Think of it as a popularity contest for companies. Each year, research firm Universum surveys MBA candidates on where they'd most like to work for an exclusive list.

RankCompany2008 Fortune
500 rank
% students who
put in top 5
2McKinsey & CompanyN.A.15.84%
3Goldman Sachs2014.98%z
5The Boston Consulting GroupN.A.12.12%
6Bain & CompanyN.A.10.81%
7Walt Disney678.83%
10J.P. Morgan127.94%
11General Electric67.68%
13Johnson & Johnson357.58%
14Procter & Gamble236.48%
15Morgan Stanley216.47%
16Lehman Brothers376.12%
18Merrill Lynch305.37%
22Ernst & YoungN.A.4.70%
24Bank of America94.52%
25Booz Allen HamiltonN.A.4.49%

1. Google

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 23.65%

Headquarters: Mountain View, CA

Type of company: Technology

It may not actively acknowledge a desire to hire MBAs specifically, but Google has done a great job of luring such talent anyway. With perks that range from free gourmet food to onsite laundry and tuition reimbursement, it's no wonder B-school grads are drawn to the search engine giant.

For its part, Google says it's looking for people who are excited to solve cutting-edge problems in their field for jobs ranging from project management to PR to sales to software.

2. McKinsey & Company

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 15.84%

Headquarters: New York, NY

Type of company: Management consulting

Hiring MBAs predominantly for associate-level positions, the consulting firm seeks exceptional people with outstanding capabilities and great potential. To impress McKinsey, which recruits from schools nationwide, it helps to be a problem-solver with strong leadership skills and a solid record of past achievements.

3. Goldman Sachs

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 14.98%

Headquarters: New York, NY

Type of company: A global investment banking, securities and investment management firm

Goldman Sachs has offices all over the world, including a large contingent in Bangalore, so globally minded candidates have a wide range of places to choose from.

The investment banking firm says it isn't planning to cut back on MBA hiring this year -- last year Goldman estimated it hired about 300 B-school grads for its full-time associate program, and 250 students (between their first and second years of business school) for summer internships.

4. Apple

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 13.68%

Headquarters: Cupertino, CA

Type of company: Maker of computers, iPods, iPhone, and more

Apple rose two slots this year to become no. 4 among MBAs' most desirable employers. The company interviews at the University of Michigan, MIT, and University of Chicago, among others, but Stanford University sees more of the Apple recruiters than any other B-school throughout the year. And with discounts on the sleek, game-altering products, or, more importantly, the seemingly ever-growing stock, how could one turn down a job offer from Steve Jobs?

5. The Boston Consulting Group

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 12.12%

Headquarters: Boston, MA

Type of company: A global management strategy consulting firm

MBAs who join the firm typically start as consultants with a base salary of $125,000 and up to $35,000 in bonuses. They also enjoy 100% healthcare coverage, as well as free beverages and snacks or fruit at work.

6. Bain & Company

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 10.81%

Headquarters: Boston, MA

Type of company: Management consulting

Seeking analytical, confident and passionate hires, Bain & Co. woos prospects at top b-schools by offering perks like the opportunity to work globally, or delay their start date to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity. And if they stick with Bain, consultants typically get promoted to manager in two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half years.

7. Walt Disney

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 8.83%

Headquarters: Burbank, CA

Type of company: Entertainment, media

Two weeks of paid vacation and ten holidays may be a good sell for potential candidates, as is the $85,000 to $105,000 starting salary and the hiring bonus. But the kids might be more interested in the free passes to Walt Disney amusement parks around the world.

8. Nike

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 8.82%

Headquarters: Beaverton, OR

Type of company: Footwear and athletic apparel

Worldly MBA grads can find opportunities around the globe. On the other hand, life at the Beaverton, OR headquarters would bring some positive lifestyle bennies, including a workplace where jeans and sneakers are welcome. Other perks include 100% health coverage, 50% off Nike clothes and footwear, a 15% discount on company stock and, of course, gym memberships.

9. Deloitte

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 8.11%

Headquarters: New York, NY

Type of company: Professional services in audit, tax, consulting and financial advice

Thanks to continued growth, the accounting and consulting firm plans to do robust MBA hiring this year. Recruiters have their eyes open for consultants in strategy and operations, as well as those who could fit into the technology and human capital, and audit and financial advisory segments. Flexibility and a willingness to travel frequently are pluses.

10. J.P. Morgan

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 7.94%

Headquarters: New York, NY

Type of company: Financial services

Looking to fill around 115 spots with MBA talent, J.P Morgan will place the hires in investment and private banking, as well as research and sales positions. Independence, maturity, drive, initiative, and integrity are key. MBAs who get the nod enjoy an average starting salary of $95,000 a year, a sign-on bonus, relocation assistance, and perks like discounts on hybrid and green-friendly cars.

11. General Electric

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 7.68%

Headquarters: Fairfield, CT

Type of company: Diversified technology, media and financial services company

With about 120 openings for B-school grads this year, the conglomerate particularly seeks candidates who have commercial marketing and sales skills. MBAs start at $95,000 a year on average, and typically receive a hiring bonus as well.

