A Debrief of March Madness: Post-MBA Employer Edition
In March 2021, we selected 32 notable companies to go head-to-head in our first-ever Post-MBA Employer Edition of March Madness. These firms were selected and seeded into the bracket based on their popularity with Clear Admit’s registered users – so we had our own predictions about how things would unfold.
Graham Richmond, co-founder of Clear Admit, comments on the intriguing process of watching the tournament unfold: “This was a lot of fun for those of us who are keen followers of MBA recruiting trends. It was especially fascinating to watch the three most popular domains of MBA recruiting – consulting, banking, and tech – face off, with impressive performances from top consulting firms like Bain, BCG, and McKinsey and tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Apple.”
Once the companies were chosen, we asked our community members where they would rather work after an MBA. Following four weeks and five rounds of stiff competition, a Championship Winner emerged. While the results were tight, with the final two firms landing less than 5% apart in votes, Google ultimately came out on top as your favorite post-MBA employer.
Here are the final results:
In the true spirit of March Madness, Clear Admit added some stakes to the competition. In addition to voting for their top choices, users were encouraged to submit a prediction bracket at the beginning of the tournament. The person with the prediction that was closest to the final bracket would receive the grand prize of a $200 Amazon gift card.
Caroline Andersson, a current MBA candidate and the winner of the bracket submission contest, discusses the process of creating her bracket with Clear Admit. “To me, the interesting part of this Clear Admit bracket is that participants fill out their predictions based on what they think other people will vote for, not necessarily where they personally would prefer to work.” She adds, “I think that’s a great analogy for patterns in the MBA world, such as considering schools or employers based on prestige rather than fit.”
Coming from the startup world, Caroline has a strong familiarity with technology-based firms, and she ranked them highly on her prediction bracket. Luckily for Caroline, tech came out on top this year. The winner notes, “Another interesting feature to me was how many technology companies won. I come from the startup world, so I assumed that my bias toward tech companies would be higher than other voters, but I seem to be in the majority!”
Predictions & Upsets
While users voted for their favorite Post-MBA Employers, Clear Admit joined in on the fun and made a prediction bracket of our own. Richmond notes, “Of course, before we let site visitors kick off voting in the competition, we couldn’t help but run some predictions based on historic preferences among registered users on clearadmit.com.”
Below is Clear Admit’s prediction bracket, reflecting expected outcomes based on our user data:
While a majority of Clear Admit’s predictions were correct, things started to take an unexpected turn in the Final Four round. “The results for the Final Four were exactly as we would have expected, with Bain, BCG, McKinsey, and Google all making it,” Richmond says. “Of course, after that, things went a bit differently than our model predicted, with Google beating McKinsey to reach the finals against Bain. The final was incredibly close, with Google notching a very slim 52% to 48% victory.”
Ultimately, the March Madness: Post-MBA Employer bracket provided some valuable insights regarding where individuals see themselves after an MBA. “While things mostly played out as expected, there were a few notable exceptions: Barclays victories over both Accenture and Deloitte set the bank up to be a bit of an early round Cinderella story…but they ultimately fell to BCG in the Elite Eight round,” Richmond notes. “Another notable matchup was Facebook vs. Goldman Sachs in the Round of 16, with Facebook just barely advancing past one of the world’s best known investment banks.”
Though we were able to guess at the general placement of many of these companies, there were certainly some shocking revelations. Richmond concludes, “finally, I was surprised to see Google beat Amazon in such landslide fashion…but what’s a tournament without a few blowouts?”