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Where MBA students hope to land a job: Google tops the list, but Goldman Sachs also keeps its cachet

May 24, 2010 |  9:30 pm

For a fourth year in a row, Google Inc. tops the list of companies where American MBA students would most like to be hired for their first job out of school, a new survey shows.

But not far behind is Goldman Sachs Group -- despite the battering the bank’s public image has taken since the financial crisis exploded.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google was picked most often as a preferred employer in the latest  Universum survey of MBA students at 50 top business schools. The survey, conducted between December and March, asked 5,732 students to name five companies they’d most like to work for.

Googlesign The Internet search leader was named by 22.4% of the students, according to the detailed listing that Universum generated for That was well ahead of the No. 2 vote-getter, consulting firm McKinsey & Co., which was named by 15% of the respondents.

Goldman came in third, picked by 14.4% of students. The bank moved up one notch from 2009, when it ranked fourth on the most-preferred list.

Rounding out this year’s top 10: Boston Consulting Group, Apple Inc., Bain & Co., JPMorgan Chase, Walt Disney, Nike Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.

The 2010 survey was taken before the Securities and Exchange Commission in April shocked Wall Street by charging Goldman with civil fraud in connection with its marketing of a mortgage-related investment security. The bank has denied wrongdoing.

But Goldman’s image problems predated the SEC case, of course. MBA students surely know what a beating the Goldman name has taken, and evidently aren’t put off by it. Most famously, Rolling Stone magazine writer Matt Taibbi last summer labeled the bank a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

Among male MBA students, Goldman came in No. 2 on the most-preferred list this year, after Google. Female students also ranked Google first, but for them Goldman came in 18th.

What do today's students figure their MBA is worth? The survey found that the average annual base salary MBA students expect to earn one year after graduation is $94,376. That’s down from $98,403 in the 2009 survey, but up from $90,232 in the 2008 survey.

-- Tom Petruno

Photo credit: Nicholas Kamm / AFP/ Getty Images