Does School Location Affect Fuqua MBA Recruiting? Not for Pharma

A question I get asked a lot is whether Duke Fuqua's location puts students at a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting for health care. My answer is no, because Fuqua is a target school for many companies that recruit MBAs and they make an effort to come to the Duke campus. However, I did not know objectively how Fuqua compared with schools that were local to health care hubs. I took some time and got some data from LinkedIn, and used the pharma industry as an example. Surprisingly, at least for pharma, Fuqua has a stronger presence than many local schools.


I used LinkedIn for two reasons: 1) It has a nice search function. Users can not only search by school and company, but also by current or past employment. This is a nice tool for recruiting as well. 2) Most MBA graduates like to update their LinkedIn profile. This was definitely a big assumption, but we could also assume that the rates of LinkedIn utilization is similar across MBA peer schools.

I did the exact same thing for all the companies and schools:

1. Type in keyword "MBA" to avoid people who did not come out of an MBA program
2. Put in the company and school names
3. Choose current employment to avoid past interns and folks who have left the company, as this is an assessment of current alumni numbers to assess strength of alumni base
4. Count the number of search results, subtracting any current interns at the companies.


West coast pharma hub: Genentech and Amgen
Local schools: Berkeley Haas, UCLA Anderson

Duke Fuqua, Berkeley Haas, UCLA Anderson full time graduates at Genentech

Duke Fuqua, Berkeley Haas, UCLA Anderson full time graduates at Amgen

I was pleasantly surprised to find Fuqua having more alumni than local schools at these two companies. This was definitely not something I expected. 

Boston pharma hub: Biogen Idec and Genzyme
Local school: MIT Sloan

Duke Fuqua, MIT Sloan full time grads at Biogen Idec

Duke Fuqua, MIT Sloan full time grads at Genzyme Sanofi

It's surprising that Genzyme doesn't have more MBA graduates from either Fuqua or Sloan. But otherwise Fuqua doesn't seem to do too bad when it comes to Boston at these two companies. 

New Jersey pharma hub: Janssen and Bristol-Myers Squibb
Local school: Rutgers

Duke Fuqua, Rutgers full time grads at Janssen Johnson & Johnson

Duke Fuqua, Rutgers full time grads at Bristol-Myers Squibb
Note the y-axis units. Rutgers has a significant MBA presence at BMS

Fuqua does a fairly decent job in terms of alumni at Janssen and Bristol-Myers Squibb in New Jersey. Rutgers has a very strong health care-focused MBA program, with 42% of its class going into health care


Obviously this a very small sample (a whopping 8 companies). However, I think it's enough data to highlight the fact that using location as a predictor of recruiting outcomes is not sufficient. It needs to be more nuanced than simply location. Here are two things that may be better predictors:

1) Size of company: Start ups don't have resources to fly recruiters across the US to meet with and interview MBA students. So I'm pretty confident if we did something similar for the start up hubs we'll see much less Fuqua presence.

2) Type of industry: I know for a fact that VC/PE, etc have a strong school focus. Duke for example, does not graduate many folks who go into VC/PE right out of the MBA (2% for 2012-2013). For IB, Columbia has 18% to Fuqua's 8% (2012-2013). 

In sum, I highly recommend folks to do the above exercise for their target companies. 


  1. Hey Steven, As always, amazing post. These results are counter-intuitive. Very glad to hear that Fuqua is doing pretty good at west & east coasts. You are generating interesting data Steven. Keep up the great work. Very soon you may have enough information on healthcare MBA that you can put some of these blog posts together and convince wetfeet to publish it as a 'MBA in Healthcare' guide book :)

    1. Thank you for the kind words Sathya. This is the stuff that keeps me going. I've benefited greatly from blogs that other people have written so this is my way to give back. It's a lot of fun too. Right now I'm working on a few posts on the topic of leadership, inspired from my internship experience.