Skip to main content

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business 2020–21 graduating class has set records for average starting salary and outcomes according to a recent post-graduation report. Within six months of graduation, 96 percent of graduates either landed jobs or succeeded in pursuing further education, eclipsing the previous record of 93 percent.

Nicholas Crabtree, a May 2021 marketing graduate from Chattanooga, Tennessee, says UT equipped him to be successful in his internship and career search.

“I received offers from multiple companies, including my number one choice,” said Crabtree, now a sales management associate with PepsiCo in Collierville, Tennessee. “If not for the University of Tennessee and the great Haslam College of Business faculty and staff on Rocky Top, I would not have been as prepared to take the next steps in my career.”

The college’s undergraduate professional and career development team, part of its Center for Student Engagement and Success, enables students like Crabtree to engage in career and professional preparation through programming such as career fairs, networking opportunities, interview coaching, and advice on how to tell their professional stories. The center also provides students with experiential learning opportunities through internships, study abroad, and student organizations, helping them develop skills outside the classroom.

Jeannine Berge

Jeannine Berge, director of undergraduate professional and career development, says such services complement the undergraduates’ own industriousness and coursework, contributing to their success upon graduation.

“Despite COVID-19’s disruptions, our 2020–21 graduates were in high demand,” Berge said. “Students of exceptional quality are attracted to the college’s outstanding academic environment, and our faculty train them in their fields to be ready to contribute to the companies that hire them on their first day on the job. It’s no surprise that leading firms recruit our graduates.”

In addition to PepsiCo/Frito Lay Inc., companies hiring UT business graduates during the past academic year include prominent organizations like Amazon, Dell Technologies, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Pilot Company, TVA, and 21st Mortgage.

For Amanda Bussey, sales recruiting manager at Gallo, UT’s business students set the benchmark in 2021.

“They were prepared, professional, and eager, making this past semester even more of a competition to hire the best talent,” Bussey said.

Out of 1,133 graduates, 1,058 reported their postgraduate status to the college. Geographically, 64 percent of graduates stayed in Tennessee, 17 percent moved elsewhere in the South, 18 percent dispersed across the nation, and 1 percent relocated internationally. The average starting salary for new hires rose to $53,467, surpassing a previous high of $53,410.

Recent business graduate information is drawn from first-destination data—feedback from graduating seniors on their post-graduation plans, collected along guidelines set by the National Association of Colleges and Employers—self-reported by students in their career profiles as of November 30, 2021.


Scott McNutt (, 865-965-5061)

Brooks Clark (, 865-974-5471)