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University of Tennessee at night

In a recent review of U.S. News and World Report’s Top 100 MBA programs, Poets&Quants found that the MBA program in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business had better placement rates in 2020 than Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

UT’s 2020 MBA classes attained a 79 percent employment rate as of their graduation dates, increasing to 90 percent within three months. Among Stanford MBAs, 63 percent were employed at graduation and 85 percent had jobs three months later, while Harvard’s rates were 71 percent and 83 percent, respectively. That puts UT’s MBA employment success upon graduation 8 percentage points higher than Harvard’s and 16 percentage points higher than Stanford’s.

Pedro Gonzalez, director of career management for graduate and executive education in the Haslam College of Business, says that the college’s employer partners know that graduates of the program are highly qualified and ready to enter the business world immediately.

“The pandemic disruption felt by all business schools began in early 2020 with offers being rescinded or start dates being pushed out,” Gonzalez said. “It was clear to me that we had to increase the urgency of outreach to employers while keeping our students motivated during an unprecedented job search and internship placement for the summer of 2020. My career team delivered on both sides, which helped mitigate the employment fallout.”

Gonzalez adds that many graduating MBAs returned from their summer 2020 internships with solid job offers, helping maintain the excellent salaries typical of the college’s MBA employer partners. And those salaries have been on the rise: from 2018 to 2019, UT’s MBA graduates enjoyed an average starting salary increase of 27 percent.

Poets&Quants is widely regarded for its insights on current trends affecting MBA education, admissions, and employment. More details on the job placement review are available at Poets&Quants.


Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,

Scott McNutt (865-974-3589,