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Sloan graduates ranked second among MBA students in earnings

By Joanna E. Stone

Despite the stereotype of MIT as a school solely for engineers, graduates of its master's program in management have proved themselves not only note-worthy, but job-worthy as well. Earning the second highest average starting salaries in a recent survey, they were behind Stanford MBA graduates, but ahead of their Harvard counterparts.

Stanford MBA graduates reported average starting salaries at $53,515, MIT followed with $53,244, and Harvard was third with $52,987, according to the survey conducted by the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University.

Harvard was the only school in the survey that did not release a figure. The figure cited for Harvard was extrapolated from a 1987 number published in Business Week magazine, though the director of MBA placement services at the school claimed that the actual figure was higher.

The 1988 MIT salary figure represented a 5.2 percent increase, from $50,625 in 1987. It appeared that increases in the employment of MIT graduates and in their starting salaries were becoming commonplace.

The increase in the number of hired MIT graduates reflected their newly acquired prestige, according to John R. Talbott, vice president of Goldman, Sachs & Co. "They're gaining a strong foothold in what was once thought `Harvard territory,' " he commented.

The MIT School of Management does not actually give Master of Business Administration degrees; its equivalent degree

is a Master of Science in management.

Talbott suggested that MIT graduates were gaining more prestige than their Harvard counterparts. "The other day I had to interview two Harvard MBAs and one MIT MBA in the same afternoon. I'm supposed to rate those I interview on a scale of 1 to 10. I gave each of the Harvard grads a 7, and the MIT grad a 10. . . I guess that says it all," he said.

Jody A. Goldstein, vice president of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., attributed the increasing popularity of MIT management graduates to their solid technological background. "I find that the MIT MBAs are very practically prepared, as compared to the Harvard grads' more theoretical course of study. This practical preparation is definitely an asset," he said.

Merrill Lynch's Michael White, on the other hand, was a bit more wary of MIT's ranking in the survey. "I'm not going to speak badly of MIT. It's an excellent technological school with a rather good school of management. I think Lester Thurow has done wonders to turn the Sloan School around," White said. "I do admit I've seen more MIT MBA grads employed by Merrill Lynch in the recent past, but second highest starting salaries, above even Harvard. . . at that I'm quite surprised."

Dartmouth College (Tuck School) came in fourth in the survey with an average starting salary of $51,000; University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) fifth with $50,995; Columbia University sixth with $49,478; NYU (Stern) seventh with $48,520; University of Virginia eighth with $48,334; University of Chicago ninth with $47,448; and Northwestern University (Kellogg School) tenth with $47,383.