The Best B-Schools For Getting A Job

Last Updated May 24, 2011 11:59 AM EDT



Reprinted from PoetsandQuants.com
You'd never guess which U.S. business school was most successful at placing its graduates into jobs by the time they wore their caps and gowns to commencement last year. If what pops into your mind is Harvard, Stanford, Chicago or Columbia, forget it.

How about the University of Arkansas' Walton School of Business? Last year, 82.6% of Walton's graduating MBAs landed jobs, the highest placement rate of any business school in the U.S. Equally surprising is who came in second? Pace University's Lubin School of Business in New York.

Of course, the last couple of years have been difficult ones for the career service staffs at business schools who help to match graduating students with job offers. The severe recession that hit two years ago wrecked havoc with MBA job placement. Even though the market improved for the Class of 2010, it was still no walk in the park. So how did Walton in Fayetteville, Arkansas, of all places, manage to get jobs for more than eight of ten of its MBAs by graduation?

How Walton Beat Harvard
Truth is, as a Walton spokesperson points out, the school only graduates 30 to 35 MBAs a year. So placing them into jobs may be a lot easier than it is finding jobs for the 910 graduates at Harvard or the 650 or so at Northwestern's Kellogg School. And you also can't ignore the much higher pay. At Arkansas, starting pay totaled $64,993, compared to Harvard's $131,759. As it turns out, three months after commencement, grads at the elite schools more than catch up. At Stanford, for example, 92.4% landed jobs, compared to Arkansas' 87%.

So if you put Arkansas and Pace aside as anomalies, the list of schools that did the best job of getting jobs for their graduates becomes much more familiar. Of the highly ranked, prestige schools, Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business comes in first with an 80% placement rate by graduation. Harvard Business School is not far behind with 78.6%.

Among the other top elites are:

  • Chicago's Booth and Stanford (both at 75.8%),
  • MIT Sloan (75.6%), and
  • Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management (75.2%).
How to Interpret the Job Numbers
Getting MBAs placed into last year's job market was no cake walk. Only four U.S. schools in the top 25â€"Dartmouth, Washington University, Stanford and Harvardâ€"were even able to get 90% or more of their graduates into jobs three months after graduation.

And even then, some grads accepted jobs they didn't exactly prefer or wantâ€"but because there the "dream job" was unavailable, they had sign up for something to get a paycheck. Obviously, these numbers don't reflect that dynamic.

Neither do they reflect the much smaller percentage of grads at each school who may hold out for something better, regardless of the job market. They have a job offer or two, but refuse to bite. Perhaps, they may be lucky enough to have a mom or dad who can finance a longer job search. So the fact that they're unemployedâ€"even three months after graduationâ€"may be less a reflection on the school than it is on their determination to only accept a job they really want.

Most business schools are now only weeks away from graduating the Class of 2011 and all indications are that the market for MBAs is almost back to normal. So all these numbers should show significant improvement this year, particularly for MBAs with jobs at graduation.

School Employment at Graduation Employment 3 Months Later Average Salary & Bonus
1. Arkansas (Walton) 82.6% 87.0% $64,993
2. Pace University 80.3% 85.9% $69,600
3. Dartmouth (Tuck) 80.0% 93.3% $128,013
4. Harvard Business School 78.6% 90.1% $131,759
5. Howard University 76.3% 89.5% $92,105
6. Chicago (Booth) 75.8% 88.6% $126,779
6. Stanford 75.8% 92.4% $131,949
8. MIT (Sloan) 75.6% 88.9% $125,905
9. Northwestern (Kellogg) 75.2% 86.5% $123,996
10. University of Cincinnati 75.0% 92.9% $62,484
10. Tulane (Freeman) 75.0% 93.3% $78,443
12. Iowa State 74.1% 96.3% $60,530
13. New York (Stern) 73.7% 86.4% $121,867
14. UPenn (Wharton) 72.5% 84.2% $132,579
15. Abilene Christian 71.4% 97.1% $46,600
16. Indiana (Kelley) 70.1% 83.8% $101,206
17. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) 69.7% 88.9% $106,066
18. Virginia (Darden) 69.0% 82.7% $119,278
19. Worcester Polytechnic 68.4% 76.3% $77,100
19. Iowa (Tippie) 68.4% 94.7% $92,802
19. Boston University 68.4% 86.0% $90,157
22. Oklahoma State (Spears) 67.7% 96.8% $53,330
22. Georgia Institute of Tech 67.7% 95.2% $92,282
24. California-Davis 67.4% 93.0% $96,295
25. Columbia Business School 67.2% 89.6% $123,486
26. Cornell (Johnson) 66.8% 85.9% $112,039
27. Boston College (Carroll) 66.7% 88.5% $91,282
28. California-Berkeley (Haas) 64.9% 87.0% $120,164
29. Texas-Austin (McCombs) 64.8% 89.7% $108,886
30. Rutgers 64.6% 87.5% $84,827
Source: Data reported by business schools to U.S. News & World Report for the Class of 2010.

DON'T MISS: THE HIGHEST PAID MBAS OF 2010 or THE SIX-FIGURE HAVENS FOR GLOBAL MBAS
image courtesy of flickr user, stevendepolo

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    John Byrne is the editor-in-chief of PoetsandQuants.com and PoetsandQuantsforExecs.com. A former editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek.com and Fast Company magazine, Byrne also is the author or co-author of eight books on business, including two national bestsellers. Follow him on Twitter.