BY Sydney LakeSeptember 14, 2021, 02:00 am
The Baker-Berry Library at Dartmouth College. (Photo by Education Images—Universal Images Group/Getty Images)
Graduates of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business earn some of the highest base salaries of the top MBA programs in the U.S. In 2020, the average Tuck MBA candidate earned nearly $200,000 within three months of graduation—thanks to a median base salary of $150,000 plus a $30,000 signing bonus.
Tuck base salaries have risen by almost 43% during the past decade. In 2010, the average Tuck graduate earned a $105,000 base salary plus a $25,000 signing bonus. Despite challenges brought on by the pandemic, 94% of 2020 Tuck graduates seeking a job found one within three months.
“When I speak to our recruiting partners and companies, there is a common thread in every conversation: Today’s top organizations and firms are looking for collaborative, team-oriented, decisive leaders,” Stephen Pidgeon, the executive director of Tuck’s career services, wrote in the school’s 2020 employment report. “They are looking for the kinds of leaders that Tuck best develops.”
He adds that the rise in compensation was “driven in part” by the large share of students who pursue careers in consulting and finance. Of Tuck’s most recent graduating class, 42% went into consulting, while 21% went into finance.
Why do so many Tuck grads go into consulting?
Pidgeon deserves credit for Tuck’s success in placing MBA students at top firms, says Namaan Mian, a director with Management Consulted, which provides preparation materials and consulting industry insights. Pidgeon, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant, has written several books on case interviewing (a pillar of most consulting job interviews) and breaking into the consulting field.
“While his approach is a little different than ours, there’s no denying it has been successful for Tuck students,” Mian says. “Other schools have great casing cultures as well, so the biggest differentiator is definitely the in-house expertise of Tuck Career Services.”
Tuck graduates who lock down a consulting job after graduation earn $165,000, on average, which is a standard base salary at McKinsey, Bain & Co., and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), according to Mian. These three firms are the top consulting recruiters at Tuck, he adds.
The school also has the Tuck Consulting Club for students interested in careers in management, strategy health care, and organization consulting. The club hosts events that allow Tuck students to make connections with firms and offers resources to help prepare for consulting interviews.
Pablo Segovia Smith, a 2015 Tuck graduate, wrote on a Dartmouth blog that the club was the “vehicle” that put him in touch with classmates to practice his interviews and “secure offers in two major firms.”
“It helps that the program is smaller than competitors’, allowing students to get more one-on-one support,” Mian adds. Tuck’s MBA program typically has about 300 students, while other top programs like Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania have about 900 students per class.
Finance jobs have higher salaries, too
More than one-fifth of Tuck’s 2020 graduating class took jobs in the financial services industry and reported earning $200,000 right after school. Students who went into financial services reported a median base salary of $150,000 and a $50,000 signing bonus. The school hasn’t released compensation data for 2021 graduates yet.
By comparison, the average finance salary for a candidate coming directly from a bachelor’s degree program is $71,186, according to PayScale. The average salary for these positions jumps to more than $100,000 with an MBA—but Tuck grads are making double that.
Franco Coria, a member of Tuck’s 2021 graduating class, calls the school the best place to recruit for investment banking, thanks to its “tight-knit community,” its alumni network, and its career services.
“You will not find a bigger resources-to-students ratio anywhere else,” he wrote in a Tuck 360 blog post. “This applies to any industry you want to recruit for.”
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