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Darla Moore School of Business

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Undergraduate job placement at a historic 90 percent

The Moore School’s class of 2021 has demonstrated its excellence, adaptability and resilience with a record-high undergraduate job placement rate.

Despite their final two years being mired by the COVID-19 pandemic, May 2021 undergraduates who responded to the job placement survey reported a remarkable 90 percent job placement rate 90 days after graduation. The equivalent 2019 rate was 84 percent, and though impacted by COVID-19, the 2020 rate was still an impressive 81 percent. Underscoring the high-quality jobs Moore School undergraduates now routinely land, the May 2021 average reported undergraduate salary was $58,251, which was only slightly lower than the record $58,872 average salary attained 90 days out in 2020.

“The continued success of Moore School graduates showcases the value-added skills they’re graduating with and taking into their first jobs,” Dean Peter Brews said. “Companies know they are hiring graduates who are data proficient, analytically capable and functionally based. Our Office of Career Management helps students obtain competitive jobs at many multinational Forbes 500 companies, and the capabilities and skills they’ve gained set our students apart, allowing them to obtain top jobs and offer immense value to their employers from day one.”

To ensure all Moore School students graduate “data proficient, analytically capable” and able to apply their data-analytics skills to their respective fields of expertise, the business core courses every undergraduate completes include two statistics courses over their freshmen and sophomore years.

“These provide undergraduates a solid quantitative foundation and equips them to clean, analyze, visualize and extrapolate data in large data sets, setting them up to find value in the massive amount of data now drowning businesses around the world,” Brews said. “Moore School graduates know how to wrest value from these ever-growing pools of data.”

The emphasis on business analytics resulted from a curriculum redesign introduced in fall 2016, and all Moore School undergraduates now begin business courses in their freshman year so they build cumulatively upon their knowledge over the years they’re completing their business core and major courses. This academic depth and breadth could not be obtained in two years studying business as juniors and seniors, the format before fall 2016.

Instilling students with a deeper understanding of business analytics was also part of the redesign. A Business Analytics Undergraduate Concentration was added in spring 2015, with seven students signing up for the inaugural cohort. In spring 2021, 730 students were registered for the concentration’s required core class. Brews said he hopes more than 1,000 students will be registered for the concentration this year.

“Completion of the Business Analytics Undergraduate Concentration really adds significantly to their knowledge base and equips students even more for the world they will face upon graduation,” he said.

The concentration requires completion of an additional core course, which teaches students how to extract, transform and analyze data to support business intelligence and decision-making. In addition, three other courses required for the concentration are linked to a student’s major with analytics in their curricula.

The 2021 Undergraduate Majors Report provides more information on the undergraduate class of 2021 employment outcomes. Details on the Moore School's nine undergraduate majors and their average starting salaries, placements, top employers, career pathways and course content are provided, among other information.

Notably, salaries for undergraduates who complete the business analytics concentration are, on average, close to $4,000 higher than for those who did not choose the concentration. May 2021 graduates who completed the concentration reported 90 days after graduation that their average salary is $60,566.

Even more remarkable are two other facts revealed in the 2021 Undergraduate Majors Report. Showing the highest internship return ever, those doing internships within their major field reported an average salary approximately $10,000 higher than those who did not. The $60,212 average salary reported by graduates with internships underscores the importance of major-related internships.

Just as important as internships is the choice of major. For the class of 2021, finance and operations and supply chain majors, two majors that are more quantitative and analytical, reported 90 days after graduation their average salaries were $61,426 and $60,713 respectively, while management, the least quantitative of majors, reported an average salary of $51,903.

“While the marketing major, at $54,033, also has one of the lower average salaries, the number may be misleading,” said Mark Ferguson, senior associate dean for academics and research.

Many marketing majors pursue sales jobs, where a large portion of their income is based on commissions; commissions and signing bonuses are not included in the average salary calculations, Ferguson added.

“The major with the highest average salary was international business, showing a stellar $62,426,” Brews said. “However, all IB majors are required to complete a second major to combine their international business studies with a functional area. The first jobs our outstanding international business graduates accept are typically in these, like in finance, operations and supply chain, accounting, economics, etcetera.  Their starting salaries are, as expected, strongly influenced by the choice of these second majors.”

While Brews encourages all students to complete the business analytics concentration, he emphasizes that students should know how to analyze data to help organizations make better business decisions even if they don’t do the concentration. He attributes only a portion of the class of 2021 undergraduate employment outcomes to the concentration.

He also emphasizes that “completing the concentration may fast be becoming crucial for those seeking high-value employment in the competitive job market today. If this is true, in time graduates will not be in the arena competing for top jobs without the concentration. Then, their internship experiences, major choices, work ethic, resilience, adaptability and other qualitative skills and capabilities will likely be the important differentiators leading them to that sought-after, high-paying dream job.”

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