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MBA Graduates Entering the Technology Sector

The value of the MBA degree has been under fire lately. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Dale Stephens argues that students are better off investing their tuition money and skipping business school altogether.

Mr. Stephens also claims that the booming technology field may be a better investment than business administration. He cites Payscale.com, which claims that the average starting salary for MBA graduates with less than a year of experience was $46,630 in 2012. He contrasts that figure with Dev Bootcamp, a 10-week training course for programming and code writing, which costs $12,200 and boasts an average salary of $79,000 for 88 percent of its graduates.

dev bootcamp class MBA Graduates Entering the Technology Sector

Students listen in on a Dev Bootcamp session

While business administration may no longer be a smart bet for the average student, the top-tiered schools still garner impressive starting salaries for their graduates. According to Harvard Business School’s employment statistics, the median base salary for the class of 2013 is $120,000.

Although Harvard, Wharton and Columbia graduates may still earn predictably high salaries, new statistics imply that MBA graduates are beginning to move away from traditional jobs in favor of technology positions.

According to preliminary employment statistics from Harvard, 18 percent of the class of 2013 will be working in the technology sector this fall, with a median base salary of $115,000. This is an unprecedented jump away from traditional consulting and financial service jobs. In 2011, just 11 percent of the class joined the tech sector and 12 percent in 2012, so this year’s figures represent a significant bump.

While technology is booming, the median base salary is still behind traditional fields. It is currently $5,000 lower than the median for the entire class, and $20,000 less than for consulting jobs.

Harvard isn’t the only school that has seen a rising interest in the technology sector. 7.6 percent of the Wharton Business School class of 2011 joined the tech world, while 11.6 percent entered in 2012 (2013 statistics have not yet been released).

Interestingly, Columbia Business School class of 2012 saw a small decrease from 2011, with only 8.3 percent of the class joining the technology industry (down 0.5 percent).