Over the last five years, graduates from Cornell Information Science’s Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program have found consistent success in landing quality, high-paying jobs at leading, global companies, according to recent post-graduate survey data.

Info Sci’s MPS is a one-year, interdisciplinary program with a single objective: to equip students with the skills to succeed in the information science industry. Year by year, the program continues to meet that goal. Since 2015, 85 percent of graduates from the MPS program have found employment within the first six months of graduation, earning an average starting salary of nearly $93,000.

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MPS post-graduate survey results from 2015 through 2019
MPS post-graduate survey results from 2015 through 2019

The high employment rate and starting salaries among MPS graduates highlight a recent department-led synthesis of annual post-graduate survey data from Cornell Career Services. The data come from the university’s annual post-graduate survey, in which graduates voluntarily provide information on their job status – where they landed jobs, their job titles, starting salaries, and more. The most recent information on May 2019 graduates was released in January.

Here’s what we learned about MPS graduates from 2015 through 2019:

  • 85 percent of responding graduates were employed within six months of graduation, earning an average starting salary of $92,724. The average signing bonus was $11,000. The post-graduate survey response rate was 81 percent among 308 MPS graduates.
  • Which companies and institutions hired the most MPS graduates? Deloitte Consulting, Google, Amazon, IBM, and Facebook.
  • MPS graduates see a $10,000 bump in median starting salary versus Information Science graduates with bachelor’s degrees – $90,000 versus $80,000.
  • Software engineer is the top job secured by our graduates, followed by user experience designer and software developer. 
  • The San Francisco Bay area and New York City are the top landing spots among our graduates; Almost 30 percent of graduates find jobs in the Bay area, while 25 percent land in New York City. Boston rounds out the top 3 with 8 percent of graduates. 
  • Networking and online jobs posts were overwhelmingly the most successful avenues in which our graduates landed jobs. 

“Students come to the MPS program with a strong motivation to push their career to the next level,” said Gilly Leshed, director of Info Sci’s MPS program. “To respond to this, the curriculum offers them the flexibility to mix and match courses that fit their specific career goals. This depth in their educational training is complemented with a broad perspective that students get about the technical, social, behavioral, ethical, economic, and legal aspects of information technology.”

Students also receive professional career advising guidance specifically tailored for jobs in the information science industry, Leshed added. 

As professional development advisor for Information Science, Kate Reiter offers this guidance through one-on-one advising and career workshops. She noted the academic diversity of MPS students, who enter the program with undergraduate degrees in computer science, economics, psychology, communications and many more.

“The conversations I have with students around how to frame their past experience in a way that adds value to their résumé and highlights their specific, unique skillset, are among the most rewarding,” she said. “Our students are truly impacting every area of society when they move on from Cornell.”

About the post-graduate data: Salary and employment information comes courtesy of Cornell University's Career Services post-graduate survey database. In these surveys, graduating students self-report details on their employment status in the months before and after graduation. The total number of MPS graduates from the classes of 2015 through 2019 totaled 308, however response rates from graduates vary by area of inquiry. For instance, salary information yielded an 81 percent response rate, or 251 graduates, but in other areas – like job location and means by which graduates landed jobs – the response rate was 64 percent, or 198 graduates.