Than Before Financial Crisis

A new survey shows that MBA salaries have increased 12% more than before the financial crisis. MBA job prospects are also much brighter.

Wed Mar 12 2014

When the financial crisis struck, business school graduates may have seen a slump in MBA job opportunities. But MBAs are now securing more jobs than before the recession, and average salaries have jumped up by more than 10 per cent, according to a new report.

U.S. News surveyed 127 business schools and the results will be welcome news for States-based MBAs.

2013 was a good year for graduates; starting salaries for MBAs who graduated last year from U.S schools shot up to nearly $90,000.

This is a 12 per cent increase from MBAs who graduated before the financial crisis in 2005, who received about $70,000 – or just under $80,000 when adjusted for inflation.

The average employment rate three months after graduation was nearly 82 per cent, up two points on the previous year, according to the report.

The pre-crisis graduating classes were employed in fewer numbers; just 77.8 per cent were in full-time MBA jobs three months after graduation.

At the top-10 schools ranked by U.S News with the most impressive short-term job placement rates, an average of about 96 per cent of students were employed within three months of graduation.

This data supports recent findings by the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA), the influential global MBA career services company.

MBA CSEA found that 43 per cent of business schools saw an increase in on-campus recruiting, the traditional route to securing careers. 56 per cent of their respondents also reported an increase in full-time MBA job postings.

Hiring on Wall Street may have declined during the crisis. But by industry, the strongest MBA employment increase compared to last year was seen in financial services, which is one of the most popular career paths, according to the MBA CSEA report.

Consultancy saw a decline, while slight increases were also experienced in the real estate, energy and technology industries, according to the MBA CSEA survey.

Schools also saw a 65 per cent increase in job postings for MBA internships, led by strong demand in the finance and technology industries.

“2013 turned out to be a solid year for MBA employment, so the large majority of schools reporting stable to increasing trends indicates very positive hiring as this year's recruiting season progresses,” says Mark Peterson, MBA CSEA’s President and Director.

The increased MBA demand in the financial services industry is fostered by an increased interest among students, the report notes.

“That the financial services industry is showing strengthening recruitment this year is welcome, and indicates continued recovery in this important arena for MBA jobs after the downturn experienced in recent years,” added Peterson.

There were few surprises in U.S News’s new 2015 MBA rankings. Harvard Business School took the top spot, with the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania tying for second place.  

However, high MBA rankings do not necessarily translate to the best MBA job prospects. BusinessBecause reported that salaries among the top-ranked U.S programs by the Financial Times are often lower than those considered second-tier.

And U.S News’s survey confirms that view. The University at Albany—SUNY, a U.S-based business school, topped the charts for 2013 employment. 100 per cent of their MBA class were employed three months after graduating.

Yet the school is considered relatively low-ranking and sits in 87th place in U.S News’s 2015 rankings. The University at Albany—SUNY is not even featured in the FT’s top-100 ranking, or The Economist’s.

The Collins College of Business at the University of Tulsa came second for employment, with an impressive 96.3 per cent statistic. But they are considered even lower in U.S News’s rankings, a shocking 95 places below Harvard.

Similarly, the school does not feature in the FT’s or The Economist’s rankings.

But both employment reports will go a long way to easing fears among U.S-based schools, which have traditionally received more top-ranking spots than their European counterparts, that job prospects were bleak this year.

Michigan State University's survey of 6,500 employers across the U.S predicted that the employment of MBAs is set to drop 25 per cent across nearly all industries in 2014. And the finance sector was singled out for the biggest hit.

Phil Gardner, an economist and director of MSU’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute, said that employers lament a lack of preparedness among graduates.

“The best jobs will go to the graduates who know where they want to go, know how to get there and have a network of professional relationships they can tap for assistance with their job search," he said.

Prospective MBAs will still have to consider many other factors when choosing their business schools, however.