12. Microsoft

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 7.59%

Headquarters: Redmond, WA

Type of company: Software

Plenty of career paths are available for the 100 MBA grads Microsoft hopes to hire worldwide this year. They range from corporate management and strategy to product planning. Like Bill Gates, candidates should be supersmart, have a passion for technology and an entrepreneurial spirit. Recruiters also look for unshakeable determination.

13. Johnson & Johnson

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 7.58%

Headquarters: New Brunswick, NJ

Type of company: Health care

Competition will get a little tougher this year, as J&J plans to hire fewer new MBAs than in past years. Still about 100 will receive offers for jobs with titles including Assistant Product Director, Strategic Marketing Manager, Procurement Associate, and Global Business Analytics Manager. Starting salaries range from $90K to $120K.

14. Procter & Gamble

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 6.48%

Headquarters: Cincinnati, OH

Type of company: Consumer goods

Between 60 and 70 spots will go to new financial analysts, associate HR managers, as well as various other positions at the consumer products manufacturer. Creative, well-rounded MBA hires may get a signing bonus as extra incentive.

15. Morgan Stanley

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 6.47%

Headquarters: New York, NY

Type of company: Financial services

The financial firm wants to find candidates who have what it takes to be entrepreneurs. Just how many depends on the number of candidates Morgan Stanley hires through its 10-week summer training program.

16. Lehman Brothers

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 6.12%

Headquarters: New York, NY

Type of company: Financial services

Lehman Brothers offers a variety of associate programs to ease the transition from business school. The programs range from 16 months to three-and-a-half years, and may include rotations through various parts of the business. New MBA hires also typically get sign-on bonuses to help smooth the path financially.

17. Starbucks

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 5.73%

Headquarters: Seattle, WA

Type of company: Coffee retailer

The ubiquitous caffeine merchant has openings at its Seattle headquarters in fields like finance and information technology, as well as various positions throughout the nation. All partners receive a free pound of coffee every week.

18. Merrill Lynch

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 5.37%

Headquarters: New York, NY

Type of company: Wealth management, capital markets and advisory

Merrill is planning to hire about 160 new MBAs globally this year. The firm focuses on top business schools, like the University of Chicago and Wharton, but accepts applicants from all programs. Associates enjoy perks such as tuition assistance, onsite gym, and commuter savings plans.

19. Coca-Cola

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 5.13%

Headquarters: Atlanta, GA

Type of company: Consumer-packaged goods

The soft drink maker rose in popularity this year among new MBAs looking for jobs, moving up to no. 19 on Universum's rankings from no. 25 last year. But while the company has many MBAs on staff, it doesn't necessarily look at business schools to fill empty slots. Coca-Cola prefers the older, more experienced business manager who can, among other things, import and export good ideas and develop and inspire others.

20. BMW

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 4.84%

Headquarters: Woodcliff Lake, NJ

Type of company: Automotive

Perks, of course, include all you would normally expect, like a 401(k) plan, medical and dental. The chance to work for a company with offices in 36 locations worldwide must also be a draw.

21. Citigroup

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 4.75%

Headquarters: New York, NY

Type of company: Financial services

Citigroup expects to hire about 235 new MBAs this year as associates and management associates. Candidates with a global mindset and strong analytical and communication skills have a leg up. Recruiters have been highlighting career opportunities in Korea and Japan at events with Northwestern's Kellogg school, University of California-Berkeley's Haas school, and MIT's Sloan school, among other B-schools.

22. Ernst & Young

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 4.70%

Headquarters: New York, NY

Type of company: Tax, assurance, transaction and advisory services

A six-figure starting salary, and generous vacation time (28 to 35 days off after a year of service) will liven up competition for the 30 to 40 spots at this Big Four accounting firm. The New York-based company does an expansive recruiting effort for new senior advisors, including stops at Emory University, Notre Dame University and the University of Texas at Austin. Experience conducting focus groups and willingness to travel (which is estimated at 80%) are pluses.


% of MBAs who want to work there*: 4.60%

Headquarters: Seattle, WA

Type of company: Online retailer

Current openings for MBAs range from senior business analyst to operations manager to HR business partner, so future employees have a variety of choices on what part of the business to join. The Seattle company says it doesn't just want people to work in business, but people who want to build businesses.

24. Bank of America

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 4.52%

Headquarters: Charlotte, NC

Type of company: Financial services

Although the bank plans to hire fewer MBAs than last year, graduates can fill a variety of roles, including spots in marketing, supply chain management and tech. Bank of America also runs operations and technology MBA programs that let hires rotate through different areas.

25. Booz Allen Hamilton

% of MBAs who want to work there*: 4.49%

Headquarters: McLean, VA

Type of company: Consulting

The consulting firm announced plans to split into two businesses with two distinct segments this week -- one for the government sector that will retain its original name and be sold to private equity firm The Carlyle Group, and another entity called Booz & Company for its commercial consultations. Depending on the company, MBAs can jump in with a salary that ranges from $90,000 to $120,000. As usual, the commercial business pays on the upper end of the scale.