Hiring Market Strong, Salaries Up for the MBA Class of 2013

From management consulting in Paris to cleantech in the Bay Area to culinary tourism in Asia, the full-time Berkeley MBA class of 2013 has launched new careers and new ventures in a strong hiring market with higher salaries.

The class went to work for 135 companies, with nearly 96 percent reporting that they received job offers by graduation or within three months, on par with last year. This year’s average salary is $117,738, up from $116,045 last year, and the median salary is at $120,000, up from $115,000 last year.

Twenty-three percent of the class went to work in consulting, with McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Deloitte Consulting represented as the top three hiring firms. Nandita Batra, MBA 13, joined BCG in Paris after interning with their San Francisco office last summer.

“I came to Haas knowing I wanted to have an international career,” says Batra. “Working abroad is a key step in that direction because it forces you to revise your assumptions and adopt a new mindset.”

A third of the class went to work in technology, with Google and Autodesk among the top hirers. Eighteen percent of the class took positions in finance. Students also showed enthusiasm for energy, with 11 percent of the class joining this sector, up from 7.5 percent last year.

“Haas was my top choice from the start as it is a recognized leader for energy and innovation,” says Alex Wooten, MBA 13, who joined the corporate finance group at SolarCity in San Mateo, Calif. “I see an immense opportunity in shifting the energy paradigm toward more sustainable sources.”

Opportunities such as the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC) student club helped Wooten build his network in alternative energy. One contact he made was with Carlo Woods, MBA 11, also in corporate finance at SolarCity. “We had an interview at Cafe Strada and then I was invited down to SolarCity to meet the COO and CFO,” says Wooten. “A few months later, I was here in San Mateo!”

Similarly, the Career Management Group connected Batra with Haas alumni who had made transitions to positions overseas. “They guided me on requesting an international transfer at the end of my internship,” Batra says. Support from her classmates also was invaluable.

“My classmates form a great network through shared experience. I just counted last week and we have nine FTMBA 2013s at BCG covering every continent but Antarctica,” she says.

The Haas Alumni Network’s involvement in career searches is part of a strong trend for the school, says Lisa Feldman, executive director of Career Management. “This past year, 557 alums engaged in the career management process, offering workshops, conducting mock interviews, and recruiting on campus,” she says. “So many alumni sharing their time and expertise demonstrates a real commitment to ensuring the success of current students in all three of our MBA programs.”

The class of 2013 also launched a dozen startups, according to Feldman. Aashi Vel and Stephanie Lawrence, both MBA 13 co-founded Traveling Spoon, which connects travelers in Asia to local culture through cuisine. The startup has made impressive showings in recent competitions and was chosen by Business Insider as one of “6 Silicon Valley startups launched in the last six months that could be huge.”

Interest in startups has also taken another form, according to Feldman, who sees students interested not necessarily in launching a business, but in working in a startup environment. Ryan Jung, MBA 14, spent his summer at OKTA, a cloud computing firm with 200 employees. “I’m interested in learning how to build a business,” says Jung, “In thinking about where to best build those skills, I lean toward well-developed startups or early-stage middle-market companies where I can work with a very seasoned team and learn a lot.”

Others in the class of 2014 applied their first-year experiences at larger employers, including top hiring firms Google, Amazon, Autodesk, Deloitte Consulting, and McKinsey & Co., JP Morgan, Lazard, and Visa.

“As part of understanding markets and trends, we aggregate data by industry, function, and geography,” says Feldman, “but the reality is that we craft each MBA class for diversity, so we are not surprised to see diversity in career searches. We are prepared to tackle each and every single kind of job search a student wants to pursue.”

Nandita Batra, MBA 13, is working at Boston Consulting Group in Paris.