The banks, consultants & tech companies that are hiring top MBA students now

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Often seen as the barometer for MBA trends, Harvard Business School’s employer report is closely followed ever year. The one issue with the annual report is that Harvard, like most business schools, only breaks out the destinations of its graduates by industry and focus. However, there are a few top MBA programs that detail not only where their graduates are headed, but also how many. When looked at together, the reports provide a lot more clarity over the specific firms that are hiring the largest number of MBAs.

We compiled the data from the four top business schools that go into such detail: Columbia Business School, University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and London Business School. We looked at both their 2015 and 2018 reports to get a better idea of which companies are trending in one direction or the other.

As you can see in the chart below, top management consulting firms dominate the list in terms of raw totals, just as they did in 2015. However, the three top consulting firms – McKinsey, Bain and Boston Consulting Group – hire a similar number of students from the four MBA programs than they did three years earlier. What truly stands out is how poorly large investment banks have recently fared in attracting top MBAs. Not one investment bank with enough statistically significant data hired more MBAs in 2018 than they did in 2015, at least from the four schools in question. This was true at every single university and every single bank, with just one exception: Booth and JPM. 

Harvard's report suggests that the proportion of MBA students entering finance and banking in particular has found a new normal in recent years after dropping precipitously following the 2008 crisis. In fact, more Harvard MBAs entered investment banking in 2018 than they did three years earlier. But they aren’t heading to big banks as often as they used to. Boutiques like Moelis, Evercore and William Blair didn’t break the minimum threshold of hires to make any lists in 2015; last year they did.

If you're not going to use your MBA to work in a consulting firm or bank, the other eye-opening takeaway here centers on Google and Amazon, which increased MBA hires at the schools we looked at by 75% and 67%, respectively, over just the last three years. The total number of MBA hires is much larger at Amazon. The e-commerce giant hired nearly as many MBAs from the four top business schools in 2018 as Bain, which is really saying something.  


(Note: J.P. Morgan didn’t break the minimum number of hires at LBS. The same for Morgan Stanley at Kellogg, hence each of their raw totals only include three of four MBA programs.)

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