Inside HBS

Harvard Business School, MBA Blog

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Top Employers of HBS MBAs

October 19th, 2010 · Uncategorized

I’m currently working for a pretty exciting biotech startup in the Kendall area – it has been an amazing (and volatile) ride.  As I was reflecting on a likely return to my summer employer (yes, a major consulting firm), I spent some time checking out the alumni database.  It’s a wealth of information… unlike my undergrad database, HBS’s seems to be well done with strong participation (95%+) and relatively up-to-date data.  I guess that’s not a surprise given the population at HBS – probably fairly motivated to keep themselves “in the network”.

So, without further ado, here are the “Top 10” employers of HBS alums (MBAs only, n = 57k).

Top 10 HBS MBA Employers

You know, I’ve always had a general idea that HBS feeds graduates into consulting + banking, but I had no idea how concentrated the employment was!  As someone in one of the Top 3 categories, I certainly don’t feel like a unique and special flower.  Mckinsey, Bain, BCG, Goldman, and Morgan Stanley dominate the rankings.  Also — a touch surprised how heavily tech dominates the second half of the ranking.  Sexy industry, maybe?

It’s also interesting to look at the “vintage” of the alums at each of the three consulting firms:

McKinsey vs. BCG vs. Bain at HBS

A few points to note from this chart:

  1. McKinsey’s hiring this year (2010) is far below the normal rate.  Given typical attrition rates, they’re 3-4x below where they should be to continue the high mark set in 2006.  Does this mean they overextended themselves in the late ‘00s?  Implication: probably more top-heavy than the other two firms.
  2. McKinsey’s trend is also unusually volatile.  You’d expect a consistent downward march (as new hires learn the “McKinsey Way” then depart for better opportunities + work/life balance elsewhere).
  3. A possible explanation for some of the volatility is that there are major retention issues at McKinsey after hires hit the key promotion dates (called out by dotted lines).  The first dip corresponds to the time of an Associate -> Engagement Manager promotion.  The second is around EM -> Principal.  The third is around Principal -> Partner.
  4. While Bain tends to generally follow McKinsey’s trend, BCG runs a bit counter-cyclical.  Probably due to BCG competing more directly with McKinsey?

One more chart.  I thought this one was interesting…  Seems to show that working at Goldman Sachs offers a more stable career path (less risky?) than McKinsey!  Who would’ve guessed?

Goldman Sachs vs. McKinsey

(A disclaimer: I don’t think sharing aggregate statistics violate any TOS of the HBS alumni database, but if it does, let me know and I’d be happy to take them down.)

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Traffic Analysis for InsideHBS.com

September 29th, 2010 · Uncategorized

Hi!  It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here.  While I was actually pretty solid on posting during the RC year, the EC year is a big empty gap.  It’s really quite a shame… the 2nd year brought with it a ton of interesting events that would’ve made for some good blog posts:

  1. An elective course schedule with fascinating topics + celebrity professors.
  2. Travel to South America, Africa, and Central America.
  3. A tragicomedy of epic proportions around job options and last-minute decisions.
  4. A foray into winter climbing and hiking in the New England ice and snow.
  5. Graduation that included a surprising (and most welcome) Baker Scholar award.

I’ve been working all summer – in Cambridge at a start-up – but I’m finally settling in and I’ll try to hit a few updates on these topics in my spare time.  Maybe even touch on a bit of the world post-HBS (start-ups, consulting, etc).

Debating whether or not I should start a new blog for this new phase of life.  Surprisingly, this blog continues to grow in popularity!  I have no idea why – It’s almost depressing that traffic has been increasing even though I haven’t posted in a year (correlation or causation?).  I’m about to crest 27,000 hits over the two short years this blog has been in existence.  Pretty surprising given the low level of activity.  I think this just indicates the market is huge for a good HBS blog:

Weekly Hits for InsideHBS Blog

It’s also kind of interesting to check out the type of Google keywords that bring people to this little blog.  Google Analytics says that viewers have arrived via some 6,000 different search phrases (by the way – I *love* Analytics… it’s just such a fascinating data playground). Here are the top 20 for your info-tainment:

Top Google Search Terms

Looks like the whole McKinsey vs. BCG vs. Bain is a topic in high demand.  I might have to revisit some of the items on this list (it’s what the customer wants, after all…) and provide something more than the cursory thoughts I threw down 2 years ago.

Looking forward to talking to you all further!

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World’s End (…in Boston?)

November 16th, 2009 · Uncategorized

Just a quick update.  After a rather rainy weekend it finally cleared up for a few minutes Sunday afternoon.  We took off for a quick trip to World’s End Reservation about 45mins from HBS.  It’s one of the many beautiful reservations in New England owned and managed by “The Trustees“, an interesting private organization that’s created a pseudo-park system in the area.  It was a nice little walk — I’m sure it would be an absolutely marvelous place for a picnic during the summer.

See the windmill in the distance?

See the windmill in the distance?

