McKinsey hires 10% of Chicago Booth’s latest MBA class

BY Sydney LakeDecember 01, 2021, 9:47 PM
Hyde Park campus, University of Chicago map sign. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg—Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, which Fortune ranks No. 4 on its list of full-time MBA programs in the U.S., is a prime example of the value of an MBA. Salaries for Booth graduates have steadily grown during the past decade, reaching a $155,000 median in 2021. Plus, within three months of graduation, more than 93% of the class landed a job, according to its most recent salary report.

Of the 476 Booth students who were seeking a job at the time of graduation, more than one-third took a job in consulting. Furthermore, 10% of the entire Booth class was hired by McKinsey & Co., a top-three consulting firm—one that Fortune previously deemed as one of the most important private companies.

“We find that MBA programs prepare strong problem-solvers who are intellectually curious, innovative, strong team players, and excellent relationship builders,” Adriana Crespo, manager of recruiting operations at McKinsey, tells Fortune. “These skills, along with a foundation in business, help MBA graduates to excel as consultants.” The company recruits from more than 370 universities, she adds.

McKinsey has been consistently recruiting from Booth for the past decade—hiring between 7% and 10% of the entire graduating class each year. The company also recruits many current Booth students for internship positions—39 this year, to be exact. 

Pay at McKinsey for MBA grads

With just a bachelor’s degree, new McKinsey hires typically earn a base salary of $90,000, according to Management Consulted, a company that offers prep and training for professionals entering the consulting industry. 

That base salary jumps to $165,000 for MBA hires—plus a performance bonus of up to $35,000 and $30,000 signing bonus. Therefore, many Booth grads could be making up to $230,000 right out of the gate. 

This compensation aligns with Booth’s 2021 employment report, which shows that grads who went into consulting earned a $165,000 median base salary and $30,000 signing bonus. The school doesn’t report data on signing bonuses. 

“Consulting firms expect a lot from their employees, and providing bonuses is one way to motivate them to perform at the highest levels,” Don Lowman, a senior client partner and global leader of Korn Ferry’s Global Total Rewards business, previously told Fortune.

MBA graduates typically join McKinsey as associates, working as generalists or focusing in a particular practice area such as tech, analytics, operations, or marketing and sales, Crespo says.

Other major employers that hire Booth grads

Boston Consulting Group (BCG), another industry powerhouse, is also a big recruiter of Booth MBA grads. In 2021, the company hired 36 Booth grads, or nearly 8% of the graduating class. 

BCG offers similar compensation packages to its competitor, McKinsey. MBA grads who are hired by BCG typically earn a base salary of $165,000, with performance and signing bonuses cashing in at up to $41,250 and $30,000, respectively, according to data from Management Consulted.

“Starting salaries [for consulting jobs] have been steadily increasing over the past few years,” Lowman says. Consulting firms are “finding themselves competing more and more for some of the same top talent being recruited by investment banks and private equity firms, which are also premium payers to top MBA grads.”

Amazon recruited the third-highest number of students from Booth’s most recent graduating class. In 2021, the tech giant hired 34 Booth grads and 27 current students as interns. The school reported that more than 100 of its 2021 grads went into tech jobs postgrad and earned a median base salary of $133,000 and $40,000 sign-on bonus. 

“While the market is oversaturated with tech professionals with highly specialized skills, very few are able to transform themselves for techno-functional roles,” Sameer Kamat, author of Beyond the MBA Hype and founder of MBA Crystal Ball, an admissions consulting firm, previously told Fortune. “The lower supply results in higher salaries.”

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