BY Sydney LakeMay 17, 2022, 1:15 PM
The Apple Store at the IFC mall in Hong Kong, as seen in May 2022. (Photo by Marc Fernandes—NurPhoto/Getty Images)
The tech sector scoops up top MBA grads at nearly the same rate as consulting firms and financial services companies, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council. In fact, top business schools like Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and University of Washington (Foster) see more than one-third of their MBA students land jobs in the tech sector post-graduation.
These MBA grads aren’t getting hired by just any tech company—they’re being poached by Apple and Google, which both rank within the top 10 companies on the Fortune 500. Reports show that only about 2% of applicants to Apple and roughly 1% of Google hopefuls are hired.
“When it comes to tech recruitment, today’s market leaders in tech—including Apple and Google—have designed grueling recruitment processes to filter out the best of the breed,” Sameer Kamat, author of Beyond the MBA Hype and founder of MBA Crystal Ball, tells Fortune. “In fact, the selectivity rates at these firms could rival and surpass the top universities.”
Between 2018 and 2020, there were 426 MBA graduates who were hired by Google and 139 who got jobs at Apple, according to data collected by Menlo Coaching, an MBA consulting firm. Menlo Coaching looked at more than 50,000 MBA student profiles from public sources including graduation announcements as well as Facebook and LinkedIn posts.
While many graduates of the top 20 schools on Fortune’s ranking of the best full-time MBA programs are hired by Apple and Google, a few programs see these two companies hiring their MBAs in droves. Menlo Coaching data shows that Northwestern University (Kellogg) leads MBA hires at Apple, while University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) saw the most Google hires.
Aside from those two schools, there are still plenty of programs that will set you up to potentially get hired by Apple or Google. Using a mix of data from Menlo Coaching and direct reports from schools, Fortune has compiled a list of a few other schools to look at if you’re aiming for a job at Apple or Google.
University of California–Berkeley (Haas)
Situated near Silicon Valley, it’s no surprise that University of California–Berkeley (Haas) is a strong feeder school for Google. Between 2018 and 2020, Menlo Coaching reports Google hired 25 Haas MBA students—and according to the school, an additional 13 grads were hired in 2021.
“Our students do well at tech companies because of our strong general management education,” Abby Scott, Haas’ assistant dean for MBA career management and corporate partnerships, tells Fortune. “The analytical rigor of our program serves them well in environments where they will be called upon to lead cross-functional, global teams and to make decisions based on data.”
The school also offers a number of elective courses focused on tech as part of its MBA program and sees its graduates take on a variety of roles at tech companies.
“Many might assume that MBA grads only get into tech-oriented roles such as product management in tech companies such as Google and Apple,” Kamat says. “Leading tech companies recruit MBA grads for the entire gamut of internal- and external-facing roles such as marketing, strategy, accounting, finance, recruitment, operations, and partnerships.”
Columbia Business School
In 2021, just under 20% of Columbia Business School MBA students accepted jobs in tech after graduation, earning median starting salaries (including bonuses) of about $150,000, according to the school’s employment report.
This New York City school is one of the top feeders for jobs at both Apple and Google, Menlo Coaching data shows. Several graduates went into product development and strategy, while others pursued supply chain and business growth jobs. Columbia Business School dean Costis Maglaras has played a major role in the program’s focus on developing technologies, which has reaped results in the school’s employment reports.
“You and I live in a data- and technology-rich world,” Maglaras told Fortune in a recent interview. “This has fundamentally changed both businesses and the types of jobs that our students are taking. Business education has evolved to both embrace that and to better prepare students for this digital future.”
Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper) prides itself on offering a data- and technology-focused MBA program in several formats, including in-person, online, and hybrid options.
“In order to solve the business challenges that lie ahead, you’ll need to be able to forecast, predict, and model solutions in the face of uncertainty,” according to Tepper’s curriculum information page. “You’ll need to develop your advanced analytics skills to stand out in today’s marketplace.”
The school has sent graduates on to work at top tech companies including Microsoft—but also sees grads go on to roles at Google and Apple, as well.
“Companies continually recruit talent from [Tepper] because they know our students are proficient with world class technologies and analytical tools,” Stephen Rakas, Tepper’s executive director of the masters career center, tells Fortune. “Our MBA students are also known to be ambitious yet collaborative—ready to dig in and solve complex problems.”
How Harvard, Stanford, Wharton fare
Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and Wharton are all top producers of MBA talent hired by Google. HBS was the runner-up for most hires at Google behind Wharton—and Stanford wasn’t too far behind, according to Menlo Coaching data. Each school sees roughly 20% to 30% of its MBA graduates go into the tech sector.
“Google and Apple recruit most heavily at the MBA programs that have a high percentage of tech graduates,” Talon Rindels, a consultant with MBA Exchange, tells Fortune. “The largest schools that fit this criteria are Kellogg, HBS, Stanford, and Wharton.”
Wharton reported base salaries for tech grads of $141,000, but data from other top business school programs suggests these students are likely earning closer to $200,000 with bonuses. Tech salaries are about 20% to 25% higher for MBA grads as opposed to undergrad hires, Keith Feinberg, a director of permanent placement services with Robert Half, previously told Fortune.
While there were still Apple hires from these three schools, they were beat out by other programs including Duke University (Fuqua), University of Texas–Austin (McCombs) Columbia, and Kellogg.
See how the schools you’re considering landed in Fortune’s rankings of the best master’s in public health programs, business analytics programs, data science programs, and part-time, executive, full-time, and online MBA programs.