It’s been two years since business schools experienced the bleakest hiring period for MBA talent in recent memory. Coming off of historic job-placement lows recorded in 2009, many schools reported marginally good news in 2010: Recruiting and job offers had slowly increased. This year might be cause for more emphatic celebration.

Job placement improved once again in 2011, bringing many schools closer to prerecession hiring levels. The even-better news: Starting salaries reported by many schools increased for the first time since the financial crisis started. The average median starting salary for Class of 2011 MBA graduates jumped 4 percent to $101,010, up from $97,164 a year ago, according to data collected from 29 schools by Bloomberg Businessweek. The median starting salary remained unchanged at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business; UCLA’s Anderson School of Management; New York University’s Stern School of Business; the Yale School of Management; Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, and Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.

What hasn’t returned are signing bonuses. Only eight schools reported increases in this area, while the vast majority said bonuses were flat and six schools reported declines.

Here we list this year’s median salaries and rate of job offers for our 30 top-ranked full-time U.S. MBA programs as they compare with 2010, when schools first started to recover from the financial crisis. Click through to see how the landscape changed in 2011.

Note: Job placement refers to job offers received within three months of graduation. The schools are ranked in order of placement rates, with the best listed first. In case of ties, schools with placement rates that improved the most since 2010 received a higher rank. MIT's Sloan School School of Management did not supply data and was excluded from this slide show.

It’s been two years since business schools experienced the bleakest hiring period for MBA talent in recent memory. Coming off of historic job-placement lows recorded in 2009, many schools reported marginally good news in 2010: Recruiting and job offers had slowly increased. This year might be cause for more emphatic celebration.

Job placement improved once again in 2011, bringing many schools closer to prerecession hiring levels. The even-better news: Starting salaries reported by many schools increased for the first time since the financial crisis started. The average median starting salary for Class of 2011 MBA graduates jumped 4 percent to $101,010, up from $97,164 a year ago, according to data collected from 29 schools by Bloomberg Businessweek. The median starting salary remained unchanged at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business; UCLA’s Anderson School of Management; New York University’s Stern School of Business; the Yale School of Management; Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, and Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.

What hasn’t returned are signing bonuses. Only eight schools reported increases in this area, while the vast majority said bonuses were flat and six schools reported declines.

Here we list this year’s median salaries and rate of job offers for our 30 top-ranked full-time U.S. MBA programs as they compare with 2010, when schools first started to recover from the financial crisis. Click through to see how the landscape changed in 2011.

Note: Job placement refers to job offers received within three months of graduation. The schools are ranked in order of placement rates, with the best listed first. In case of ties, schools with placement rates that improved the most since 2010 received a higher rank. MIT's Sloan School School of Management did not supply data and was excluded from this slide show.

Best and Worst MBA Job Placement of 2011

B-School Job Market Recovers
B-School Job Market Recovers

It’s been two years since business schools experienced the bleakest hiring period for MBA talent in recent memory. Coming off of historic job-placement lows recorded in 2009, many schools reported marginally good news in 2010: Recruiting and job offers had slowly increased. This year might be cause for more emphatic celebration.

Job placement improved once again in 2011, bringing many schools closer to prerecession hiring levels. The even-better news: Starting salaries reported by many schools increased for the first time since the financial crisis started. The average median starting salary for Class of 2011 MBA graduates jumped 4 percent to $101,010, up from $97,164 a year ago, according to data collected from 29 schools by Bloomberg Businessweek. The median starting salary remained unchanged at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business; UCLA’s Anderson School of Management; New York University’s Stern School of Business; the Yale School of Management; Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, and Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.

What hasn’t returned are signing bonuses. Only eight schools reported increases in this area, while the vast majority said bonuses were flat and six schools reported declines.

Here we list this year’s median salaries and rate of job offers for our 30 top-ranked full-time U.S. MBA programs as they compare with 2010, when schools first started to recover from the financial crisis. Click through to see how the landscape changed in 2011.

Note: Job placement refers to job offers received within three months of graduation. The schools are ranked in order of placement rates, with the best listed first. In case of ties, schools with placement rates that improved the most since 2010 received a higher rank. MIT's Sloan School School of Management did not supply data and was excluded from this slide show.

1. University of Minnesota (Carlson)
1. University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 3 percent
2010: 9 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $95,507
2010: $90,000

The University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management reported all-around good news. Job offers increased, the median starting salary jumped 6 percent, and the median starting bonus rose to $20,000, from $15,000. General Mills was the top employer of the class of 2011, followed by 3M and Medtronic.

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2. Columbia University
2. Columbia University
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 3 percent
2010: 6 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $110,000
2010: $100,000

McKinsey & Co., Goldman Sachs and Citigroup were the top hirers of graduates from Columbia Business School. Signing bonuses stayed flat as the median starting salary jumped 10 percent.

