BY Mary LowengardJanuary 24, 2022, 21:58
Monitor displays FAANG stock information on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, as seen in January 2019. (Photographer: Michael Nagle—Bloomberg/Getty Images)
The spectacular success of technology companies in both the marketplace and the stock market has made the industry an attractive target for aspiring MBA talent for the past 20 years or so. Excitement contributes to a steep growth curve and lifestyle and culture (foosball, no stripes, no killer clock) are additional attractive factors. Plus, there are jobs to be had—by 2020, Amazon alone added 800,000 positions globally.
Top tech companies are actively seeking MBA degrees, both giants—such as Amazon, Apple, and Google—and scrappier startups. Choosing the right business school program can be critical on the road to a job in technology. MBA students who wish to work in technology should seek out the opportunities their school offers for hands-on experience, learn creative and critical problem-solving skills, and access to a strong network of classmates, professors, and alumni, as Property previously reported.
Which school can increase your chances of a career at one of the leading tech giants in the country? Until now, it was mostly a guessing game. Thanks to the data collected by Menlo Coaching, Property able to pinpoint which schools could give you the best chance of your dream job in tech—and there are a few surprises. In fact, the top three feeders for technology no belongs to one of the traditional triads of Harvard, Stanford and Wharton, but To do including large public universities.
To create the dataset, Menlo Coaching analyzed more than 50,000 student profiles, drawn from publicly posted lists (i.e., virtual graduation announcements) and social media profiles on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This tech jobs data collects information about MBA graduates employed by so-called FAANG employers (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google), over the three years 2018, 2019, and 2020.
In total, Menlo identified 1,409 MBA alumni from 25 different schools employed by FAANG companies during the 3-year period. While Menlo’s data reveal once again that there’s a reason top-ranking programs offer solid gains—don’t despair if you’ve secured a seat at one of the other schools included in this study.
Midwest school receives reward for FAANG’s work
The first surprise is in the big picture. If you want to work for one of the FAANG companies, focus on the six MBA programs that place the most graduates in order: Northwestern University (Kellogg), University of Michigan (Ross), University of Chicago (Booth), Harvard Business School and University of Pennsylvania ( Wharton), who tied for fourth place, and Duke University (Fuqua) in fifth place. The next five positions are held by Columbia Business School, MIT Sloan, New York University Stern, Stanford and UC Berkeley Haas (series), and the University of Virginia Darden.
Another conclusion from the data is that if you want to work in technology, you should aim for a position at Amazon or Google, which employ 765 and 397 MBA graduates, respectively—and both companies account for more than 80% of all. employees in the study. There was a sharp decline in the number of MBAs hired after that; Apple only employed 122 MBAs from 25 schools over three years and Facebook employed 107 graduates. If you want to work at Netflix, your best bet is to get into Harvard Business School—seven of the 18 MBAs working at Netflix are alumni from the 2018 to 2020 batch.
Aim for Amazon
Amazon is a perennial member of Luck ranking of the World’s Most Admired Companies and was recently named the No. 1 place Americans want to work by LinkedIn. It is also popular among business school alumni, as the largest employer of MBA graduates among the five FAANG companies, with 765 employees from 25 schools cumulatively over a 3-year period. And the University of Michigan Ross School of Business topped the list for the MBA-to-Amazon pathway, led by a large number of employees, followed by Chicago Booth and Northwestern Kellogg, then Duke Fuqua and Wharton.
It’s no secret that Ross has long led the group as a feeder school for the Amazons; it employs 76 MBAs in total from the 2018 and 2020 cohorts. Ross graduate Peter Faricy, who spent nearly a decade as vice president of Amazon Marketplace, is credited with championing his alma mater at Amazon. Faricy left Amazon in 2018 and is now CEO of SunPower Corp. However, he clearly planted the seeds for an ongoing interest in the school and he maintains a relationship with Ross, serving in his ninth year on the Dean’s Advisory Board, where he is currently vice president.
Strikingly absent from Amazon’s top 10 feeders are Harvard and Stanford, ranking 11th and 21st in the full cohort of 25 schools, respectively. Why? “Top schools send most of their classes to other types of companies,” notes David White, founding partner of Menlo Coaching. For example, Harvard and Stanford graduates go on to private equity and venture capital roles, while Columbia is renowned as a feeder school for the investment banking and asset management industries.
As such, it seems likely that Amazon candidates should consider getting into one of the three midwestern schools to increase their chances of securing a position at Amazon. White points out that Kellogg, Ross, and Booth are particularly noted for their program’s emphasis on product marketing, merchandising, and operations. Indeed, sifting through all 765 MBA alumni at Amazon, 34% listed their degree as “senior product manager.”
Finally, program size matters, White observes. For example, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business graduated an average of 286 students over a 3-year period, less than a third of the graduating class of Harvard’s 931-member average during that time. “Schools with smaller populations (like Tuck) will never come out on top when considering the absolute number of students placed.”
Getting to Google
Google employs 387 MBAs from a list of 25 schools, slightly more than half the number taken by Amazon, but is still the second largest employer among FAANG companies. Wharton, Harvard, and Stanford emerged among the top five suppliers of MBA talent, ranking first, second and fifth, respectively. MIT Sloan and Chicago Booth round out the third and fourth places on the list.
Apple and Facebook crashed
There was a sharp decline in the number of MBAs hired at Apple, although Northwestern Kellogg accounted for the largest share of the 122 positions, followed by Duke Fuqua, Columbia tied to the Yale School of Management, and then Stanford and Harvard.
Two special notes: Four of Kellogg’s 19 graduates earn a master of science degree in design innovation in addition to their MBA, making them particularly attractive to design-focused companies like Apple. And it’s likely that Fuqua has the home advantage at Apple thanks to the two Blue Devils at the top of Apple’s hierarchy: CEO Tim Cook and Jeff Williams, who is chief operating officer.
To Facebook, Harvard and Stanford each sent 10 graduates over a 3-year period, the most of all programs on the list, followed by NYU Stern with nine; and Wharton, Booth and UCLA Anderson eight each. The total number of positions in the 25 schools is only 107.
It’s important to note that tech jobs come in all shapes and sizes above and beyond what’s available at FAANG companies-–from small start-ups to companies of significant size and stature. Consulting and finance firms also offer opportunities for technology-focused positions. Graduates can enter the innovation and technology divisions of consulting firms, while venture capital and private equity firms also hire technology-focused graduates.
“Don’t forget that FAANG is only one segment of the post-MBA job market,” White notes. “The tech entrepreneur’s long tail includes many other interesting companies, such as Uber, Salesforce, LinkedIn, TikTok, Stripe, Twitter, Lyft, Coinbase and many others.”
See how the school you’re considering ranks in Fortune’s ranking for the best business analytics programs, data science programs, and part-time, executive, full-time, and online MBA programs.