Teach Me How to Startup

Business School Grads Are Infiltrating Tech Companies As We Speak

Brace for incoming!
Artist's rendering. (Photo: Brooks Brothers)

Artist’s rendering. (Photo: Brooks Brothers)

Have you noticed a couple of additions to your startup’s staff that, well, are just a little too dedicated to the Brooks Brothers casual wear? Look to today’s Wall Street Journal for an explanation: “elite business school graduates” are now officially flocking to technology.

Harvard Business School grads going into tech has jumped from 12 percent to 18 percent year-over-year, with similar jumps at Yale and Cornell. The numbers headed to finance have slumped, dropping 35 percent to 27 percent at HBS and 27 percent to 16 percent at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

The shift is the most dramatic at Stanford, embedded in the throbbing heart of Silicon Valley: 32 percent of job-seeking grads are going into tech and just 26 percent into finance; that’s a flip-flip from two years ago, when the ratio was 13 percent to 36 percent.

The Journal insists that students are increasingly willing to take a pay cut to do something more “meaningful.” (Compare the median salaries for newly minted Stanford grads: $120K base plus $38K in other guaranteed compensation in tech, compared to $150K base and $135K additional for finance.)

Students are asking, “Where’s the place that I can drive innovation? Where’s the place that I can have the most impact?” says Derrick Bolton, assistant dean and director of M.B.A. admissions, and interim director of the career management center at Stanford’s business school.

In other words: The free food and nap pods are nice, but the greatest perk of all is feeling self-righteous about the world-changing implications of your disruptive, value-creating crusade–as opposed to being blamed for every hiccup in the world economy. That’s worth at least a quarter mil right out of the gate.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com