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3. Harvard University
3. Harvard University
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 3 percent
2010: 5 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $120,000
2010: $110,00

At Harvard Business School, a greater percentage of students received job offers this year over last. It’s worth noting that HBS grads are increasingly creating their own opportunities. The school reports that 6.6 percent of the class of 2011 founded startups, vs. 4.9 percent in 2010. That figure has held steady at 2 percent to 4 percent each year since the mid-1990s, except for the dot.com boom, when the figure reached 12 percent for the class of 2000. For comparison, 16 percent of Stanford MBA grads pursued startups in 2011, up from 11 percent in 2010.

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4. Dartmouth College (Tuck)
4. Dartmouth College (Tuck)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 3 percent
2010: 3 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $110,000
2010: $105,000

Early job offers held steady over those last year at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. Ninety-seven percent of the class landed jobs in 2011 and 2010, compared to 98 percent before the financial crisis struck in 2007. The median salary of Tuck grads also increased for the first time since 2009.

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5 (tie). University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
5 (tie). University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 5 percent
2010: 13 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $120,000
2010: $110,000

Wharton, along with the Harvard Business School, reported the second-highest median starting salary this year. (Stanford had the highest.) McKinsey & Co., the Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Co. were among this year’s top hirers. The tech industry was the third most popular destination for Wharton grads (8 percent), behind consulting (30 percent) and financial services (39 percent).

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5 (tie). University of Virginia (Darden)
5 (tie). University of Virginia (Darden)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 5 percent
2010: 13 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $100,000
2010: $100,000

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business reported one of the biggest increases in job placement among Bloomberg Businessweek‘s top 30 programs. Ninety-five percent of Darden grads had jobs, up from 87 percent last year. Microsoft, Bank of America, and Amazon were the top employers.

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7 (tie). Stanford University
7 (tie). Stanford University
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 5 percent
2010: 7 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $125,000
2010: $120,000

Stanford GSB, along with the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, continue to be hiring magnets for Amazon. The online retailer, Apple, and Bain & Co. were among this year’s top employers. Signing bonuses at Stanford remained flat.

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7 (tie). Emory University (Goizueta)
7 (tie). Emory University (Goizueta)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 5 percent
2010: 7 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $100,000
2010: $90,000

Goizueta was one of eight schools to report an increase in the median signing bonus for its class of 2011. The figure jumped to $20,000 from $15,000. This year’s top hirers were Accenture, Deloitte, and Bank of America.

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9. Georgia Institute of Technology
9. Georgia Institute of Technology
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 5 percent
2010: 3 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $90,000
2010: $85,020

Georgia Tech was one of two business schools on our list at which job placement retreated from last year. Ninety-five percent of graduates had jobs lined up, down from 97 percent last year. The University of Texas’s McCombs School of Business also reported a decline.

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10. Indiana University (Kelley)
10. Indiana University (Kelley)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 6 percent
2010: 14 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $95,000
2010: $90,000

Job placement for Kelley grads increased 8 percentage points over last year, compared to the average increase of about 5 percent at all top 30 schools. Jobs in consulting, consumer products, and manufacturing attracted the largest portion of graduates, with those industries respectively taking 18 percent, 17 percent, and 17 percent of this year’s graduating class.

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11. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
11. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 6 percent
2010: 10 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $110,000
2010: $105,000

For the second year in a row, McKinsey & Co., the Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Co. were the top employers of Kellogg grads. Signing bonuses stayed flat.

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12. Yale University
12. Yale University
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 6 percent
2010: 8 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $100,000
2010: $100,000

The median starting salary at Yale remained unchanged this year as the median signing bonus jumped 35 percent, to $27,000. Barclays Capital, Goldman Sachs, and J.P. Morgan were among this year’s top employers.

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13. New York University (Stern)
13. New York University (Stern)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 7 percent
2010: 10 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $100,000
2010: $100,000

Stern saw an uptick in job placement; however, median starting salary and signing bonus levels stayed flat. American Express, Bank of America, and Barclays Capital were among this year’s top employers.

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14. University of Chicago (Booth)
14. University of Chicago (Booth)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 7 percent
2010: 9 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $107,000
2010: $102,000

Booth was one of eight schools that reported an increase in this year’s median signing bonus. The percentage of graduates headed to consulting increased to 28 percent, from 24 percent in 2010, and the number headed to the tech industry increased to 10 percent, from 7.5 percent. Forty-one percent of the year’s class went into financial services, down from 45 percent last year.

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15. Texas A&M University (Mays)
15. Texas A&M University (Mays)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 7 percent
2010: 8 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $85,000
2010: $85,000

Salaries held steady this year at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School. However, the median signing bonus dropped to $8,000 from $10,000. The largest portion of graduates went into manufacturing (21 percent), followed by technology (19 percent) and energy (14 percent).

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16. Duke University (Fuqua)
16. Duke University (Fuqua)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 8 percent
2010: 19 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $101,400
2010: $100,000

Salaries increased modestly at Fuqua, however the median signing bonus jumped 25 percent to $25,000. The largest group of graduates went into consulting (31 percent), followed by financial services (22 percent) and health care (12 percent).

