Stanford GSB: Class of 2015 Employment Report | TopMBA.com

Stanford GSB: Class of 2015 Employment Report

By Tim Dhoul

Updated July 25, 2019 Updated July 25, 2019

The average post-MBA salary level achieved by Stanford GSB graduates has risen for the first time in four years, according to the school’s class of 2015 employment report.

Now standing at a new high of US$130,000, the school’s median base salary figure had remained flat at US$125,000 in each of the past three years. However, among the year’s major industry destinations, only the consulting sector sees a rise (from US$135,000 to US$140,000) on last year’s median MBA salary levels. Salaries in the technology industry came out at US$125,000 once more and in the finance industry they maintained a hefty US$150,000 average.

Finance supplies class’ highest MBA salary

It is the finance industry, and more specifically the area of hedge funds, which supplies the class of 2015’s highest-reported MBA salary level, of US$267,000. Last year’s class high was, however, even higher at US$300,000 and was also reported by a graduate heading into finance, this time in the investment banking arena. The class’ lowest MBA salary reported this year, of just US$18,000, belongs to one of the 5% of graduates entering the nonprofit industry, but doesn’t stop this destination from maintaining a median salary of US$100,000 – the same level as in 2014.

The high-paying finance industry continues to be the most popular destination for Stanford GSB graduates. Up from 29% in 2014, this year almost a third (31%) of those seeking employment are taking jobs in finance, the exact same proportion as seen at Harvard this year

Technology doubles up on consulting at Stanford GSB

The technology industry isn’t far off finance's number, though. The number using the school’s links to tech employers based both inside and outside of the San Francisco Bay Area to enter the industry has grown from 24 to 28% of the class.

This means that there are now twice as many Stanford GSB graduates taking MBA jobs in technology as there are taking jobs in consulting, after that sector’s proportion dropped from 16 to 14% of the class total. The most popular tech areas of employment have proven to be marketing, software and internet services – each of which accounts for 6% of the class of 2015. A 6% class proportion also represents the number taking jobs in healthcare, a rise from 4% last year.

Class of 2015 has ‘higher tolerance for risk’

Given the recovery seen to the market for MBA jobs in the US this year, it is perhaps a little surprising to see that the number of Stanford GSB students who have landed, and accepted, a new position within three months of graduating has declined from 92 to 86%. However, the school says this is because the recovery has empowered its charges to hold out for the right position:

“This cohort has a very positive outlook on the market and a higher tolerance for risk. The strong market has allowed them to defer decisions about multiple offers, and in some cases, turn down offers to remain focused on searching for an ideal opportunity,” said Maeve Richard, assistant dean and director at Stanford GSB’s career management center.  Despite this, the number of those receiving an offer in this three-month timeframe has also fallen, albeit more marginally, from 94 to 92%.

Some of this could conceivably come down to the number of students leaving the school to start their own businesses, rather than seeking new employment opportunities. Entrepreneurs among Stanford’s class of 2015 represent a sizeable 16% of the total. But, this is actually a fraction down on 2014’s proportion of 17%, and the 18% recorded in 2013. Still, it is worth noting that the proportion of this year’s entrepreneur graduates is higher among its international student population (20%) than it is among its US citizens (15%). The most popular startup areas this year are consumer products/services, healthcare and finance which, when combined, account for a third of the class’ entrepreneurs. Energy/clean tech, which was second only to finance on 2014’s entrepreneurial list, has disappeared from this year’s list altogether.

The school says that its international students are also showing a keen interest in joining existing startups and that the greater complications associated with securing work visas at smaller companies might be prolonging their job search. The proportion of international students accepting offers of MBA jobs within three months from the class as a whole was indeed down this year, from 89 to 82%.

Drop in number accepting MBA jobs overseas mitigated by entrepreneurship

As for locations taken up by this year’s graduates, it is also interesting to note that the number of entrepreneurs setting up shop overseas is four times as high as the number of students accepting jobs outside of the US. More than a quarter (28%) of MBAs who are starting new businesses are doing so outside the US, compared to the 7% class proportion who have accepted jobs abroad – a number that has fallen by almost a half since last year and is some distance short of the 20% peak seen at Stanford back in 2010. Since 2014, the number leaving California for positions in Asia-Pacific has dropped from 4 to 2% and in Europe, from 2 to 1%. Instead, more than two-thirds of the class, 68%, are staying on the US’s West Coast (defined as a region including California, Oregon, and Washington), up from 61% last year.

Much of Stanford’s report this year relates to the 71% of students (from a total of 396 graduates) who were seeking employment. In this, the number of students using their own initiative to secure MBA jobs (54%) outweighs those benefitting from school-facilitated resources (46%). These numbers were very similar last year. However, on-campus recruiting activity facilitated by the school has risen substantially in 2015 and now accounts for 15% of class employment, up from 9% last year. The avenue through which 30% of students have found their own job opportunities is loosely defined as ‘networking’ and is up from 25% last year.

This article was originally published in November 2015 . It was last updated in July 2019

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Written by

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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