HMC Alumni Excel in Post-Grad Salary Rankings


Students walk to and from classes on Harvey Mudd College’s campus. (Austin Huang • The Student Life)

In recent rankings by various publications, Harvey Mudd College alumni were ranked above graduates from nearly every other prestigious school in comparisons of post-graduation salaries.

HMC took the top spot in early career salary rankings in Payscale’s 2016-2017 College Salary Report with an average early career salary of $78,500. The “Impact Report” on HMC’s career services website listed higher salaries, with an annual mean base salary of $93,107.79 for 2016 graduates.

In a 2016 Forbes ranking of mid-career salaries, HMC alumni ranked second with an average mid-career salary of $106,200, surpassed only by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In Payscale’s report, HMC tied for third with Princeton, with a mid-career salary of $131,000, outranked by State University of New York Maritime College and MIT in first and second place, respectively.

A recent Business Insider article about these statistics credited HMC students’ success in the workforce to the school’s Common Core curriculum. The Common Core requires students to take STEM and humanities courses. Business Insider particularly praised HMC’s emphasis on computer science in the core program.

The core “provides an academic challenge by blending the STEM disciplines … as well as including classes in writing and critical inquiry” to “give students a broad scientific foundation and the skills to think and solve problems across disciplines,” according to HMC’s website.

Common Core was designed to give students a comprehensive liberal arts education, rather than a narrowly specialized one, according to Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Jeffrey Groves.

“[HMC’s] mission came out of the belief of our founding president, trustees, and faculty members in the late 1950s that engineers and scientists should be broadly educated, as opposed to the increasingly narrow specialization that had become the norm in American education,” Groves wrote in an email to TSL.

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jon Jacobsen thinks that the Common Core contributes to HMC alumni success.

“Our broad-based core focused on developing critical thinking and interdisciplinary skills across the scientific disciplines along with effective oral and written communication within these areas and beyond certainly contributes to the competitive strength of our graduates in the job market,” Jacobsen wrote in an email to TSL.

Groves agrees.

“While the core and the humanities, social sciences, and the arts requirements are in place to serve the mission, it’s also true that they make our graduates very desirable as graduate students or employees,” Groves wrote.

Groves also believes that HMC’s broad-based education helps alumni succeed and advance quickly in their chosen fields.

“When they get into a laboratory or into industry after graduation, [their] breadth of experience helps them to see projects in a well-rounded, productive way,” Groves wrote. “They can quickly become leaders in whatever setting they find themselves in … and employers have come to recognize that.”

HMC students agreed that the college’s education is preparing them well for life after graduation. According to HMC’s Impact Report, 91.9 percent of students surveyed indicated that they were somewhat or very prepared for their careers.

“Looking ahead, I do think we’re being prepared well,” Priyanka Agarwal HM ‘20 wrote in an email to TSL. “Even just for internships, I can already see how our assignments (in CS classes since I’m intending to major in CS and intern in a CS field) are relevant to much more complicated topics than interviewers commonly ask.”

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