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Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve had a bit of fun at business schools’ expense. What, we and lots of other people, notably potential students, wondered was the point of paying an enormous amount of money for an M.B.A. when the plague choking our world kept would-be masters of business administration from the one genuine bit of value you get from such an “education,” if we can even call it that: face-to-face networking with the future business leaders of America and the rest of the world.

Well, it seems we’ve a bit of crow to eat here. As Wharton and the students (allegedly) defrauded in its name well know, there’s value in the bauble itself, regardless of the friendships you made and the things you didn’t actually learn. Quite a lot of value, as it turns out.

Both the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business reported the median salary for this year’s graduates grew $5,000 to hit $155,000. It was Wharton’s highest-recorded median base salary, with 99% of students seeking jobs receiving an offer…. Pandemic-related management challenges, from supply-chain disruptions to uncertainty around the future of work, have made a diverse group of companies more willing to pay a premium for M.B.A.s’ skill sets….

“Everyone is in a bit of an arms race in terms of compensation,” said Maryellen Reilly, deputy vice dean of Wharton’s M.B.A. program.

And that means you don’t even have to have gone to a good b-school to benefit from the Great Resignation, et. al.

The median salary for M.B.A.s across the U.S. was flat at $105,000 for last year’s graduates, according to the nonprofit Graduate Management Admission Council. But that figure is projected to reach $115,000—an all-time high—for 2021 graduates as the labor market continues to recover, according to a recent GMAC survey of corporate recruiters.

For those who did defer their M.B.A. dreams for a time (now, we guess) when networking get-togethers actually involve getting together, fear not: The credentialing factories have got you covered when it comes to the latest burgeoning job market. (No, not that one.)

The University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business now offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate courses related to social impact. The Duke University Fuqua School of Business recently added a course to its core curriculum called “Business and Common Purpose.” At Harvard Business School, 600 students took second-year elective courses related to social enterprise last year, compared with 251 in 2012…. Demand for workers who understand E.S.G. will likely continue to grow, said Bethany Patten, the senior associate director of the sustainability center at M.I.T. Sloan School of Management. In particular, she said, businesses will need to hire people to finance renewable energy projects and to disclose the risks they face from climate change, while investment firms will need analysts to evaluate exposure to climate change and make recommendations on sustainable investments.

M.B.A. Starting Salaries Are Soaring [WSJ]
Business Schools Respond to a Flood of Interest in E.S.G. [DealBook]

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