Schools That Help Get The Job You Really Want

Getting the job you really want–not merely a job

Parents often encourage their high school children to major in business for one very important reason. Undergraduate tuition has soared and is quite expensive, often requiring students and parents to go into debt to finance a higher education. So parents want to make sure their children major in a subject that will allow them to more easily land a job soon after graduation.

There’s no doubt that employability is the reason why more undergrads major in business than any other subject. At least at the leading schools, the stats show convincingly that an undergraduate degree pays off. But do graduates get the jobs they really want in their desired industries and target companies? For the first time ever, we asked alumni of the top schools if their education enabled them to get the job of their choosing in an industry and finally a specific company that they had targeted for employment. In other words, whose schools graduates didn’t have to settle for just a job–but the job they really wanted.

The industry test was easier to meet. A majority of alumni at every single school surveyed by Poets&Quants landed jobs in their chosen industry. In fact, 90% or more of the alumni at 27 business schools were able to help their graduates find employment in their target industry. Another 29 schools narrowly missed that mark but was able to achieve an impressive 85% or above mark.


And when it came to the top five schools that allowed graduates to get into whatever industry they wanted, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School topped the list, with a perfect 100% score. Every single Wharton alum surveyed by Poets&Quants said he or she was able to get a job in the industry targeted for employment. Wharton was closely followed by UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business (97.8%), the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce (96.9%), Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business (96.6%), and Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business (96.3%).

The top three, of course, are among the biggest brands in business education. Northeastern’s fourth-place finish on this metric is yet another testament to the investment the school has made in the most successful coop program in higher education. At Northeastern, undergraduate students alternate semesters of academic study with semesters of full-time employment in positions related to a student’s career interests. Students start with a required co-op course before the first co-op experience that typically begins in the second semester of a student’s sophomore year. Students can complete up to two co-ops in the course of a four-year program, experiences that pretty much insure that all graduates enter their chosen industry.

The success of Santa Clara’s Leavey School is, no doubt, a function of its location in the heart of Silicon Valley. The Jesuit school’s graduates are not only the beneficiary of being located in the hottest and fastest growing economy in the U.S. They also are in the best possible place to leverage a strong alumni network that has placed many graduates in key positions throughout the Bay Area, helping students land in their desired industries.


The ultimate test of a business school for many students, however, may well be something that meets an even higher standard: Leveraging your educational experience to land a job in a specific company you really want to work for. Most of the leading business schools have an excellent track record of helping their graduates achieve this more challenging goal. No school, for example, achieved a success rate above 90%. But several came awfully close to that impressive mark.

The top five? The business schools at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (87.4%), Santa Clara University (86.8%), the University of Virginia (86.7%), Ithaca College (85.3%), and the University of Minnesota (84.2%). Schools that have done well in helping their graduates gain a job at a specific company boast career management centers that do an extraordinary job of coaching and mentoring their students and developing relationships with companies that help them funnel graduates into jobs.

Less than a majority of alumni at only five of the leading schools said they weren’t able to get a job in their targeted company, but even these schools had fairly high rates of success on this more difficult metric. Hult International Business School was at the bottom, with 35.7% of alums saying they were able to get the job at the company they really wanted to work for. Alumni at UC-Irvine Merage School of Business (41.2%), Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Foisie Business School (42.9%), and Sacred Heart University’s Jack Welch College of Business (48.2%) also fell below the 50% mark.

(See following pages for how the school fared on helping graduates gain jobs in their targeted industry and company)

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.