HBS Alumni: What do they do?

As this is recruiting week, I continue along in the same vein as my past two posts.

Today we explore the question, “what are HBS alums doing after graduation?” HBS furnishes students with an extensive alumni database providing a big picture of HBS students’ paths from several aspects.

(Currently there are over 44,000 living HBS alums, and following data reflects that fact)

First, we examine the positions they hold.

Alumni by Position

About one in four HBS graduates is the CEO or President of a company. Expanding our view we see approximately 40% of HBS alums hold top executive positions: vice president, chairman of the Board, COO and CFO.  As this includes all living alums, regardless of age (20s to 90s), should we narrow our scope to those in middle-age (40s to 60s), we would doubtless see a higher proportion holding these positions.

It is a widely held fact that more than 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs are HBS alums, far higher than grads from other business schools. However, as the number of students pursuing careers at Fortune 500 companies is declining, we can expect a change in this number.


Turning our attention to the industry in which they work -

Alumni by Industry

Twenty-four and fourteen percent of HBS alums work for finance and consulting industries respectively. This is in line with the HBS current students’ class profile. Many HBS students come from finance and consulting, and many take employment in the same industries (a caveat here – they aren’t necessarily the same people who were originally in these fields when they arrived at HBS).

Examining the breakdown of these two industries, we find the finance industry consists of various sub-industries: commercial banking, investment banking, hedge fund, private equity, asset management, and so on. However, a few top companies dominate the consulting industry. At the top, McKinsey accounts for 20% of HBS alums working in the industry. In other words, McKinsey employs in excess of 1,200 HBS alums. McKinsey and HBS appear to have a very close relationship.


Personally I don’t like the latter statistics. Advocating the importance of diversity, HBS is still skewed to certain industries. Starting my own company, I would like to contribute to the expansion of the gray (“other”) zone in the pie chart.

One thought on “HBS Alumni: What do they do?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>