MBAs in Chicago: City Insight Series

One of the advantages of top-tier MBA degrees is their portability – candidates from top schools often have the opportunity to work in any city they want. For certain industries such as technology, a location like Silicon Valley is synonymous with the industry and is regarded as “the place to be” in terms of career growth. But what if there was a way to analyze what U.S. cities have to offer MBA students?

Utilizing data provided by MBAs across the nation, we are able to analyze metrics such as average compensation, the most common functional roles and industries, and the companies that hire a large number of MBAs in any major city in the United States. First up in our analysis: Chicago, Illinois.

(This entry is part of a series exploring such measures for various cities. You can find our other entries in the series here: Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, and New York.)

According to the sources Bungalow, Numbeo, and Apartment List, the average cost of living in Chicago is approximately $2700/month, with the median rent of a one-bedroom being $1800/month. In terms of the average post-MBA salary in this city, the data indicates it is around $121,450 while the average post-MBA compensation is $162,744.

City ranks for three separate measures out of a total of 55 evaluated cities

When looking at the top ten industries of MBAs living in this city, Consulting leads the pack by a large margin with 35.9% of MBAs belonging to this industry, followed by Technology, Internet, & Ecommerce and Diversified Financial Services with 9.7% and 6%, respectively. Consumer Products, Investment Banking, and Investment Management trail at fourth, fifth, and sixth place with 5.9%, 4.5%, and 3.6%. This leaves Hospitals, Medicine, & Healthcare Services (2.9%); Manufacturing (2.9%); Phama, Medical Devices, & Biotech (2.5%); and Aerospace & Aviation (2.4%) finishing off the list. Our other category, which constituted almost one quarter of our data, included industries such as Commercial Banking, Insurance, and Energy.

Now that it has been established what the popular industries for business students in Chicago are, let’s take a look at the functions they are hired for. Consulting comes in first again with 37.1% followed by Marketing with 6.9% and Corporate Finance with 6.2%. Corporate Strategy and Operations take fourth and fifth place with 5.6% and 5.2%. Investment Banking and Sales share the sixth position, tyinging with 4.3%, and Business Development and Product Management share the eighth position, tying with 4.2%. Analytics & Data Science rounds out the list with 3.78% while the Other category encapsulates 18.1%.

You may be wondering which employers are hiring for these MBA functions. According to the data, the top 5 employers are Deloitte Consulting (4%), McKinsey & Company (3.6%), Accenture (3.2%), Strategy& (2.5%), and Bain & Company (2.3%).

However, when specifically looking at the top employers for the Consulting Industry, McKinsey & Company has 10%, Deloitte Consulting has 9.5%, and Accenture has 9% of all the MBAs in our dataset from this industry living in Chicago. Trailing behind them is Strategy& with 6.7% and Bain & Company with 6.4%. In contrast, Technology, Internet, & Ecommerce—the next most common industry— has its top employers as Microsoft with 12.4%, Groupon and Here (Mapping and Location Technology) with 4.8% each, IBM with 3.81%, and Envoy Global with 2.86%. Likewise, Diversified Financial Services has a different set of top employers with Discover Financial Services having 26.2% and Bank of America, CME Group, Deloitte Consulting, and Enova tying for second place with 6.2% each.

The last question asked was which business schools have the most alumni working in this city. Unsurprisingly, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business comes in first, but unexpectedly, the alumni make up 57.1% of the data. Northwestern Kellogg School of Management—another Illinois business school—makes up 18.8%. This is followed by University of Michigan Ross School of Business with 3.4%, Indiana University Kelley School of Business with 1.8%, and the Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania) with 1.2%.

MBAs of Chicago – City Guide:

Are you interested in learning more about MBAs in other US cities? Continue checking out the RelishCareers Blog, where we will continue posting information about popular cities for business students.  Candidates can also sign up for an account through RelishCareers and registrants will be informed of all upcoming blog posts through email. 

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