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WORLD BUSINESS

Google leaps up MBA jobs wish-list

Search engine second in poll of ideal employers

By Peter Walker for CNN

story.google.gi.jpg
Google is a popular career choice for MBA students.

FACT BOX

FT's Executive MBA Rankings
1. Wharton, U.S.
2. Hong Kong UST, China
3. London Business School, UK
4. Instituto de Empresa, Spain
5. Fuqua, Duke, U.S.
6. Chicago GSB, U.S.
7. Columbia, U.S.
8. Kellogg, U.S.
9. Stern, NY, U.S.
10. Cass, City University, UK
Source: Financial Times 2006

FACT BOX

EMBA SNAPSHOT

Executives taking the top EMBA courses in the U.S., Europe and Asia have average salaries of around $130,000 to $200,000.

A typical EMBA student is likely to be aged in the early 30s, with 6-10 years of working experience.

A top EMBA course can cost $100,000. Customized courses start at a few thousand dollars.

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Schools

(CNN) -- Management consulting heavyweight McKinsey remains the favorite would-be employer for MBA students, according to a major annual survey, but newcomer Google is snapping at its heels.

McKinsey headed the list of 100 companies compiled by research firm Universum Communications for Fortune magazine -- as it also did in 2005 -- with 18.3% of MBA students putting it in their top five desirable employers.

The big change came just below, where Google, which recently announced first-quarter 2006 earnings of $2.25 billion dollars, shot into second spot.

The Internet search giant was named in the top five of 12.6% by respondents. Last year Google was not even among the companies listed on the form, although enough students wrote it down themselves that it would have been 129th.

The rest of the top 10 is a mixture of other consulting firms such as fourth-placed Bain & Co., financial giants like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and industrial behemoths General Electric and Johnson & Johnson.

Eight of the top 10 are the same as last year, the only new entrants being hi-tech firms: Google in second and Apple Computer at seventh, up from 15th.

"What's interesting is that we're seeing a top 20 very similar to the 2001 survey, with dot-coms and consumer goods placing very well," Claudia Tattanelli, chief executive of Universum, told Fortune.

"Companies that used to be regarded as dot-coms -- and were very volatile on the list -- are now established as major recruiters.

"There has always been 20-30% of people coming to the MBA program with the hopes of changing their careers, sometimes moving out of more traditional firms towards industries with a better work/life balance," she said. "Because students are looking for innovative companies with that balance, there's been a big trend toward these less traditional employers."

Gender gap

The survey showed some notable differences in the types of jobs sought by men and women after they complete their MBAs.

Management consulting was the clear favorite target sector for men, chosen by 28% of respondents, above financial services on 23%. In contrast, the top pick for women was consumer goods, selected by 25% of them -- against just 13% of the men.

"Women have always been strong with consumer brands, and in industries where there are marketing openings. They look for industries that offer a better work/life balance without crazy hours," said Tattanelli.

There was an ever starker divide on another key career area -- salary expectations.

While the average salary for a first post-MBA job anticipated by all respondents was $88,087, for men alone the figure was $94,710, more than 9% higher than the women's expectation of $86,805.

Later on in their careers, women with MBAs expect to lag even further behind: when asked to pick a target salary five years after graduating, the men opted for an average of $191,541, a full 22% above the women's figure of $156,290.

"This is an almost self-inflicted salary gap, because it's what they're expecting to get," said Tattanelli. "It has increased from last year. Part of it is because women gravitate to the consumer goods industries that don't always have top salaries."

In terms of overall career goals, however, both genders picked "balance personal life and career" and "build a sound financial base" as their top priorities. Last year, the male respondents selected "influence corporate strategies" as their top selection.

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