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Covid Dampens But Can’t Drown Georgetown MBA Outcomes

Marc Ethier
·5 min read
Georgetown McDonough School of Business
Georgetown McDonough School of Business

Salaries were up once again for Georgetown MBAs, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

MBA employment reports are late at many of the leading business schools in the United States this year, as schools grapple with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on placement and starting pay for their graduates. But not Georgetown. The McDonough School of Business released its annual report this week, just as it released last year’s report in mid-November, and the conspicuous lack of delay points to how well — in most measures — Georgetown’s Class of 2020 performed.

Basically, even as uncertainty continues this year with the school’s announcement that all spring instruction will be hybrid, Georgetown McDonough’s employment numbers have reverted to the levels of three or four years ago. As if in a time machine, the percentage of job offers three months after graduation slipped for a second straight year to return to 2017 levels at 93%. Same for the percentage of job acceptances: down a second consecutive year, to 90%, the rate reported in 2016. Some impacts from a deadly global pandemic are to be expected, after all.

Similarly, average starting salary climbed for a fourth straight year for McDonough MBAs, to $128,162, a school record but only a 3.2% improvement on 2019. That might look inadequate compared to salary growth between 2018 and 2019, when starting base pay jumped 6.1%, to $124K from just under $117K; but in two previous cycles (2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018) average salaries climbed 4.1% and 3.8%, respectively.

One unalloyed good to come out of the report: bonuses, which jumped to an average of $34,707, up 13%. They had actually slipped between the previous two reports.

3 REASONS FOR SUCCESS

Doreen Amorosa, associate dean for McDonough Career Services, says that to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, McDonough Career Services launched a Hoyas Helping Hoyas campaign, asking alumni to connect with students around their career needs. It was so successful it became one of three primary reasons for the placement success of the school’s MBA graduates and students this year.

“Dean Paul Almeida asked our McDonough Alumni to support MBA students still seeking jobs and internships,” Amorosa tells Poets&Quants. “In the following weeks, over 200 of them stepped up with job and internship postings, virtual consulting projects, assistance with technical training and mentorship.

“Second, 75% of our graduates went into industries where they either had an opportunity to convert their summer internships or accept a new full-time offer before the pandemic began. And from the internship perspective, 50% of them went into consulting or finance functions. These opportunities were largely secured prior to the pandemic.

“Third, having been a former corporate recruiter, I understand the intricacies of ‘just-in-time recruiting.’ Each year, we kick off our just-in-time recruiting process in January. Students refresh their target company lists, and immediately re-energize their networking efforts. By doing this, they are ready to apply for roles and internships in early March. To the extent that hiring was still going on in April, they were already well into the recruitment cycle and this served them well.

“I am grateful for the support shown during these challenging times by our McDonough alumni, our student peer advisers, and the MBA Career Center in enabling the career aspirations of our graduates and students.”

CONSULTING & FINANCE SLIP WHILE TECH SURGES

In last year’s employment report, Georgetown McDonough showed a shuffling of industries, with tech slipping to the destination of 14% of the school’s 276 students, down from 17.5% in 2018. Consulting in 2019 leaped from 25.5% the previous year to 35% last year, a 37% increase, and also drove the average salary up for the whole class with a pace-setting $136,656, a 5.4% increase from 2018. Also up in 2019 was financial services, which had cratered to 21.7% in 2018 from 33% but which rebounded to 27% in the 2019 report, a 24.4% increase in one year.

This year, tech surged at the expense of the other top two, to 19%, eclipsing its 2018 level, and tech salaries grew 2.8%. Consulting, still the top destination, dropped to 32% of the class from 35%, but consulting salaries climbed considerably, by 7.6%, to $146,999 from $136,656, accounting for much of the overall class’s salary growth. Finance, conversely, slipped to 24% from 27%, and finance salaries dropped 2.2%, to just a hair above the tech average. See table above for details.

Overall, consulting, finance, and tech account for 75% of all jobs accepted by McDonough Class of 2020 MBAs, down a point from 2019 but up from about 64% in 2018. The next biggest fields were real estate and nonprofit/social impact, both at 6%, and manufacturing at 5%. Top employers were once more a who’s-who of familiar companies, including Amazon, Boston Consulting Group, Citigroup, EY, Google, JPMorgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, and PwC.

STRONG INTERNSHIP NUMBERS

In one of the hardest-hit areas for many schools, Georgetown was something of a model. Intern placement for Class of 2021 students was down only a point (99% from 100%), but salaries for interns were still up, to a monthly average of $7,894 from last year’s $7,668. That’s just under 3%, about a third of the salary improvement between 2018 and 2019. But 80% of internships this summer were paid, same as the coronavirus-free summer of 2019.

Where did most Georgetown interns find work? In finance, suggesting that the school’s 2021 employment report will show a resurgence in that industry. Fully one-third, 33%, of the Class of 2021 worked as interns in finance functions, up from 30% last summer, while 24% interned in consulting, down from 26%. Fifteen percent interned in marketing/sales roles, and 12% in general management — both identical to 2019.

Interestingly, 82% of the internships this summer were facilitated by the school, and 18% by the student — exactly the same as 2019, and very similar to 2017. In 2018, two years ago, the student-facilitated number had climbed to 22%.

DON’T MISS: BIG MBA APP BOOST AT GEORGETOWN — AND EVEN MORE APPS FOR THE NEXT CLASS or GEORGETOWN MBA GRADS SET ANOTHER PAY RECORD (2019)

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