Is HBS becoming a tech feeder school? I hope so.

Friday Feb 15, 2013 by Alex Taussig - Principal, Highland Capital Partners

I graduated from Harvard Business School in the nuclear winter of job seeking: spring of 2009. I remember quite a few of my classmates thinking they were going to “career transition” into private equity out of consulting or I-Banking being sorely disappointed. We hit a record low for job acceptance, and many of those who accepted were returning to prior employers. Interestingly, a large number of great startups (Rent The Runway, thredUP, VigLink, Cloudflare, etc.) came out of my class, perhaps a slight consequence of the dim traditional job prospects.

I usually follow HBS MBA job stats as something of a curiosity to see how much things have improved since I was there. The school recently released the most recent data for the Classes of 2012 and 2013, and what it shows is a surprising shift towards supplying labor into the tech market:

  • More engineers: 36% of undergrad degrees hold by the Class of 2013 were STEM vs. 33% in 2012.
  • More job seekers: 88% of grads were looking for jobs in 2013 vs. 74% in 2012. 
  • More technology seekers: 19% of 2013 summer internships in technology vs. 12% of 2012 full-time jobs.
  • More Silicon Valley: 15% of 2013 summer internships in Bay Area vs. 12% of 2012 full-time jobs.

Overall, 6% of the Classes of 2012 and 2013 accepted full- or part-time jobs at startups last year. That’s slightly down over the prior year’s statistic of 7%. So while HBS seems to be gaining a tech focus, startups remain roughly flat as a percentage. 

To me, these are good signs. Often the best role out of an MBA isn’t to join something small, but to join something a bit larger with some structure in place. I suspect that’s what is going on, but if you tracked these cohorts of students for 5-7 years, I bet you’d find a high percentage of them in startups. Happy to see HBS growing its influence here.

Alex Taussig is a Principal with Highland Capital Partners.  You can find this blog post, as well as additional content on his blog located here.  You can also follow Alex on Twitter (@ataussig) by clicking here

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