Fewer MBAs Head to Tech Sector

May 5, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The burst of the dot.com bubble has apparently come home to roost with the nation's MBA students.

That was one of a series of findings by a recent survey of 850 MBA students from 10 US business schools conducted by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

The latest poll, taken in March 2003, found that 6% of MBAs were actively going after jobs with dot.com and Internet companies versus 24% in 2000. In addition, only 1% had accepted positions with those companies, down from 14% in 2000.

The movement away from the tech sector also showed up when the students were asked to name the people they most admire. Noted investment guru Warren Buffett, who did not make the Top 10 most admired list in 2000, came in second place in the 2003 poll. Meanwhile, Microsoft founder Bill Gates (2000’s number three) slipped to fifth place. .

Generally, the survey found that the MBA students, after graduation, preferred career advancement and personal fulfillment at major companies. Regardless of where they ended up working, the survey shows, the size of their paychecks is not the most important criterion.

Other findings include:

  • MBA degrees continue to narrow the salary gap based on gender. According to the survey, male MBA students make 4% more than their female counterparts. This gap was 9% prior to getting an MBA degree. The reason why men still tend to make more with MBAs: a greater percentage of men than women chose investment banking.
  • General Electric was the most admired company, replacing Cisco, which did not crack the Top 20 list this year. Microsoft came in second place, followed by Johnson & Johnson. The US Military was among the Top 10 most admired organizations for the first time in the survey’s 15-year history.
  • Far more MBA students are willing to work for tobacco and alcohol manufacturers than in previous years, according to the survey. In 2000, only 6% of surveyed students expressed willingness to work at a tobacco company, while the number jumped to 42% in 2003. This year only 15% said that political, social, or ethical concerns would prevent them from accepting a job with an alcohol manufacturer, compared to 26% in 2000.
  • Two new sectors were added to the list in 2003. Four percent of respondents said they would not work for government, while 3% said the same about accounting.
  • San Francisco remained the most desirable city in which to work and live; Chicago came in second.

The business schools whose students participated in this survey were: Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business; Dartmouth College’s Amos Tuck School of Business; Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business; Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management; UCLA’s The Anderson School; UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business; University of Chicago Graduate School of Business; University of Michigan Business School; University of Texas at Austin Graduate School of Business; and University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business.

The report is at http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/admin/extaff/news/report2003/ .