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Full-time MBA Class of 2020 hits $100,000 salary benchmark

This year, the average salary of recent full-time NC State MBA graduates reached $103,500, compared to a average of $95,000 in the southern region of the U.S.

In an environment of economic uncertainty, employers continue to place a high premium on the skills that Jenkins MBA graduates bring to the table. This year, the average salary of recent full-time MBA graduates reached $103,500, compared to a average of $95,000 in the southern region of the U.S.

“The $100,000 mark is an important milestone,” says Steve Allen, the interim associate dean of academic programs at the Poole College of Management. “It’s a ringing endorsement by employers of the quality of the students we attract and how they grow and develop throughout our program. It also tells prospective students that the Jenkins MBA is an incredibly attractive value proposition.”

Allen credits Bev Porter, the director of MBA career services at the Poole College of Management Career Center, with laying a strong foundation for growth. “Five to seven years ago, the average average salary for our MBA full-time students was closer to $80,000,” he remembers. “Especially compared to other MBA programs, we’ve made enormous progress since Bev came on board. She and her team have done a superb job in coaching students, equipping them with the resources they need, and helping them identify opportunities that they may not have discovered on their own.” 

The Poole College of Management Career Center offers an interactive career portal with a wealth of virtual resources for students to access, from industry-specific hiring tips to networking opportunities. In addition to the growing support that Bev Porter and her team offer students, Porter attributes the increase in the average MBA salary to several key factors. First, she points to the tenacity of the students themselves as they navigate a complex hiring landscape. “In the time of COVID, our students are keenly aware of how critical it is to have a strategic plan and be proactive about networking and leveraging our career resources,” she says. “These students are roll-up-the-sleeves, get-it-done kind of people. They don’t show up with unreasonable expectations of significance and immediate growth. They’re more focused on solutions than prestige.”   

Porter also points to the ways in which the Jenkins MBA program itself prepares students to meet market demand. “Our students speak technology like a mother tongue, which is particularly beneficial in a world that has gone virtual,” she says. “The Jenkins MBA program helps students augment their technical skills with management prowess so that they are prepared to bridge the gap between the business and technical spheres within an organization. Our students have the right combination of skills to add value throughout the decision-making process, and employers across industries are responding.” 

Though many companies face budget restrictions this year, the volume of employers who have participated in recruiting events with the Poole College of Management has held steady. “We have managed to mitigate risk by diversifying,” explains Porter. “Our students go into technology, manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, consulting, nonprofits and a variety of other industries.” Within these industries, the past five years have seen an increase in the number of large employers, especially tech giants, who have a hiring presence on campus. “As companies like Apple enter the mix, longtime partners like IBM are hiring Jenkins MBA graduates for higher-level positions than in the past,” says Porter. “As we find more opportunities to put our students in front of employers, employers take notice.”   

Ultimately, Allen and Porter would like to see the average MBA salary continue to rise in recognition of the merits of their students. “We need to aim for high starting salaries not only to become a more competitive program, but also to ensure that our students are compensated for their considerable talents and training,” affirms Allen. “They have earned it.”

For more data on hiring outcomes for full-time MBA students, visit https://careers.mba.ncsu.edu/outcomes/.

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