As program director of analytics careers, I’m proud to have led career services for the Master of Quantitative Management (MQM): Business Analytics since the degree launched in 2017. The past 18 months have been uniquely challenging, given the prolonged effects of the pandemic on workforce trends, but I’m pleased to say the MQM class of 2021 persisted and achieved a strong set of outcomes that upheld the standard set by past classes.

As our 2021 employment report shows, 97 percent of students were employed within six months after graduation. This number is nearly identical to the 97 percent in 2018 and 2019 and exceeds the 92 percent by year-end 2020. The 2021 median, full-time base salary in the U.S. was $85,000, program-wide, consistent with 2020’s benchmark.

The class of 2021 took jobs at 115 different companies, as diverse a set as we have seen in program history. This is a proportionate increase from prior classes, reflecting both students’ diverse interests and hiring turbulence across industries. The motivation and perseverance of this class can’t be overstated.

The highlights of 2021 relative to past years’ outcomes are these:

1. Diverse Industry Opportunities

2021 showed sector shifts in hiring, with uncertainty in hospitality, leisure and travel and increased demand for talent in tech, logistics/supply chain, retail, and consumer goods as the economy weathered pandemic-induced restructuring. MQM grads found positions at many employers that hadn’t previously hired the program’s graduates, including Nestle, Coca-Cola, Heineken, DHL, DISH Network, ViacomCBS and Volvo. Meanwhile, Align Technology, Cognizant, Target and Wayfair were among the employers returning from previous years to hire more MQM grads.

As mining insights from data became even more critical to competitiveness in 2021, employers from health care to financial services like Novartis, Cigna, Capital One, Credit Suisse, Fidelity and Truist and tech veterans Dell, Cisco and Infosys also continued their hiring of MQM talent.

This class experienced a new level of dispersion, with fewer companies hiring multiple graduates than past classes, however, Amazon, Deloitte, and IHS Markit hired four MQM graduates each, and two each joined The Home Depot, Remitly and TikTok. This expanded reach bodes well for future classes’ opportunities.

2. Just-in-Time Hiring

Pre-pandemic hiring typically peaked each year in late May, with 97 percent of graduates employed within six months of graduation, capitalizing on just-in-time opportunities. The March 2020 onset of the pandemic froze many U.S. opportunities which thawed by that summer, shifting the hiring peak to August. The class of 2021 hiring also peaked in August with the same six-month post-graduation employment percentage outcome, as companies managed churn, return-to-office uncertainties, and shifts in needs for data talent. This timeline offered a comfortable margin for international seekers, in particular, to maximize the value of the MQM education in their job search.

3. Global Location of Jobs

Each year, most graduates find jobs in the U.S. In 2020 and 2021, 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 Alibaba, Bloomberg, NetEase, P&G and Tencent.

In financial services, CICC, CITIC Securities, Hengyue Fund and Ping An were just some of the notable organizations that hired MQM graduates. For consulting roles in several sectors, EY, IBM, and IQVIA were also represented. These landings have a pipeline effect, creating opportunities year over year.

Our career curriculum and the resources available to students continue to evolve based on what we learn from graduates as they launch their post-MQM careers. We can’t overstate the value of our alumni network. After the Class of 2022 graduates this May, we will have over 900 MQM graduates. Our alumni are tremendously engaged as champions and mentors for both fellow Fuqua graduates and current students. These professionals share their time and perspective, graciously accept students’ networking invitations, and routinely send job opportunities to share with students and fellow alumni.

It’s exciting to see where our students land each year, and to watch how our graduates are progressing in the workforce: 75 percent of 2018 grads have either been promoted or landed an expanded job at a second, or even third, post-MQM employer. For example, 17 alumni started jobs at Amazon after graduating and there are now 32 MQM alumni employed there.

I feel lucky every day to build connections in this community of motivated students, devoted alumni and dynamic employers. The MQM Class of 2021 is off to an outstanding start in their careers, strengthening MQM’s reputation and extending the pattern of impact our older alumni have established.