Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog
How Our MBAs Found Meaningful Work (and Set Records!) in 2021
Here are some of the key takeaways and my thoughts from the 2021 employment report on what’s behind the shifts and trends.
I’ve been privileged to serve on the careers team at Fuqua for more than 20 years and have seen many employment trends come and go during that time. No two years are ever the same when it comes to the types of jobs our students are seeking and the ways our team helps facilitate connections. Agility is essential to meet both student and recruiter needs in an ever-evolving business landscape.
However, none of us could have predicted the many twists and challenges of the pandemic—which makes the record-breaking results from our Daytime MBA 2021 Employment Report all the more impressive.
In a year as turbulent as 2021, the resilience and sustained excellence necessary for each Fuqua student to secure a desired position tells an important story about them, and about the strength of our faculty and curriculum, experiential learning, recruiting and career resources. In light of such complexity, their career outcomes are even more noteworthy.
Here are some of this year’s key takeaways and my thoughts on what’s behind the shifts:
The Class of 2021 set new Fuqua records in annual salary and how quickly they landed jobs.
A one-year increase of five percentage points in job acceptances, from 91% in 2020 to 96% in 2021, is the highest in all my years at Fuqua. A significant driver is that more graduates accepted full-time offers from their intern employer, also up five percentage points from 2020, to 58% of the class. This trend benefits students who work hard to secure a desired internship, as well as employers, who invest in their internship program as a primary channel to full-time employment.
International students experienced increased job success, up to 94% employed (when we collected the data three months after graduation) from 87% in 2020. We attribute this jump to the increased popularity of Fuqua’s Management Science and Technology Management (MSTeM) second major, which benefits both students and employers. MSTeM offers two additional years of U.S. work authorization to eligible students for a total of three years of work eligibility in the U.S. In addition to the potential visa benefit, MSTeM graduates are also highly sought after for the skills they bring in data analytics and in leading and managing technological transformation.
Mean annual salary rose four percentage points over last year, from $135,935 to $141,109, also a new high. The consulting, technology, and financial services sectors saw salary gains of three to five percentage points each.
MBAs went into many of the same fields as previous years, but into slightly different roles.
Consulting, technology, and financial services account for 76% of acceptances in both 2021 and 2020, yet the types of roles are evolving with business needs. For example, with increased reliance on online shopping, the percentage of technology jobs in e-commerce jumped by 30% in just one year, from 40% of all tech in 2020 to 52% in 2021.
We also saw an uptick in the operations function, as supply-chain bottlenecks impacted industries from retail to manufacturing, due to the pandemic. While still small at six percent of our graduates’ jobs, operations has tripled in the past two years, up from two percent in 2019.
Graduates accepted jobs in 25 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Although New York City continues to be the top single destination, the Western states have become a regional favorite, the largest this year at 28% of the class. Our newest alumni accepted positions in California, Washington, and Oregon, and Seattle and San Francisco were two of the top five metro locations.
Approximately three percent of 2021 graduates accepted positions outside the United States in comparison to six percent in 2020. Destinations included Mexico City, Paris, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Seoul, and Toronto.
Students Continue to Find Jobs Through our Career Management Center and Fuqua.
Employers had to rethink their high-touch, largely in-person engagements when travel came to a halt and students weren’t on campus. We are grateful to our employer partners and students for their ingenuity, flexibility and patience in adapting to a virtual recruiting environment.
Despite the changing landscape, Fuqua was committed to playing a central role in student employment. In 2020 – 2021, 80% of both graduates and interns attribute their accepted role to a school-facilitated opportunity or event, a number which has held steady in recent years.
What shifted are the channels through which students and recruiters engaged. As campus interviews went online, they became more decentralized and accounted for less acceptances than in recent years. Conversely, Fuqua job postings increased in volume and importance. These trends are especially notable when comparing internship recruiting over the past two years – job postings increased by 216% from 12% of the 2021 intern class finding opportunities through listings to 26% for internships in 2022.
Our community continues to show up for each other, even in difficult times.
I remain grateful to our students, alumni, recruiters and our careers team for the commitment they exhibit, year after year, to make sure our newest graduates find the best possible career match. It is a gift to be at the intersection of the work of so many talented people.
Our faculty are continuing to evolve our courses to make sure our graduates are as prepared as possible for the complexities they will face. In fact, the Class of 2021 was the first to experience our newest curriculum update and will take these new learnings with them out into their first jobs, and beyond.
I look forward to learning how our Class of 2021 will positively impact their teams, companies, and communities. Now more than ever, we need business leaders who can instill common purpose to work toward a common goal. I’m proud to be part of a team making that happen—one graduate at a time.