Top 10 MBA Programs for Landing a Job in the Post-Pandemic World

Coronavirus may have upended the job market —but MBA graduates have overcome the economic chaos and secured substantial salaries and plumb jobs at blue-chip corporations over the past year. 

At many business schools, there’s been a trend of higher pay but fewer job offers and acceptances. This reflects the fact that many companies were forced to freeze hiring and even rescind offers already made last year. 

The high pay reflects the career destination of choice as much as it does the demand for MBAs, and the finance sector — including hedge funds and asset management firms — tend to pay the highest wages, followed closely in most cases by management consulting firms such as McKinsey & Company and the Boston Consulting Group. 

Career choices narrowed because of the pandemic, with most graduates entering the historically popular financial services and consulting industries as they prioritize offers over exploration. 

A large number of students are also going into the technology industry, which reflects where the job opportunities are, as the sector has been one of the rare winners of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Many students are also choosing to work in the same countries they’ve studied in, reflecting the travel restrictions that have limited global mobility and overseas career opportunities. However, a large number of students went to work in the Asia Pacific region, reflecting how economies there have tended to cope much better with coronavirus than their western counterparts.

Encouragingly, a high proportion of international students received job offers, suggesting that employers especially are still willing to hire foreign talent despite the disruptions to visa processing. 

Below, you can see the top 10 MBA programs for landing a job in the post-pandemic world.

Stanford, California 96 Followers 171 Discussions

Despite the coronavirus pandemic Stanford’s MBA Class of 2020 notched up the highest starting compensation of MBAs at any school anywhere in the world: $159,544 was the average base salary with a $32,551 signing bonus, along with an expected performance bonus of $78,299. This is the sixth consecutive year that Stanford has set a new record for salaries. That said, Stanford recorded a slide in the number of job offers received by its class, from 94 percent down to 91 percent, with the offers led by the finance industry. But the overall picture is still impressive given the economic dislocation. 

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Nashville, Tennessee 16 Followers 35 Discussions

At the Owen school, an impressive 96 percent of the graduating Class of 2020 had job offers, as students overcame the economic fallout from coronavirus. The median salary also rose to $115,000 from $117,500, while the signing bonus held steady at $25,000. Finance became the top employment destination, with 27 percent of the class going into banking especially. Tech was the second most popular sector, scooping up 21 percent of the cohort. 

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Evanston, Illinois 71 Followers 204 Discussions
Northwestern - Kellogg

At the Kellogg School of Management an impressive 95 percent of MBA graduates landed jobs during the depth of the pandemic and the school also set a new record for median base salary, which reached $144,000, with a signing bonus of $30,000. Encouragingly, 96 percent of overseas students also received job offers, suggesting that American employers are still willing to hire foreign talent despite the disruptions to global travel and visa processing. Consulting is king at Kellogg, comprising 39 percent of accepted job offers. 

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Ithaca, New York 89 Followers 136 Discussions
Cornell - Johnson

Cornell reported strong jobs numbers last year with 93 percent of graduates receiving offers after three months, down only one percent from the year before. What is more, year-over-year average base salaries rose six percent to $138,767. Bonuses were up as well by one percent to $35,976. The strong figures reflected robust summer internship placements. The top destination for MBAs was consulting, with 34 percent of graduates entering this market, up from 29 percent in 2019. Finance was the second most popular destination at 30 percent, down from 37 percent, followed by tech. 

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Chicago, Illinois 42 Followers 149 Discussions
Chicago - Booth

At Chicago Booth, average base salaries rose by $5,000 to $150,000 from 2019. The top three industries stayed the same, with job offers led by consulting, followed by finance and then technology companies. But the gap between consulting and finance widened. The number of offers dropped, from about 96 percent to 93 percent. A larger number of students chose to stay and work in America, reflecting the travel restrictions that have limited global mobility. 

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Boston, Massachusetts 84 Followers 204 Discussions

Harvard’s MBA Class of 2020 set another record in terms of annual median pay, despite the economic fallout from Covid-19. Total compensation including signing bonuses and other fixed compensation for the first year hit $173,500. But the proportion of students with job offers fell four percentage points to 90 percent. Career choices also narrowed because of the pandemic, with most of Harvard’s graduates entering the historically popular financial services and consulting industries. But within finance, the range of career paths widened, with a larger proportion of students entering venture capital and private equity firms. 

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London, United Kingdom 168 Followers 475 Discussions
London Business School (LBS)

At London Business School, the number of job offers for the Class of 2020 also slipped down from 92 percent to 90 percent, but the school still put in a strong performance. Consulting was the most popular industry for LBS graduates with 40 percent of the class entering the sector, with McKinsey and BCG the top employers overall. However, technology has made inroads with 28 percent of the graduates going into the sector, a record sum, with the gains led by Amazon. Meanwhile, finance has fallen in popularity, with just 21 percent of graduates entering the industry. 

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New York City, New York 158 Followers 259 Discussions
Columbia CBS

Median pay at Columbia held fairly steady in 2020, falling just two percent to $174,313 year-on-year. Approximately 90 percent of the graduating class received job offers, down from about 94 percent last year. The top recruiting sector was consulting followed closely by finance, with most of the students going to Wall Street institutions on Columbia’s doorstep. Technology took a far larger share of the graduating class, reaching a record of nearly 20 percent from around 14 percent the year before. 

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Minneapolis, Minnesota 21 Followers 31 Discussions
Minnesota - Carlson

At Carlson, a leading Midwestern public institution in the US, 90 percent of graduates had jobs three months out, only a slight decline on last year. Salaries and bonuses rose as well, reaching $116,995 and $27,967, respectively. Perhaps more significantly, a full 100 percent of the Class of 2021 received internship offers, suggesting that employers have gotten to grips with remote onboarding and are now hiring in full force again. 

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Fontainebleau, France 71 Followers 309 Discussions
INSEAD - Europe Campus

At INSEAD, with campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, 89 percent of the Class of 2020 received at least one job after three months. The overall compensation across sectors and regions was $104,200, with a $25,000 sign-on bonus. Europe was the region where the largest proportion of graduates — 38 percent — got job offers from. But a quarter of the cohort went to work in the Asia Pacific region, reflecting how economies there coped much better than western nations with coronavirus. 

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