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Darla Moore School of Business

Moore School job placement, average starting salaries best they’ve ever been

August 20, 2019

The Darla Moore School of Business is seeing huge returns on students’ investments with historic job placement rates and increases in starting salaries.

The results from the transformation of the undergraduate program three years ago and a significant restructuring of the full-time MBA programs two years ago are showing up where it counts — in employment data.

In May, 1,086 undergrads received their diplomas - the largest graduating class ever in the Moore School. Of reporting undergraduates, 84 percent - the highest in history - were employed 90 days after graduation in 2019 compared to 67 percent in 2018. Average salaries for reporting undergraduates were also the highest ever this year at $57,837. In 2014 before the new curriculum shift from two years to four years, reported undergraduate average salaries 90 days after graduation were $47,920, and reported job placement was just 62 percent.

“The highest undergraduate job placement ever along with the highest salary ever is historic,” said Georgia Doran, senior director of the Moore School Office of Career Management. “The numbers indicate the true success of the Academic Excellence Initiative, which was fully implemented in fall 2016 by [Moore School] Dean Peter Brews. The increased academic rigor, one of the four points of the initiative, has directly increased the value of our product – students – in the marketplace. We are producing more qualified students who companies are willing to pay more for. This higher placement rate also indicates not only increased excellence in the classroom, but the ability of our students to put theory into practice across industries.”

Brews’s doubling of the Office of Career Management staff and increase in the Office of Alumni Engagement personnel also contributed to the undergraduate placement success. Alumni and corporate partners are stepping up to open doors and employ the talented students graduating from the Moore School.

Data for the full-time MBA programs is as impressive. This year, 90 days after graduation, 84 percent of reporting full-time MBAs had jobs compared to 71 percent in 2018. Importantly, average MBA salaries reported increased to $95,398 in 2019 from $82,694 in 2018.

“The dean’s focus on strengthening the core MBA curriculum along with the school offering a graduate certificate in business analytics in lieu of a new degree or stand-alone analytics program has served us extremely well,” said Jennifer Ninh, managing director of the school’s full-time MBA programs. “The focus on business analytics gives all MBAs the advanced quantitative training much needed in the business world today. That will continue to bolster the USC MBA reputation long after the trend for specialized analytics degrees starts to fade.”

To make them more competitive in the job market, all graduate students are strongly encouraged to learn how to analyze data in functional domains. Ninety-five percent of full-time MBAs and many Professional MBA students in this year’s graduating class completed graduate certificates in business analytics.

For undergraduates, this is no longer a matter of choice. As a result of the 2015 curriculum redesign and the subsequent changes that were part of the Academic Excellence Initiative, all Moore School undergraduates now leave the school data proficient, analytically capable and functionally based, all essential for high-value 21st-century work. As far as administrators can tell, the Moore School is the first in the country to ensure all undergraduates depart with these skills, and the 5,400 undergraduates attending the school this year are working hard to acquire them.

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