The 24 Companies (And 1 Agency) That U.S. B-School Students Most Want To Work For

Around 14% of business students chose JPMorgan Chase as one of their ideal employers, according to a new survey by employer branding agency Universum. iStock photo

Google is the most-desired employer among business school students in the United States for the umpteenth time in an annual survey. Why? Any number of reasons: big salaries, great working environment, even better benefits, and unreal support and resources.

That is, when you’re not being laid off in droves.

The employer branding agency Universum released its 2023 list of U.S. B-school stidents’ preferred employers today (July 18), showing Google atop a ranking of 100 companies and organizations that MBAs and other B-school students want to work for, with about 15% of respondents choosing the tech giant as their top career destination. Despite an ongoing downturn in the industry, tech companies dominate the upper tier of the ranking, with five of the top 10 companies.

The other major industry that B-school grads desire should come as no surprise, even though it, too, has seen challenges in the current economy: Consulting firms account for eight of the top 25 companies, with JPMorgan Chase leading all consultancies at No. 2 overall by garnering 14% of top votes.

Source: Universum

GOOGLE: A LONG-TIME TOP DESTINATION

For its Most Attractive Employers In The United States report, Universum ranks a company based on the share of B-school students who chose that employer as one of their ideal places to work. After Google, JPMorgan Chase, Apple, and Goldman Sachs comprised the top 5; in 2022, B-schoolers’ top five were (in order) Google, Apple, JPMorgan Chase, Walt Disney Company, and Goldman Sachs.

Google, founded in 1998, is by far the top name in internet search. The San Francisco Bay Area-based company is currently valued at about $1.5 billion and has 190,000 employees worldwide. But Google has not been immune to the market forces that have battered the tech industry since 2021. According to TrueUp, a website the monitors layoffs in the industry, so far in 2023 there have been 1,262 layoffs at tech companies, with 320,030 employees impacted; in January, Google joined the sad club of tech companies shedding jobs when it laid off 12,000 workers.

Still, Google has remained a stalwart presence on Universum’s U.S. list, sitting at or near the top of B-school students’ top employers going back at least to 2012. But it is not, ahem, universally beloved: In Universum’s worldwide survey, Apple takes the crown as top destination for MBAs globally.

THE ONE ORGANIZATION IN THE TOP 25: THE FBI

Google’s — and other tech companies’ — strength in the Universum survey is more remarkable when you consider that it was conducted from September 2022 to March 2023, a period when TrueUp estimates nearly 340,000 jobs were lost across the industry. Researchers surveyed more than 57,000 students from over 300 universities, asking them to “choose the five employers you most want to work for, your five Ideal Employers.” Students could be from any college-grade level, not just those looking for jobs.

Among the notable results:

  • Apple slipped from No. 2 last year to No. 3 in 2023, with about 14% of B-school students calling the tech company one of their top places to work. Last year about 16% of students chose it as an ideal employer.
  • One non-company made the top 25 of the ranking: the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which landed 18th, after Ernst and Young and before Delta Air Lines.
  • The Coca-Cola Company moved up the most among the top 20, climbing 12 spots to No. 20. Other big jumps: BlackRock from 41st to 23rd; Fidelity Investments from 39th to 22nd; and Patagonia from 20th to 14th.

Source: Universum

IN BUSINESS & OTHER SECTORS, WOMEN EXPECT TO EARN SIGNIFICANTLY LESS

Universum did not confine its survey to B-school students. Among Engineering students, the top employers were (in order) Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, Boeing, NASA, and Tesla; among Computer Science students, they were Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Netflix. Natural Sciences students chose the Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, Environmental Protection Agency, and Doctors Without Borders; and Humanities/Liberal Arts/Education students chose Walt Disney, U.S. Department of Education, Netflix, Spotify, and the FBI.

Across all industries, students most expressed a desire for “higher earnings,” a change from the past two years when job security was paramount; “secure employment,” “encouraging work-life balance,” “flexible working conditions,” and “inspiring purpose” rounded out the top five concerns. By gender, women chose job security first while men chose more money.

Overall across all students, the arts and entertainment sector garnered the most votes for top destination, with about 21% choosing it; second place was computer software and technology at 20%. Women preferred the former (26%) and men preferred the latter (30%).

Meanwhile, salary expectations were down for 2023 after a 15% increase in 2022. This year, U.S. college students’ expectations “dropped in tandem with a drop in inflation,” Universum reports, with the average annual salary expected by all students $72,211, down from $76,732 (about 6%); notably, women expected to earn 15% less than men: $68,118 compared to $80,314. Though both men and women reported lower salary expectations in 2023, men’s expectations dropped just 3%, compared to a 7% drop for women.

Computer science majors reported the highest salary expectations: $87,231. B-school majors’ expectations are considerably lower at $72,007, with men expecting $78,968 on average and women expecting $69,747 —  about 13% less.

Read Universum’s 2023 report on the Most Attractive Employers In The United States here.

And see the next page for the 25 most-desired employers of B-school students according to Universum’s 2023 survey.

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