MIT Class of ’08 Earns $65,324 On Average, According to Career Survey

The MIT students receiving Bachelor of Science degrees in June 2008 were offered a mean salary of $65,324, a 6.9 percent increase over last year, according to data from the preliminary version of the MIT Careers Office’s 2008 Graduating Student Survey. The consumer price index rose about 6.2 percent over the same period of time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Students receiving Master’s degrees were offered an average of $98,497.

Seventy-six point seven percent of Master’s recipients entered the work industry, while 45.1 percent of those who earned their Bachelor’s did the same. Close to half of the graduates receiving Bachelor’s degrees opted to enter graduate or professional school.

Varied plans

Management and consulting was the most popular industry for graduates with Bachelor’s degrees, drawing 12.9 percent of the working graduates, followed by investment banking with 12.9 percent, aerospace and defense with 8.8 percent, and software development with 8.8 percent. A total of 44 percent of graduates with Bachelor’s degrees entered jobs related to finance, consulting, and management.

Seventy one percent of students without graduate degrees and 89 percent of students earning graduate degrees said that their jobs are related to their majors.

Of the 45.1 percent of students entering graduate school, 39 percent matriculated back into MIT, including those who enrolled in Master of Engineering programs. Other popular schools include Harvard (8.5 percent), Stanford (7.2 percent), John Hopkins University (3.6 percent), Princeton (3.1 percent), and the University of California at Berkeley (3.1 percent).

The MIT graduates who applied to colleges of higher-level education achieved an average of about 2.5 acceptances.

Career searches start early

Of graduates going into industry, 33 percent of students without graduate degrees and 27% of Master’s students started their job searches before the beginning of the academic year of their graduation. 20 percent of students with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees received the offer that they accepted before Sept. 2007. By the end of 2007, approximately one-half of these students accepted their job offers. About 7 percent of graduates who currently hold jobs did so before the start of their graduation year.

Students who took the survey were asked to grade the most important factors in their job choice. On a scale from one to four (with four being the most important), Bachelor’s degree graduates graded “salary” as 2.73. According to the students, the most important values of job offers are “job content” (3.5), “creative and challenging work” (3.37), “opportunity for career advancement” (3.16), and “fit with culture/environment” (3.17).

Negotiation yields benefits

On average, Bachelor’s and Master’s student were forced to accept their job offers within the time-frame of a month. Many students — 84 percent of Bachelor’s and 67 percent of Master’s students — chose not to negotiate their salaries with their employers during that time. However, for those students who did negotiate, salaries were increased by a mean of about $6,000. A lower percentage of students negotiated their sign-on bonuses, however, those who did negotiate earned, on average, an additional $3,000.

For those who received sign-on bonuses, Bachelor’s degree holders, on average, received an extra $10,331 and Master’s earned $22,327.

The data compiled by the Careers Office is still preliminary and will include more extensive breakdowns and analysis when it is released in its final form by December 2008.

Reports of previous class survey are available on the Careers Office Web site (