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).
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:
A few points to note from this chart:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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?
(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.)