December 22, 2022 • By The UCI Paul Merage School of Business
Through collaborative efforts between the Merage School Career Center, students and faculty, 91% of job seeking full-time MBA students were employed just three months after graduation, according to the 2022 FTMBA Employment Report.
Many of the students ended up at prominent companies like Amazon, SAP, Lowe’s, Edwards, Mattel, Hyundai, Intel, Adobe, Johnson & Johnson, and PepsiCo, among others. All 2022 students who were actively seeking post-graduate employment were employed four months after graduation and all of the 2023 job seeking students in the MBA program landed paid internships over the summer.
Furthermore, there was a 12% increase in average base salary ($122,899) and a 32% increase in the average signing bonus ($31,917) of students. These impressive numbers are particularly notable because MBA programs around the country have been struggling over the past several years due to the pandemic’s impact on enrollment and other areas.
Additionally, the 2021 employment report on the Fully Employed MBA program showed strong career mobility, with one third of students completing a career change within the first year of the program. Also, 45% changed companies and 59% received promotions during the program.
In addition to the strong curriculum, the FTMBA and FEMBA programs’ success is heavily supported by the Merage School’s Career Center advisory and employer relations activities. The center has made a number of enhancements over the last few years that helped contribute to this year’s FTMBA achievement.
“I think this data exemplifies what our students are learning in the classroom in order to be leaders within their respective industries,” said Cynthia Rude, Executive Director of the Merage School Career Center. “Then we couple that with a high-touch approach through our career advisory services, recruiting events and employer/alumni networking to help students create competitive advantage at hire. These results validate the intersection of strong students, high-performance curriculum, and value-added supporting services.”
Rude said they started working with the program office who provided students with scholarships to take part in fall diversity conferences, which are attended by leading company recruiters. This enables students to make early connections with prospective employers within their interest areas.
Rude said the center has also tested new services like partnering with sister UC schools on collaborative recruiting events to support employers who want to meet with MBA students from multiple schools or need to generate a larger student audience.
“With a smaller FTMBA cohort, we don’t always have the yield an employer is looking for to carve out dedicated time to the Merage School,” Rude said. “We had to look at different ways in which we could get our highly-competitive students prepared and in front of key employers earlier in the recruiting cycle. Our collaboration with the program office and other UC schools are great examples of our tenacity and creativity.”
Rude said that the Career Center has advisors who work closely with students to help them accomplish their career goals. It’s important for students to receive this crucial guidance and support because 40% to 50% of students identify job opportunities on their own during any given year, she said.
“We enhanced what we were doing to meet the needs of the recruiting season, get our students prepared and then worked really collaboratively with the program office to make sure that we were helping them find additional opportunities within their own personalized job search,” Rude said.
Searching for jobs is usually a fairly daunting task, so the work of the Career Center has been invaluable to people like Sophia Fischer, who recently graduated from the MBA program and is now working as a marketing manager in the Leadership Development Program at Johnson & Johnson. Fischer, who received a 2022 “Best and Brightest” nomination by Poets and Quants, said that the diversity conferences played an important role in her landing a job right out of school.
“There's employers that come from all over the country to interview MBA students for internships,” Fischer said. “So it's a really great, very early opportunity to get in front of these employers that are looking for summer interns.”
Fischer landed the job after an internship at the company. She received one-on-one coaching from the Career Center to help with her interview. After getting the internship, Fischer also had a mentor for guidance. When she received an offer for a full-time job, she was able to speak with her career advisor to ensure that the negotiations went well and she accepted the best offer.
“The Career Center giving you that personalized attention, and that time before you go in and face these companies as an MBA candidate, is really helpful,” Fischer said.
As the Career Center looks to the future, it will continue to be guided by creativity and innovation. Rude said that a major tenet of the center is to lead with a “growth mindset.”
“We will continue to evolve and look at how we help our students identify and fill gaps that they need around future of work skill sets,” she said. “We understand what businesses require today and our goal is to be the conduit for all Merage School students as they design their career journeys with us.”
To apply for the Merage School FTMBA program, visit https://merage.uci.edu/programs/mba/full-time-mba/admissions.html.
To apply for the FEMBA program, visit https://merage.uci.edu/programs/mba/fully-employed-mba/admissions.html.