Friday, April 21, 2017

Top Tech MBA Schools

Foster School of Business at the University of Washington sent more than half its 2016 MBAs into tech. 

The high tech industry has become a major recruiter of elite MBA talent in recent years. Amazon hired 35 MBAs last year at INSEAD, 34 at Michigan Ross, 23 at both MIT Sloan and Northwestern Kellogg, 19 at Chicago Booth, and a 15 at Duke Fuqua. In the past five years, Amazon has hired nearly as many MBAs (49) from Columbia Business School as Morgan Stanley (51), consistently one of Columbia’s largest employers over many years (see table below).

Only five years ago, Google hired just four MBAs at Chicago Booth. Last year, Google had tripled its Booth hires to a dozen. In 2012, in fact, only one company–Google with those four hires–out of 26 major employers was a tech firm. Today, five of 26 are in tech, with two of the top six in technology. At Kellogg, LinkedIn, Facebook, Dell and Intuit made the list of major employers last year for the first time. At MIT Sloan, where Amazon, Google and Microsoft are among the top nine employers now, MBAs going into the software and Internet industries accounted for 23.9% of the class last year, up from a mere 4.7% in 2012.

It’s also a worldwide phenomenon. At Spain’s IE Business School, the tech industry for the first time become the largest employer of MBAs in 2016, overtaking consulting and finance. “We saw a dramatic upsurge in placements in the technology industry–25% compared to 16% last year–as innovations in the sector consistently generate new roles and functions,” according to IE’s 2016 employment report. In fact, many are using the MBA to transition out of other industries and going into high tech. At IE, for example, only 10% of incoming MBAs hail from technology, though 25% of outgoing MBAs land jobs in the field.

The University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business sent 38.8% of its Class of 2016 the short trip down the road into tech, a percentage point increase from 2015, and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business — smack dab in the heart of Silicon Valley — upped its tech output by 5 points, to 33% of its 2016 MBA class.

Yet neither of those schools — nor even another elite California school, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management (28.3%) — can compete with the University of Washington. Based in Seattle, the Foster School of Business is the only elite B-school to send more than half (52%) of its MBAs into the tech sector, and that’s after a 9-point jump from 2015. Foster shares a home with one of the biggest employers of MBAs in the world, Amazon. Though numbers for 2016 Foster MBAs aren’t yet available, it’s safe to say Amazon didn’t forget about the tech factory in its backyard.

Five schools pay a median base salary of $120,000; a few (three) pay $125,000; and one leads the pack with a median base salary of $130,000. The leader: Stanford. Harvard Business School and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, both of which boast a median base pay of $125,000 and a median bonus of $30,000. Columbia is a close third with a salary mark of $120,000 and a bonus of $33,840.

The other school that can boast of a $125,000 median base salary for tech workers: Haas, which only reports a mean (not median) bonus of $25,555.

The five European schools all have double-digit employment in the tech sector for their 2016 MBAs. Leading the way is London Business School’s 21%, up a tick from 20% last year, followed by INSEAD (19%, down 2 points), HEC Paris (17%, down 2 points), IESE (16%), and IE (10%). An MBA from INSEAD yields the highest base salary, US$99,500, with a median sign-on of US$21,100. Next is LBS, which reported a mean base salary of $93,408; and IESE, at median US$74,500 (and a median bonus of US$22,202).

LBS, meanwhile, may be interested in going the extra mile to attract new students. Anticipating a possible “student brain drain” in the wake of Brexit, the UK’s referendum to leave the European Union, experts expect full-time MBA tuition at England’s top B-school to fall somewhat from the current $93,000. They also look at the school’s opening of the new Sammy Ofer Centre, which increases LBS’ classroom space by 70%, and sense a move in the offing to appeal to more U.S. students in the growing fields of tech and entrepreneurship/innovation.

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