Among corporate recruiters taking part in a 2023 survey, 91% reported that they had hired MBA graduates over the previous year. The list of top MBA employers includes big tech firms, leading consumer goods companies, consulting behemoths, and financial sector heavyweights.
So, with an abundance of jobs available after graduation, as we look ahead to 2024, what are the industries that provide the most opportunities for MBA grads?
Each year, Bloomberg Businessweek compiles a ranking of the best MBA programs across the globe while also recording where grads of these business schools go to work.
So, if you’re wondering what you can do with an MBA degree in the year ahead, here are the 10 top industries where top b-school grads went to work in 2023.
MBA Careers: 10 Top Industries For 2024
10. Media and Entertainment
While it’s the least popular industry on this list, media and entertainment attracts graduates from many of Bloomberg’s top business schools. In 2023, a total of 61 schools helped their students launch careers in the sector, with the overall number of MBA hires within the industry standing at 220.
Among the top feeder schools for the media and entertainment industries are the likes of Harvard Business School, which saw 14 grads secure roles; USC Marshall School of Business, where 16 grads entered the industry; and UCLA Anderson School of Management, where 23 MBAs took up media and entertainment roles.
If you’re wondering what you can do with an MBA in 2024, the energy sector is well worth your consideration. As the shift towards a green economy ramps up, companies within the energy sector increasingly need the kind of expertise that an MBA provides.
That explains why 65 business schools within the Bloomberg list saw grads land roles in energy. In total, there were 231 MBAs who entered the sector in 2023.
With more schools acting as feeders for the industry, hiring was more evenly spread than in media and entertainment. The top three energy target schools were University of North Carolina’s Kenan Flagler Business School, with 12 hires; and Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business and Harvard with 13 each.
Retail—including areas such as e-commerce, digital marketing, and consumer analytics—is increasingly an area where MBA expertise is sought after. In 2023, a total of 256 top MBA grads went into the sector, they came from 68 different schools. So, if you’re considering a number of MBA careers in 2024, it’s worth adding retail to the list.
Among the largest suppliers of top MBA talent to the retail industry were University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where 15 grads took up roles; Yale School of Management, where the figure was 17; and Barcelona-based IESE Business School which led the way with 29 hires.
7. Real Estate
Another industry that attracted MBA grads in 2023 was real estate. A significant number of top graduates—301—landed roles in the sector. Of the 65 schools that provided a launchpad into the industry, it was Kenan Flagler that stood out with nearly 15% of the class taking up real estate jobs.
In total, 43 Kenan-Flagler grads landed roles, higher than second-placed Columbia Business School, with 26; and Wharton with 14.
Manufacturing is a significantly popular industry offering opportunities in areas such as product management, supply chain and logistics management, and marketing. Among top schools in 2023, there were 87 that helped grads launch careers in the sector, significantly more than previous entries in this list such as real estate and retail.
In total, 433 grads took up manufacturing roles, the majority of which were from Spain’s IE Business School, which had 31 students land roles in the industry after graduation. Other top feeder schools were INSEAD, where 23 grads took up manufacturing jobs; and MIT Sloan School of Management, with 16.
5. Consumer Products
Raising the bar with 603 top MBA graduates entering the sector—an increase of almost 200 when compared with manufacturing—is consumer goods. This has long been a top industry for b-school grads with the likes of Pepsico and AbInBev ranking among the best companies to work for in the sector.
Among the 89 schools that saw students enter the industry after graduation, Northwestern University’s Kellog School of Management was the most prolific, with 44 Kellogg grads recruited into the industry. Other top feeder institutions were Indian School of Business—a top-ranked MBA college in India—where 38 grads took up roles, and UCLA Anderson where the figure was 23.
One industry that’s steadily grown more prominent over recent years—largely influenced by the Covid pandemic—is healthcare. In 2023 it was the fourth most popular sector for MBA grads at the world’s top schools. They typically find roles with industry leading firms such as Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, and Novo Nordisk.
If you’re wondering what you can do with an MBA in 2024, healthcare could offer a chance to work in a challenging and personally rewarding sector. There were 101 schools that saw their graduates enter the sector in 2023, with 788 students choosing to bring their newfound skills and expertise into the industry.
Among the top schools for healthcare were IESE, with 29 grads; Wharton, where the number amounted to 34; and Duke University Fuqua School of Business, which led the way with 38.
MBA Careers: The Top 3 Industries
There are few surprises among the top three sectors for MBA graduates in 2023. The ‘big three’ industries have long dominated MBA hiring, and if you’re asking what you can do with an MBA in 2024, launching a career in one of these sectors is definitely on the cards.
Despite it being a tumultuous year within the industry as layoffs swept many top firms, tech companies maintained their position as top employers of MBA graduates. The likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Apple all hire a wealth of students each year.
In total, there were 2,832 MBA students who were recruited from business school campuses into tech company jobs in 2023. That hiring spree was spread across 104 top schools.
The most prolific tech feeder school was Indian School of Business, by some distance: 295 students at the school took up tech roles after graduation. Second-placed INSEAD helped almost 100 fewer grads land roles, with 197 in total. The third most popular feeder school for the tech sector was London Business School, a highly prestigious institution based in the UK.
Finance was marginally more popular than the tech sector among MBA grads in 2023, with financial firms hiring around 200 more students, amounting to a total of 3,064.
Many of the world’s top banks hire MBAs each year, grads often find roles with the likes of Evercore, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan.
A total of 106 top schools placed their students within the financial sector in 2023. Within the US, there are a select few top business schools that are renowned for their connections to the industry and their strong offering when it comes to financial teaching. It’s no surprise, then, that the top four schools placed more than 850 grads combined.
Columbia Business School was the most prolific finance sector feeder school, with 256 hires. It was followed by Wharton, with 235; University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with 189; and Harvard, with 182. Outside of these top US schools only LBS saw more than 100 grads enter finance.
Unsurprisingly, the top industry for MBA graduates in 2023 was consulting. The industry has a reputation for hugely competitive starting salaries, strong training and progression opportunities, and the chance to work on projects that marry well with the holistic MBA skill set.
The Big Three consulting firms—McKinsey, Bain, and BCG hire vast swaths of business school students each year. There are also opportunities with other prestigious names such as Accenture, EY Parthenon, Kearney, and Oliver Wyman.
Entering the consulting sector after an MBA is therefore a tried and tested path, which is why 4,152 grads did just that in 2023—over 1000 more than any other industry.
Those consulting hires were spread across 107 top global schools, with the top three located across Asia, Europe, and the US. With 384 MBA grads taking up consulting roles, INSEAD was the leading consulting feeder school in 2023. Indian School of Business was the second most prolific institution, providing 349 consultancy hires; while Chicago Booth saw 191 grads enter the industry.
If you're interested in finding out how you can launch a career in finance, including free advice from b-school careers experts, download our BusinessBecause Careers Guide: What's Next After Business School
All hiring data is sourced from Bloomberg.