Amay Tewari, Photo Editor

The Yale School of Management’s latest employment report reveals that the school’s median base salary for graduates increased 7.7 percent from last year, which is the highest growth rate among the top 15 business schools that report salary averages.

The report, which uses self-reported data on post-graduation plans, reveals that the median base salary for the class of 2020 was $140,000 –– up from $130,000 for the class of 2019. In addition to this base salary, graduates also enjoyed a median signing bonus of $30,000 and a median guaranteed year-end bonus of $20,413. However, the report revealed that the job offer rate declined 5.5 percent from last year’s graduating class, with 85.9 percent of graduates accepting a job offer within three months of graduation, compared to 91.4 percent last year.

“Though employment prospects for the Class of 2020 were certainly affected by the onset of the pandemic, the pandemic’s impact was substantially mitigated by a number of longer-term trends that have helped to improve students’ employment prospects,” Deputy Dean for Academic Programs Anjani Jain wrote in an email to the News. “Yale SOM’s stature, especially among prospective students and employers, has consistently risen in the last decade.”

Jain explained that SOM’s elevated stature can be seen in the caliber of students the school attracts, the competing business schools which these students forgo to come to Yale and the number of “sought-after employers” who count SOM among their core recruiting schools. 

According to Jain, the small size of SOM’s Master of Business Administration program –– which contained 346 students in the class of 2020 –– enables students to have greater individual access to recruiters from prestigious firms than at schools with significantly larger MBA programs.

According to an article from the business school news website Poets&Quants, while SOM’s 7.7 percent increase in median salary was the largest out of the top 15 schools that report salary averages, the trend of rising pay was common among them all. New York University’s Stern School of Business reported a 6.3 percent salary increase, Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management came in at a 5.8 percent increase and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business reported a 4.6 percent increase.

Assistant Dean for Career Development Abigail Kies explained that part of SOM’s high salary growth can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. She said that the pandemic affected large and small organizations differently, giving larger organizations a leg-up in MBA recruitment, and in turn pushing students to accept higher-paying roles that they otherwise may not have.

“Organizations that are larger and more established tended to continue hiring and paying … while many smaller organizations, or ones in some of the lower paying sectors to begin with, pulled back more during the spring and early summer,” Kies wrote in an email to the News. “The result may have been more students accepting some roles (and the associated higher salaries) that may not have been accepted in prior years.”

Even so, Jain highlighted the fact that 40 to 45 percent of SOM’s graduating class joins an organization as the only hire from SOM –– which he said reflects SOM students’ insistence on finding the best match between opportunities and aspirations. According to Jain, this job offer distribution is “strikingly different” from most other MBA programs, where employment is concentrated among a small number of larger firms.

But while SOM graduates’ salaries increased, the report also revealed a 5.5 percent decrease in final job placements. In 2019, 92.4 percent of graduates had received a job offer and 91.4 percent of them had accepted a job offer within three months of graduation. This year, those rates were down to 90.2 percent receiving job offers and 85.9 percent accepting an offer.

Again, SOM was not alone with this trend. Harvard Business School reported a 5.0 percent decrease in job placements within three months after graduation and the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management reported a 9.0 percent decrease, according to another Poets&Quants article surveying MBA placement rates at top business schools. 

The number of SOM graduates entering investment banking remained constant this year at 10.6 percent of graduates this year and last year. According to leaders of SOM’s finance club Richard Damant SOM ’21, Adhi Murali SOM ’21 and Iris Park SOM ’21, the school has a strong track record of investment banking recruiting through its “small but close-knit” Wall Street network.

“SOM has consistently had a yield of 70-75% of students that enroll in the Investment Banking recruiting process receiving internship offers,” the trio wrote in a December email to the News. “SOM’s differentiator compared to other schools is … a smaller [investment banking] contingent that allows for a less competitive and more collaborative recruiting experience.”

36.9 percent of SOM’s class of 2020 entered consulting, 12.7 percent entered technology and 4.2 percent entered investment management after graduation, according to the employment report.

Julia Brown | julia.k.brown@yale.edu