Boston is visible on clearer days

Boston is visible on clearer days

Spiny Chesnuts! (I think)

Spiny Chesnuts! (I think)

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Rainy Weekend Adventures

November 15th, 2009 · Uncategorized

After over a year of living in Boston, I have mixed feelings about the place.  There are very few cities in the US with the sort of density that allows for a vibrant non-car culture: NYC, Boston, SF… maybe DC and Chicago… but that’s about it!  Before coming to Boston, I remember being excited about the possibility of walking around a sophisticated urban environment.  One where there were always a thousand activities going on around every corner…

I’ve become much more jaded over the last year.  The reality of navigating Boston usually translates into lots of bitter-cold walking with even more expensive taxi rides, or sitting in gridlock before driving around in circles for 30 minutes searching for parking (followed by more bitter-cold walking).  In the heart of winter, a quick drive down uncongested highway towards guaranteed parking at Panera always seems to edge out that Bohemian coffee shop – no matter how urban or eclectic it might be.  If you have a ton of money, it’s possible you could get a loft right in the middle of one of the more comprehensive squares in Boston – but for the majority of us, you’re going to have to walk or drive to get anywhere interesting.

That said, this weekend we decided to break out of the mold and check out the event calendars at Harvard (College) and MIT.  The MIT museum (for $4/pp) had a really amazing exhibit featuring “artistic machines”.  Absolutely loved it – they were all complex, functional machines with constantly moving parts.   They also had a hologram display (pretty interesting) and a “history of robotics” gallery.  The robotics gallery had the potential to be very interesting, but instead of moving, interactive parts, it simply consists of a bunch of static history stuffed into glass cases with boring descriptive placards.  It could use a bit of work…

Arthur Ganson at MIT

Arthur Ganson at MIT

Robotics Exhibit at MIT

Robotics Exhibit at MIT

There was also a fascinating “history of MIT” room.  We didn’t stop to browse through all of it, but it did mention that MIT and Harvard thought about merging back in the early 1900s.  It ended up failing (thanks to faculty opposition and a court decision re: public land grants), but it’s still interesting to think about…

MIT merges with Harvard!?

MIT merges with Harvard!?

After a rousing afternoon at MIT, we headed over to Harvard College’s Agassiz Theatre for a production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Sorcerer by the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert & Sullivan Players.  (The Sorcerer was G&S’ first “true” operetta, written immediately prior to their most famous work, the HMS Pinafore).  It was a fantastic venue – great small theatre, and the cast obviously put a lot of work into it.  G&S is tough to perform – lots of fast singing, broad ranges, and complex lyrics.  I enjoyed the performance a lot (given a general love of G&S and musicals), but I think my date was a bit put-off by the difficult-to-understand lyrics.  Enunciation is key here, and I’m not sure there were any theatre majors in the mix (aside from the excellent performance from the actor playing the lead role of the title character)…

The Sorcerer (G&S) #1

The Sorcerer (G&S) #1

The Sorcerer (G&S) #2

The Sorcerer (G&S) #2

Still, it was really quite funny — fantastic parody.  It combines an over-the-top love story with a paper-thin plot, exaggerated archetypes, and a finale where the entire cast sings about pastries.  I enjoyed it, and I’ll definitely be back for their performance of the Pirates of Penzance in the Spring!

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Accepted a Job Offer

November 14th, 2009 · Uncategorized

Been a while since I’ve posted…  It’s a bit shocking to think that we’re already 12 weeks through a 16 week semester (75%!).  While we’ve definitely had a busy semester so far, it seems like the intensity comes in waves.  If you were to plot my “mindshare” on a weekly basis so far, I think it would look something like this:

StressChart

The takeaway here: I hope to have some more time to post over the next couple of weeks until exams and the holiday travels drag me away.

The most important bit of news to share is that I finally accepted a full-time job offer this past week!  I’m headed back to the consulting firm I worked for during my summer internship.  Given the amount of time and stress I devoted to the recruiting process this year, it’s ironic that I’m accepting an offer that was on the table back in early August.  In retrospect, it shouldn’t have been a tough decision.  I had a fantastic experience over the summer, built a lot of strong relationships, and (I think) established a solid reputation within the office.  I really hope I haven’t sacrificed all of that goodwill by exploring other options over the last few months.

It’s tricky to know how best to handle this.  HBS’ policies are both a blessing and a curse.  They require firms to keep their offers open until this weekend:

“Second year class of 2010 students may not be required to accept offers before 1/15/10, or 3 weeks after the offer is made, whichever date is later. Full-time offers to previous employees and/or summer interns must be held open until at least 11/16/09. It is permissible to offer incentives to students who accept a full-time position in advance of these dates. The base offer (including base salary, base signing bonus, performance bonuses and job function) must remain open until the decision date.”

I think it may have been even later (Dec or Jan) in years past, but the power balance has shifted solidly to the recruiter’s camp in this dire economic climate.  The policy is great in that it gives us the chance to explore other options… BUT, only within the bounds of firms that recruit on-campus during recruiting week.  The 50-60% of jobs that arrive after the 11/16 deadline are outside this process… and tend to include many of the more interesting possibilities (VC/PE, start-ups, etc…)

I hope I’ve made the right choice here.  When I stop to think about it, it’s kind of amazing that I’ve signed a contract that doesn’t even have a start date until 1 year from today…!  Part of me thinks that’s a bit insane.  I can barely make firm travel commitments a few months in advance.  For the firms that require you to do this (consulting + i-banks), it’s really quite a good deal.  You’re able to remove candidates from the job market during what’s likely the most attractive period of their lives — all without paying a dime.  Now, that’s a *good* contract!

Maybe I’m just feeling a bit fatalistic now that I’ve (basically) locked-in the end result of two years at HBS… and while it’s a great option, it doesn’t involve a risky turnaround, stock options, the c-suite, or private jets.   (So much for everything I’ve learned here…!)

Or maybe it’s just typical melancholy from a rainy, rainy Saturday morning:

Rainy November #1

Rainy November #1

Rainy November #2

Rainy November #2

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