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17. Rice University (Jones)
17. Rice University (Jones)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 8 percent
2010: 16 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $95,000
2010: $95,000

With a slew of petroleum-related companies located in Houston, it’s no surprise that the energy industry nabbed the largest portion (29 percent) of Rice’s 2011 MBA class. Business schools in Texas reported that throughout the recession, energy companies continued to hire as other industries held back. Rice had many job offers return this year. What didn’t return: signing bonuses. Rice grads’ median signing bonus was $12,000 in 2011, down from $15,000 in 2010.

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Note: Job offers figure represents job acceptances.
18. University of California at Berkeley (Haas)
18. University of California at Berkeley (Haas)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 8 percent
2010: 10 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $111,000
2010: $110,000

Haas and Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management were the only schools to report the tech sector as the top industry destination for this year’s graduating class. Thirty-two percent of Haas grads went into technology. McKinsey & Co., Deloitte, and Google were the top employers.

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19. University of Texas at Austin (McCombs)
19. University of Texas at Austin (McCombs)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 8 percent
2010: 7 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $100,000
2010: $95,000

While job placement at the University of Texas was on par with many schools on our list, the figure dropped one percentage point over last year. The median starting salary increased, while signing bonuses stayed flat. The largest group of grads went into financial services (26 percent), followed by technology (22 percent) and consulting (20 percent).

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20. UCLA (Anderson)
20. UCLA (Anderson)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 9 percent
2010: 15 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $100,000
2010: $100,000

Job placement increased 6 percentage points at Anderson and the median signing bonus remained unchanged. Deloitte and Bank of America were this year’s top two employers. Google tied for third with IBM, Intel, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Yahoo!

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21. University of Southern California (Marshall)
21. University of Southern California (Marshall)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 9 percent
2010: 12 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $96,000
2010: $94,000

More students at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business received job offers this year. The median starting salary and signing bonus also jumped. The median signing bonus increased 17 percent to $17,500, from $15,000 in 2010. Deloitte, Johnson & Johnson, and Mattel were among the top employers.

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22. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
22. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 9 percent
2010: 11 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $100,000
2010: $95,000

Signing bonuses stayed flat at Tepper, however the median starting salary jumped more than 5 percent, beating the average increase of 4 percent reported by 29 schools to Bloomberg Businessweek. Amazon, Cisco, and H.J. Heinz were among this year’s top employers.

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23. University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)
23. University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 10 percent
2010: 18 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $93,500
2010: $90,000

Job placement and starting salaries improved at the University of Notre Dame’ Mendoza College of Business this year. Signing bonuses retreated, with the median figure coming in at $13,000, vs. $13,750 in 2010. IBM and General Electric were among this year’s top employers.

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24. Brigham Young University (Marriott)
24. Brigham Young University (Marriott)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 10 percent
2010: 14 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $92,000
2010: $88,550

The tech sector helped early job offers rebound at Brigham Young’s Marriott School of Management. Thirty-eight percent of the class accepted positions in the industry, with Intel and Adobe Systems leading the hiring. Consumer products and financial services were the next-most-popular fields among recent grads.

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25. Cornell University (Johnson)
25. Cornell University (Johnson)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 11 percent
2010: 17 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $100,000
2010: $96,000

The median starting salary increased more than 4 percent at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management—in line with the average increase found at the top 30 schools. Technology and manufacturing tied for third among top industry destinations for grads (10 percent), behind financial services (32 percent) and consulting (25 percent).

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26. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
26. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 12 percent
2010: 16 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $100,000
2010: $95,000

Kenan-Flagler saw its median starting salary increase as the median signing bonus declined 20 percent, to $20,000. Bank of America, Deloitte, and Johnson & Johnson were this year’s top employers.

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27. Michigan State University (Broad)
27. Michigan State University (Broad)

Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 13 percent
2010: 28 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $87,500
2010: $86,200

Michigan State University had the second highest increase in MBA job placement this year among schools on our list. Eighty-seven percent of graduates had jobs, up from seventy-two percent in 2010. The largest portion of graduates went into manufacturing (40 percent), followed by technology (21 percent) and health care (11 percent).

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28. University of Michigan (Ross)
28. University of Michigan (Ross)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 15 percent
2010: 22 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $103,000
2010: $100,000

Amazon began a hiring spree at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in 2008, which continued this year. The online retailer was one of the top three employers of this year’s graduates. Overall, job placement at Ross has shown marked improvement. Eighty-five percent of the 2011 class received job offers, up from 78 percent last year.

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29. Southern Methodist University (Cox)
29. Southern Methodist University (Cox)
Students without job offers three months after graduation

2011: 17 percent
2010: 33 percent

Median starting salary

2011: $82,400
2010: $81,00

Job placement improved the most at Cox of all schools on our list. Eighty-three percent of graduates had jobs, up from 67 percent in 2010. The median starting bonus declined to $10,000, from $15,000.

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