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Forbes: Stanford Tops The Business Schools With The Most Satisfied MBA Graduates

By 17th November 2017 April 22nd, 2018 No Comments

Source: Forbes

by Kurt Badenhausen
Nov. 16, 2017

Stanford Graduate School of Business is the hardest MBA program in the world to gain entry to, with only 6% of applicants making the grade last year. It’s nearly twice as hard to be admitted to the school than the next most selective graduate business programs (Harvard and MIT Sloan both admit 11% of applicants). But once you’re in, you are likely to be happy with what comes next.

Hoover Tower on the Stanford University campus.

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ORBES surveyed 17,500 alumni this year from the MBA Class of 2012 and Stanford’s grads are hands down the most satisfied with their education and current jobs. The school in the heart of the Silicon Valley tech scene is fueled by innovation and collaboration, with an elite faculty and a 6-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Stanford MBA grads have their pick of jobs, with Apple, Bain, Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey and Warburg Pincus the top employers for last year’s class. The starting median base salary was $136,000, with a signing bonus of $25,000.

In addition to the hefty pay, many Stanford GSB grads get equity in big companies and startups. One-third of Stanford respondents from the class of 2012 reported receiving options with a median value of $380,000 five years out of school.

“Stanford GSB nourished me with emotional intelligence, skills and network that are extremely useful for a venture capitalist like myself and entrepreneur like my husband,” says Frances Kang, class of 2012. “It is not a destination of education, but an igniter for lifetime learning.”

Stanford finished second in FORBES’ 2017 ranking of the best business schools based on bang for the buck, with the high cost of the Bay Area putting a dent in the return on investment for Stanford MBAs and keeping it out of the top spot. The University of Pensylvania Wharton School ranked first for ROI.

We received responses from 4,400 alumni for our biennial b-school ranking. In addition to salary data for our ROI ranking, we quizzed alumni on their satisfaction with their education, the preparation their business degrees provided them relative to other MBAs and their current jobs. Stanford ranked first on both current job and preparation, as well as second for satisfaction with their education.

We averaged the satisfaction scores among the 40 U.S. schools with at least 30 alumni responses to determine the overall rankings. Some MBA rankings measure satisfaction of students at graduation, but we look at satisfaction five years out of school when students have had time to reflect on their educational experience and how they compare to other MBAs in the labor force. Overall students gave their educations very high marks and less so for their current employment situation.

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business finished second overall in satisfaction with the top score regarding their education (it ranked second on preparedness and eighth for current job).

Darden grads follow the school’s mantra of “Trust the process,” which is drilled into their heads during their two years in Charlottesville. Alumni are believers, with more than 40% regularly donating to the school and fundraising commitments up 55% in the most recent fiscal year.

Top employers for Darden grads last year included Accenture, Bain & Co., Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Co. and Microsoft. “Darden offers top-notch faculty who always have time for students, intellectual peers who challenge and drive you in and out of the classroom, and an education that leaves students very prepared to enter the workforce,” says Darden grad Andrew Blaser.

Rounding out the top five for MBA alumni satisfaction are Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, Wharton and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

A big paycheck from an elite university does not always lead to happiness. Total comp for alumni at NYU’s Stern School of Business and Yale School of Management rank among the top 10 schools five years after graduation at $195,000. Alumni give the schools high marks for their education (NYU) and preparedness (Yale), but they are far from satisfied relative to other MBAs when it comes to their current jobs. NYU and Yale both rank in the bottom half of schools on job satisfaction.

Harvard Business School offers an interesting contrast the other way. It finished third in our ROI survey thanks to fat compensation packages from consulting and finance jobs and HBS grads from the class of 2012 appear pleased with their current employment situation. But they give the Cambridge, Mass. school poor marks for their MBA education and how prepared they are relative to other MBA alumni, finishing in the bottom half of business schools in both cases.