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More Business School Grads Are Choosing Venture Capital, Stats Show

Harvard Business School.
Harvard Business School. By Soumyaa Mazumder
By Luke W. Xu, Crimson Staff Writer

A higher proportion of Harvard Business School graduates are going into venture capital and private equity than in years past, according to career statistics the Business School released for its MBA class of 2017 last week.

The data shows that graduates entered professions in more than 48 industries. Financial services and consulting continue to be the most popular, comprising 31 percent and 23 percent of graduates, respectively. While the share of students going into financial services has remained relatively constant, the overall proportion of students going into venture capital and private equity in particular has increased from 10 percent in 2013 to 18 percent in 2017.

In a blog post accompanying the data, Managing Director of MBA Career and Professional Development Kristen Fitzpatrick wrote the numbers likely indicate an increased interest in leadership among graduates.

“We also saw a jump in students accepting positions in leadership development programs and general management, with 13% of the class going in that direction after graduation,” she wrote.

Several professions, however, saw small decreases. Consulting saw a two percent decrease. Technology, the third largest industry represented, also saw a decrease, from 19 percent in 2016 to 16 percent in 2017.

The report also provided demographic data about the class of 2017. Of that class of 937 students, 389 students were women and 260 were ethnic minorities. As undergraduates, 45 percent of them majored in economics or business-related fields, while 36 percent majored in STEM and 19 percent in the humanities and social sciences.

Ninety-five percent of the graduates received a job offer upon graduating, and 89 percent accepted those offers. For those who accepted, the median base salary was $135,000, which does not include signing bonuses or compensation.

“Our students continue to focus on opportunities where they can make an immediate impact, whether at a large multinational or an early stage startup,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

In recent years, the Business School has emphasized encouraging students to start their own companies. Last year, the Business School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship launched a Startup Studio in New York City, an incubator designed to connect startups with business school alumni.

Sixty-four of the 2017 graduates founded or co-founded a business, the same number as the previous year.

—Staff writer Luke W. Xu can be reached at

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