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  McKinsey, meet Google, the new runner-up in the race for the most desirable place to work for MBA students.
Consulting-Times E-zine

Management Consulting still a top careers choice among MBA students

McKinsey remains the most popular place to work for MBA students in the 2006 Universum Survey MBA Edition, but the upstart web-wizard Google shot op the ranking from 129th to 2nd place this year. Google is now a serious threat to McKinsey’s 12-year reign as the most desirable employer among MBA students. Goldman Sachs is a very close third – only 0.01 percent behind Google.

General Electric and Johnson & Johnson – two consumer brand household names – retain their top 10 positions, landing on 8th and 9th respectively. Other, more traditional MBA employers round out the Top 10: Bain & Co. (4), The Boston Consulting Group (5), Citigroup (6) and Morgan Stanley (10).

Some 5,000 MBA students at 43 top programs participated in the MBA Edition of the Universum Survey, making it the largest survey of its kind. In it, students answer questions about their career expectations such as top industries, career goals, communication preferences, salary expectations and ideal employers.

Google’s ascent to the upper echelons of MBA admiration represents a renaissance of dot-com like employers among MBA students. Apple (7) and joins Google in the top 10 while Yahoo! moves up to 26.These companies offer the stability and longevity that the old dot-com companies could not. Further, MBA career movers view them as viable alternatives to traditional careers in corporate America.

Clearly, MBAs have learned the lesson of the dot-com bust. They now base their career decisions on strength, stability and endurance.

Key findings of the survey include:

New Top Industry: Management consulting grabbed first place again after spending one year as the runner-up. Financial Services dropped to second place.

Moving West: The West Coast is regaining its position as a business hub. Nike (12) and Walt Disney (14) break into the Top 15 for the first time while Starbucks (22), Microsoft (16), Harrah’s Entertainment (40) and Intel (25) are among West Coast companies that moved up on the ranking this year.

Men want family: For the first time, work-life balance is the top career goals among male MBAs (48%). Moving up from fourth place, it passed build sound financial base (37%), influence corporate strategies (31%) and reach managerial level (27%).

More than work: Overall, work-life balance is strengthening its grip on the top spot for career goals, some 50% of the respondents chose it as a major career goal followed by build a sound financial base (37%) and influence corporate strategies (28%). This global trend is picking up speed again as the economy is getting better and students enjoy more job security.

New Goals: Students were for the first time asked to rank “manage projects”, “contribute to society” and “become a specialist” as career goals. “Manage projects” and “contribute to society” were the most important goals of the new alternatives, finishing 7th and 8th – ahead of more traditional goals such as “start a business” and “develop new products”.

More Money: MBAs want $88,000 in annual salary at their first job after graduation – a $6,000 jump compared to last year. Expected annual salary five years after graduation rose to $167,000 – a $10,000 increase from last year.

Money-Makers: Venture Capital is back in the top spot as the industry with the highest salary expectations ($103,200). Investment management finished 2nd ($98,100) followed by management consulting ($97,600).

Focus on Health: Health insurance is the second most important factor when students decide to accept or reject an offer from employers. Only annual base salary is more important.

IDEAL Image: Industry leadership, attractive location and financial strength are the three most important characteristics that MBA students associate with their top employer. Innovation is more important to men, while women value a strong corporate culture more.

IDEAL Offers: Competitive compensation is by far the most attractive offer an employer can make. Women however, value flexible working conditions more than men while men value long-term compensation potential more.
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