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Career Services Directors at Top Business School Report Strong Jobs Market

MBA graduates from some top schools are finding jobs in less time and at higher starting salaries than they have in years, according to a recent article in Forbes. Despite the undeniably adverse effect of the economic crisis on MBA hiring, especially in the financial services, careers in consulting remain strong, and today’s graduates are also finding growing numbers of opportunities in technology, e-commerce, luxury retail and energy sectors.

Indeed, 75 percent of companies reported as part of the GMAC 2013 Corporate Recruiters Survey that they plan to hire recent MBAs this year (up from 71 percent that hired in 2012). Not only that, those employers expect to hire an average of 14.6 new MBA hires, up from 11.4 a year before.

These rebounding figures have helped some schools achieve record-setting placement levels. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School reports that 97.8 percent of its most recent class of graduates received job offers within three months of graduation, with median base salaries rising to $125,000 from $120,000 the year before. The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin also saw hiring pick up, with salaries up to boot. “We saw a six-year high for MBA students employed three months after graduation, with 96 percent of our students with job offers,” Stacey Rudnick, McCombs director of MBA Career Management, told Forbes. The average starting salary for McCombs graduates this year was $106,000, and 71 percent of grads received a signing bonus as well, worth an average $24,700.

MBA hiring remains very strong in management consulting, corporate finance and marketing/product management, but Wall Street and investment banking offer fewer jobs and are attracting fewer students, according to Fred Staudmyer, director of Career Management at the Johnson School of Cornell University. “Consulting is still a huge draw for MBAs and there’s still lots of work,” he told Forbes. Meanwhile, MBA students are also showing increasing interest in the technology sector and new digital media – and finding increasing numbers of jobs there. “Big tech is hiring more MBAs each year in the internet retail, social media and business solutions spaces, and more of our MBAs are interested in earlier stage companies now,” Staudmyer added.

According to Gary Fraser, who leads career services at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, his students are looking most toward the hi-tech, healthcare and consultancy sectors. “We believe this increased interest is based on a few factors such as growth from new innovation, corporate stability and the California location that many of these firms offer,” Fraser told Forbes. He adds that Marshall this year saw an increase in the number of companies visiting campus, hosting case competitions and participating in student club events.

Read the complete Forbes story, “A Strong and Diversifying MBA Jobs Market.”