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Shirking Tradition

CALIFORNIA | SOUTHLAND FOCUS

June 04, 1999|Nancy Rivera Brooks

Internet companies are hot not just on Wall Street but also among the ranks of MBA students.

Traditional MBA employers, investment banks and consulting firms, and their traditionally sizable starting salaries have been losing out at an increasing rate to Internet start-ups and their stock options, according to UCLA's Anderson School.

More than 22% of graduating Anderson MBA students landed or are seeking a position in high tech, said Alysa Polkes, director of the Anderson School Career Management Center. That's more than double the number of students interested in high tech in 1997 and 1998 and nearly triple the number in 1995 and 1996.

This year's median starting salary package, which includes things such as signing bonuses, dropped to $97,500 from $104,600 in 1998, reflecting the trend toward deferred compensation in the form of stock options.

"These students are turning down median starting salary packages from consulting firms of nearly $120,000 to take a chance on a start-up," Polkes said. "But they clearly feel the risk is worth it."

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