Despite the financial challenges of the worldwide pandemic, the job marketplace for Stanford GSB graduates remained sturdy.

A student working in an outdoor study space at the GSB. Credit: Elena Zhukova
Students demonstrated resilience and resourcefulness in adapting to a abruptly modified surroundings. | Elena Zhukova

The Class of 2020 started their MBA research in September 2018 within the midst of a wholesome economic system. Everything modified as they rounded their final lap within the spring of 2020 and a lot of the world went into lockdown. Despite financial turmoil and public well being disaster, the Stanford MBA 2020 Employment Report displays sturdy outcomes, posting a sixth consecutive record-breaking 12 months for salaries.

“The most notable impact of the pandemic on our graduates’ career journeys was related to timing,” stated Paul Oyer, senior affiliate dean for tutorial affairs at Stanford Graduate School of Business. “Our students typically start interviewing later since many small and high-growth companies tend to recruit late in the academic year. For some students still in the search process, the pandemic put a temporary pause on their efforts, but in the end their perseverance and patience paid off. Some continued to land offers after the three-month reporting cut-off period.”

By 90 days after commencement, full-time job provides remained sturdy with 91% of scholars reporting no less than one provide, a slight dip from 94% in 2019. Students accepted 85% of these provides, down barely from 88% final 12 months. Average and median salaries hit a brand new excessive for the sixth consecutive 12 months, peaking at $159,544 and $156,000, a rise of $7,041 and $6,000, respectively, from final 12 months. Not included within the job-seeking pool, 18% of the category launched ventures, matching the earlier excessive of entrepreneurs among the many Class of 2013.

“The Class of 2021 felt the impact of the pandemic as summer internship interview processes suddenly braked in the early spring of 2020,” stated Jamie Schein, assistant dean and director of the Career Management Center.

Summer Opportunities

“If there was one constant this year, it was change,” stated Jonathan Levin, the Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, Stanford Graduate School of Business. “In times like these, you want to have a network of supporters who can be a safeguard against potential negative shocks. Thanks to our generous and close-knit community of alumni who provided that wonderful safety net, we sourced around 200 summer opportunities and some 100 full-time positions as well.”

Stanford GSB and alumni labored collectively to create new job alternatives by means of the Botha-Chan Summer 2020 Innovation Fellowship (made doable by MBA ’00 alumni Roelof Botha and Huifen Chan), which offered entrepreneurial choices for college students comparable to Caroline Ling, whose summer time internship within the discipline of sustainable attire was among the many many abruptly canceled.

“It was like the ladder was suddenly pulled away from the wall, and I had to climb with my bare hands,” she recalled.

Ling’s ordinary technique — shifting to a well-considered plan B — wouldn’t work this time.

“The whole world was being reshaped, and there was no business as usual, but that forced me to let go of the structured path I’d imposed on myself and made me realize I was set free and could explore,” she stated.

Through the Botha-Chan program, Ling started an impartial research mission in St. Louis targeted on waste administration and the round economic system. She has since rallied a workforce of like-minded waste fanatics, and the workforce is operating a pilot research on certainly one of their ideas — a reinvention of the milkman mannequin that delivers native drinks to the doorstep in reusable containers.

“I think 10 years from now, a lot of people will be grateful for this detour in life,” she stated. “It allowed me to take on a risk without fear, and to tune in and listen to myself. It validated for me that this is something I want to devote myself to long-term. I’m writing articles about trash recycling, doing podcasts, and creating my own website. I’m going all in.”

A Relentless Effort

“Through months of ever-shifting safety rules, health guidelines, and hiring freezes, our students demonstrated resourcefulness, resilience, and patience in finding positions where they can make a difference,” stated Schein. “Among the trends we saw in the Class of 2020: There was a rise in interest in health and wellness in light of the pandemic crisis; students either pivoted away from impacted fields like tourism and retail or found a tech route to those sectors; and because of the sudden shift to remote work, we saw the continued spread of tech into all sectors of commerce.”

Allegra Tepper discovered herself compelled to undertake a brand new strategy to her job search.

“At the start of my second year, I was thinking boldly about my next career move, and exploring ways to pitch myself to companies that might not even realize they could use someone focused on strategic storytelling,” she stated. “In March, I shifted my attitude and became very pragmatic. COVID required a relentless effort to figure out how and where you could position yourself in the market.”

Through months of ever-shifting security guidelines, well being tips, and hiring freezes, our college students demonstrated resourcefulness, resilience, and persistence to find positions the place they will make a distinction

Jamie Schein, Assistant Dean and Director, Career Management Center

After listening to that hiring managers had been feeling risk-averse, Tepper targeted her efforts on product administration roles the place her earlier expertise was instantly relevant. She restricted her search to jobs that provided the position, merchandise, collaborative workforce, and placement she desired, regardless of warnings from some that her search was too slender. After 5 months and a number of interviews, she accepted a job at Apple as a product supervisor for FaceTime.

