The consulting industry has seen a surge in hiring since 2020 upended the global business environment, leaving firms scrambling to retain top talent while maintaining a full pipeline of incoming candidates. A growing push for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)-focused advisory services is furthering the squeeze felt by consultancies, resulting in all-time high starting salaries for recent MBA grads from top business schools.
Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, one of the top three business schools in the U.S. as ranked by Fortune, has reported that its new graduates are landing jobs within three months of graduation and seeing higher base salaries over those offered to the class of 2021. New grads are receiving base compensation of $165,000, as well as median signing bonuses of $30,000, reflecting the high demand for fresh talent.
The school also saw recruitment for the consulting industry reach a record high, with 40% of the graduating class taking a job in the field for a median base salary of $175,000, with nearly 150 of the graduating class of roughly 1,000 students landing jobs with the top three firms in the U.S.: McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, and Boston Consulting Group (collectively referred to as “MBB”). Kellogg’s program is particularly focused on consulting, making it a popular field for its graduates.
Consulting salaries in general are on the rise as firms compete for talent, with MBB firms announcing salary hikes earlier in the year and pay set to increase even further in 2023, jumping to $192,000 offered by Bain & McKinsey, and $190,000 by BCG.
“The marketplace really wanted talent, and we had the talent,” Liza Kirkpatrick, assistant dean of the Career Management Center at Kellogg, told Fortune. “Our students really had to overcome COVID, and showed resilience in the process. The market was responsive to that. Our students got the jobs that they were seeking.”
Technology and financial services were also popular amongst Kellogg’s recent MBA graduates, with more than 20% of the class taking a job in the tech sector at median base salaries of more than $145,000, joining the ranks of companies such as Alphabet, Meta, and Amazon. The financial sector, particularly private equity and venture capital, offered students the highest median base salaries, beginning at $170,000.
In spite of global disruption, fears of recession, historically high inflation, and The Great Resignation in full swing, the high starting salaries clearly reflect the market value of MBA holders across industries, and there’s appears to be no limit in sight.