Business School Admissions: What Do MBAs Do After Business School?

Posted by The Aged Tutor on 4/15/13, 12:48 PM

MBA admissions

Working with a GMAT tutor and enrolling in an MBA program are investments. For most, post-graduation employment is the principal return on these investments. Marquee business schools offer compensation typically 50-75% higher upon graduation than upon entrance. Students exit for such lucrative opportunities into a wide range of companies and roles.

Though the vast bulk take operational and financial responsibilities in established corporations and service companies, a growing population of MBAs have sought less lucrative but more entrepreneurial roles in nonprofits, start-ups, and public sector companies.

In the below paragraphs, I will break down the typical exit profile of these schools in these three categories and what they don't tell you during the application consulting process. If you feel that you could benefit from a one-on-one consultation, I can definetely help.

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First, the top ten business schools typically graduate between 30-50% of their students into operational roles.

Of these, the most popular tend to be the major consulting firms such as BCG, Bain, McKinsey, Booz, Accenture, and Deloitte. Consulting firms tend to provide the highest compensation but most difficult work-life balance to MBAs.

Additionally, almost all Fortune 500 companies have rotational management programs into which business graduates focused on specific industries enroll. Firms as diverse as Chevron, IBM, and Merck offer these students exposure to all their areas of operation, from marketing to operations to strategy. These jobs tend to benefit students who have a firm grasp of what interests them, but typically compensate business school students less than consulting roles.

Outside of these two options, MBAs typically must network and seek out operational roles on an a la carte basis.

Secondly, the top programs usually send 25-40% of students into financial roles. This portion of the pie has decreased significantly since the Great Recession.

Most of these MBAs join investment banks. Bulge bracket firms such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs often tend to be the most pursued post-graduation jobs at business schools, due to high pedigree, compensation, and exit opportunities; increasingly, however, smaller and often private banks have recruited more and more MBAs. Examples of these firms include Houlihan Lokey, Evercore Partners, and Lazard.

Alternatively, many business school students toil to find employment with hedge funds, private equity firms, and real estate investment trusts. These jobs are the hardest to find, but tend to pay the most to graduating MBAs. They usually require students to have prior experience in the field, and almost never hire students who have not proven their worth as interns over the course of business school.

Finally – once more, partially as a result of the recession – between 10-25% of MBAs choose non-traditional employment paths after business school.

Start-ups in particular have become increasingly popular. Business students not only partner with classmates to form their own companies, but flock to roles at innovative tech, design, and medical companies with little hierarchy. Many students also take the lessons of an MBA program for the benefit of social enterprises and charitable nonprofits. 

As a GMAT tutor, I always tell my students: Whatever your interest as a GMAT student and MBA hopeful, carefully consider the alternatives after graduation. In doing so, you will understand the return on investment you hope to achieve, and cater your GMAT score and choice of MBA program accordingly.

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Tags: career advice, MBA admissions