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Top Employers of HBS MBAs

October 19th, 2010 · 7 Comments · 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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7 Comments so far ↓

  • Dan

    Rumor has it that Mckinsey is looking to hire Phds for half of its entering class. Other half will be the usual MBAs

  • rob

    Oh, interesting! That could help explain some of the decline. I’ll have to ask around and see if others can confirm.

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    […] interesting statistics on the top employers of HBS graduates and particularly insightful numbers on management consulting hires over time at HBS. I’ve copied it here from the […]

  • Robert Half Legal

    On some level, the strong recovery in the MBA market is a reflection of pent-up demand for managerial talent. “People were being very conservative about staffing during the recession,” says Sanghvi. “Many are now finding that they are understaffed for what they are trying to accomplish, particularly for managerial talent. So that trend is very promising for MBA students across the country.”

  • McK

    The thing to keep in mind is that volatility in McK’s hiring should never be analyzed by looking at a single school. We set our targets and consistently meet them each year, our targets are not per campus though. Some years a lot of students do really well / prepared really well and we take in a large amount, other years they don’t perform as well. We don’t enter into HBS or Wharton or GSB aiming to hire 50 people, we aim to interview X amount of people and hope that enough of them make it through all the rounds. They don’t always. If that’s the case we don’t start hiring just because we want to get X amount of HBS / GSB students.

    Nationwide, McK Associate recruitment is constant over the years. Per school it can vary. The only downward trend at McK was during the recession, when fewer offers were extended for two years, but that trend has ended.

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