As Associate Director of Analytics Careers, I’m proud to have led the Master of Quantitative Management (MQM): Business Analytics career program since the degree launched. Since 2017, I’ve watched company demand for hiring our graduates continue to grow.

The first graduating class of 2018 was 97 percent employed within six months post graduation, in impactful analytics roles at data-forward employers across sectors. 

The MQM career data in 2019 showed even greater interest in our grads, with a virtually identical 97 percent employed timeline, more employers hiring multiple grads, and a $7,500 jump in U.S. median base salary.  

Based on this trajectory, 2020 looked to be another record-setting year for hiring. Then came the pandemic. And that’s what makes the success of our Class of 2020 even more impressive.

As our 2020 career report shows, 92 percent of grads were employed by the end of 2020, increasing to 94 percent in January of 2021. These numbers are remarkably close to the 97 percent in 2018 and 2019.

The 2020 median, full-time base salary in the U.S. was $85,000, program-wide, landing between 2019’s median of $87,500 and the 2018 mark of $80,000.

2020 graduates took jobs at 108 different companies. This was an almost 30 percent increase from the 80-plus companies that hired Fuqua grads the previous year, also reflecting a larger class size.

The difference between 2020 and past years’ outcomes boils down to the following three factors:

1. Timing of Hires

In 2018 and 2019, hiring peaked in late May, with 97 percent of graduates employed within six months of graduation and most capitalizing on just-in-time hiring. The March onset of the pandemic in 2020 froze many U.S. opportunities which thawed by summer, shifting the hiring peak to August. Some graduates left the U.S. for opportunities in China, which added delays as they pivoted to overseas searches.

2. A Shift in Location of Jobs

Each year, most graduates find jobs in the U.S. In 2020, a larger number than in past years sought employment in their home countries. China saw the majority, with graduates accepting jobs at sought-after employers, including ByteDance, Tencent, NetEase, P&G and JD Group.

In financial services, Bank of China, Bank of Communications, China Merchant Bank, and People’s Bank of China were just some of the notable organizations that hired MQM graduates. For consulting, EY, PwC, Deloitte and Accenture were also well represented. We remain optimistic that these landings will have a pipeline effect for future classes.

3. Changing Sector Opportunities

We saw pandemic-related declines in hiring among the hospitality, leisure and travel sectors. But in the U.S., tech, logistics/supply chain, essential retail and eCommerce exploded as the economy responded to pandemic-induced restructuring.

Amazon and ZS Associates each hired nine MQM graduates. Five joined 7-Eleven, and three each joined The Home Depot and Service Now. As mining insights from data became even more instrumental to survival and competitiveness in 2020, employers in the health care, insurance and financial services industries like Capital One, Truist and Wells Fargo also expanded their hiring of MQM talent.

Our career curriculum and the resources available to students continue to evolve based on what we learn from students and graduates as they pursue meaningful employment. 

We can’t overstate the value of our alumni network, not only in helping each class, but also in supporting our recent graduates to grow in their careers. We now have more than 500 MQM alumni who are tremendously engaged as champions and mentors for both fellow Fuqua alumni and current students.

It’s gratifying to see where our graduating class lands each year, and to watch how our graduates continue to thrive in the workforce. As an example, 75 percent of 2018 grads have either been promoted or landed an expanded job at a second, post-MQM employer.

I feel lucky every day to work with such inspiring students, devoted alumni and exciting employers. I have no doubt the MQM Class of 2020 is already making a big impact in their jobs and in the world.