Building off of yesterday’s post about the recent surge in MBA’s entering Technology companies I wanted to dig deeper into the numbers from the employment reports at some of the Top MBA Programs. To start, it’s helpful to get a look at the “lay of the land” from a macro-view:
Source: MBA Career Management Center Employer Reports
Remember: Class Size and Percentage are both important
I realize that is an “eyesore chart” but the percentage of tech MBA’s range from the high single digits up to the mid 40%-range. This is a pretty broad range and it’s important to remember percentages are important but so are total overall numbers. For instance, Haas’ 43% is based on a class of 240, while HBS’ 18% is based on a class size of 900.
What’s interesting is that while most MBA programs have stay consistent or gone up over the year span, there are a handful of noticeable outliers. Why did Stanford GSB, a stalwart tech hotbed decrease so much? Part of this comes from the increase in those going into Finance related fields. The other aspect of it are those who are choosing to pursue their own company. This is actually a great place to explain some caveats that might provide important context:
Top 3/Top 5 Schools may have lower numbers due to adjacent industries – One major difference between a Top 3/Top 5 School (mostly Top 3 though) and others is the adjacent industries of Private Equity and Venture Capital. Simply, Top 3 schools have the brand permission and networks for their students to enter these fields, whereas other schools do not nearly have the same resources and capabilities to tout this. These fields are not as popular for students at other schools (job wise, not general interest) so some of the numbers at schools like HBS, Stanford, and Wharton might be lower. This is not meant to be a criticism of schools that don’t send students into these fields (almost all do, there are just more of them at the top ones) but is just an important point to remember.
Location, Location, Location – If you dig deeper into some of these reports you can see where geographically students are headed. The short answer is the West Coast but there are also other critical pockets in the US where tech lives (ex: New York, Boston)
I think the numbers are fairly accurate but you’ll want to dig deeper and look at the guidelines for how this data was collected. Generally, the cutoff is 3 months post-graduation. In some cases, some students haven’t found the “right company” and thus haven’t reported where they are going which may skew the numbers. This is especially true for those who are targeting those “high-growth” tech companies. Again, it doesn’t invalidate the numbers, just need to understand that it may not paint the exhaustive picture.
Source: Career Management Center Employer Reports
Tech surges, but where are the surges greatest?
I’ve laid out that tech is surging, but where is it surging? If you dig deeper into the data, you’ll notice the biggest % jumps (addition, not % of) come from the schools mentioned above. Some of these are not surprising while some might come as a surprise. My takeaways:
Haas is crushing Tech – Haas has traditionally placed well in Tech due to its proximity and its network. However, an 11% YOY jump is pretty impressive especially for a school with an already established pipeline. Why have they made such strong moves?
For one, leadership. Dean Richard Lyons in my opinions is one of the top MBA School Deans in the country. Under his leadership, Haas has continued to bring in record admissions numbers in terms of strength of applicant pool as well as diversity. Haas’ Class of 2016 has a record 43% female student population. Besides his leadership, Lyons is known himself for being a proponent of technology and innovation. He’s supported broader UC-Berkeley initiatives to spur innovation within the school, built up relationships with employers, and even embodied the use of technology himself with his occasional publishing of articles and frequent social media interaction.
When looking at MBA programs, I don’t think many students consider the Dean as an integral selling point to choose one program over the other. In a separate post, I’ll explain why you might want to. Secondly, Haas has a strong portfolio of MBA Programs. In addition to its 2-year Full-Time MBA Program (still the flagship program) Haas has a number of Part-Time and Executive MBA programs that it offers to more experienced business executives. Guess where these students come from? Local Technology companies. Many of these students are at the Director or above level and thus have some level of control or influence over hiring and recruiting, not to mention, from a pure numbers perspective it helps increase the number of Alums from Haas at a particular company.
Fuqua makes huge strides – The biggest jump in Tech hiring goes to Fuqua. How does a school 3000 miles away from Silicon Valley put up such strong numbers? First, the Triangle Area has always had a solid and steady tech scene. With local employers such as IBM, Cisco, Red Hat and SAS along with a budding and emerging startup scene the RDU area is no stronger to technology and innovation. But the reality is that Fuqua is not just placing students in the triangle but in West Coast and East Coast companies as well.
Last year, Fuqua sent interns and full-time hires to Apple, Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, Adobe, and Microsoft – that’s a pretty impressive lineup of tech companies. So how are they doing this? First, its corporate relations. Fuqua and SAP have recently partnered on some initiatives, Google and Duke have a partnership on some Executive Education, and Fuqua’s Technology Club recently put on a Conference in which it secured some Executives from some high-profile tech companies such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft.
Second, it’s the Alumni Network. From my experience, Fuquans are some of the most loyal and active Alums, and I think you can attribute some of their success in this field to the Alums who are helping students land career opportunities. Typically, folks at the Manager/Senior Manager and Director Level have the ability and authority to hire and recruit MBA students. These tend to be the people who are “closest” to the action outside of HR/Recruiting and can make the call on who gets the offer. Having said that, having an Alum who is a high-profile Executive, either the CEO or in the C-Suite doesn’t hurt either.
For Fuqua, look no further than folks like Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, or Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Gates Foundation, or even Kira Wampler, who might not be a household name but who is the CMO at Lyft. Having strong executives like these individuals helps provide opportunities that do not always exist for other MBA programs.
Now, some will say that just because your CEO is from company X does not guarantee that they will take a plethora of students from her school. While that is true, check out the Fuqua employment reports for the year before Tim Cook became CEO of Apple and the year after Tim Cook became CEO at Apple and note the differences. Do the same for Microsoft as well. Executive Sponsorship does matter (Note: I do not want to take away from the talented and qualified people I know who graduated from or who attend Fuqua. Sorry guys, still love ya!)
Tech continues to rise steadily at Top Schools – Sloan, Kellogg and HBS continued to experience solid increases in their Tech industry hires. While Tech has always been popular at Sloan this past year it went from a 1/5 of its class in tech to 1/4th. Among its popular companies were the usual suspects of Apple, Google and Amazon. Harvard Business School, despite its alleged struggles adapting its technology curriculum experienced a substantial surge in tech industry hires both within the Boston area as well as on the west coast. And despite its location in a traditionally not though of tech scene (although there are plenty of startups, incubators and accelerators being brought in) Kellogg witnessed gains as well, with students securing employment at some of the top firms.
The growing interest in Technology as a career for MBA students is logical and sensible to understand, at least to me. However, the reasons behind why the growth is so strong needs a closer examination. By taking a look at some of the data and trends and providing some insights we can begin to make sense of the jumps we’re seeing at select MBA schools. Having said that, there are many other reasons why this surge is happening and in some subsequent posts I’ll go into detail about what schools are doing that is contributing to this growth.