“I ended up with exactly the job I wanted, but I had to hold very fast to the belief that I knew what to look for and that I was being realistic about what to aspire to. It was important to stay grounded in that, especially when a lot of people in my life were asking whether I might need to lower my expectations. The Career Management Center was a godsend in those moments, when I could go in and get a reality check — to ask whether my determination was my superpower or my Achilles’ heel.”

Katia Teran had deliberate to take her time in search of a job, however the uncertainty of the pandemic despatched her into movement. Like Tepper, Teran had a set of constraints: She wished a job in product administration at a software-based, tech-forward firm in New York. She was decided to seek out a terrific supervisor who may act as a mentor. Having labored as a product supervisor at two completely different corporations in New York previous to grad faculty, she had a number of contacts and an excellent sense of the tech panorama, and rapidly started networking.

“I applied to companies that were thriving despite the COVID moment or because of it, which gave me a second layer of understanding as to how a company was doing, or at least how it was navigating COVID,” she stated.

Months later — after exploring choices at greater than 10 completely different corporations — Teran accepted a place as a senior product supervisor at The Knot Worldwide, a world tech firm targeted largely on wedding ceremony planning, an business she’d by no means earlier than thought of.

“There were going to be many learning and mentorship opportunities, and that was exciting to me,” she stated. “I decided it felt like the right next move, and aligned with a lot of the things I knew I wanted for this next step to hopefully set me up for success later on in some of my larger goals and ambitions.”

Entrepreneurship on the Rise

Eighteen % of graduates opted to launch their very own ventures in 2020, a rise of three % from final 12 months, and equal to the earlier all-time excessive price of entrepreneurship among the many Class of 2013.

One such entrepreneur was Aaron Kappe, who joined three different Stanford grads in beginning Prairie Health, a subscription tele-psychiatry service that makes use of genetic testing and deep studying to offer custom-made remedy to these struggling anxiousness and despair. Kappe, who additionally has a grasp’s diploma in neurobiology, initially deliberate to work for an early-stage firm after commencement, however a 2019 internship satisfied him he may succeed together with his personal startup. In addition to benefiting from the increasing intersection of well being and expertise, the corporate was in a position to tackle 2020’s sudden enhance within the want for psychological well being companies, and benefited from an elevated willingness of advisors and traders to help pandemic-related well being ventures.

“There are a lot of new opportunities,” he stated. “The world is changing. Historically, some of the most successful companies have been founded after economic crises, which is something that’s discussed a lot at Stanford. There’s some comfort in knowing that you have a bit of a safety net, that you can always work in big tech as a Stanford GSB grad. But you can’t always begin a startup at a time that may be better suited for starting a company than any time in history.”

Startups in 2020 additionally include a singular set of challenges, he added. Kappe and his cofounders had solely two months collectively in particular person earlier than they had been compelled to start working nearly.

“There’s a loss of communication you have to make up for, while recognizing that everyone on the team is handling the pandemic differently,” he stated. “We’re making sure to be empathetic and put people before the problem; that’s something Stanford has helped me put front and center.”

International Challenges

While there seems to be a wage hole between U.S. work-authorized (residents and everlasting residents) and non-U.S. work-authorized graduates (these on scholar visas and annual work permits), compensation for worldwide college students stayed primarily flat in comparison with final 12 months.

“When controlled for international location and industry sector, the gap gets smaller,” stated Schein. “Also, non-U.S work-authorized graduates had higher bonuses than U.S. work-authorized graduates and that helped close the gap.”

As a global scholar from the U.Okay., Jack Armstrong confronted visa issues along with a job search. He landed as chief of employees at Amplity Health, an Altamont Capital Partners portfolio firm.

“I still don’t feel secure in my ability to get a visa,” Armstrong stated. “It got harder after I joined in August, as Trump changed the laws. Luckily, my company has an immigration lawyer we’re working with, and it looks like some recent rulings in the Bay Area plus the change of administration should roll back some of those requirements. But one of the deciding factors that I liked about this organization is that they have a U.K. office, providing me with a safety net that I feel very grateful for.”

“Finding a job that will sponsor you for a visa is important,” he stated. “Finding that job during a pandemic — I feel very lucky.”

The Class of 2020 didn’t compromise on the alternatives that align with their values and pursuits.

“Our graduates remained focused and determined, finding careers that allowed them to make a difference in the world around them, despite the turmoil in the economy and global health crisis,” stated Schein. “The strong outcomes in this employment report are a testament to their value in the marketplace.”