As hard as it might be to imagine sometimes, there is life after MIT, as shown by the ~141,000 MIT alumni living around the world. Here are some of the things they do next.
Career advising at MIT is formally coordinated by the office of Career Advising & Professional Development. During 2019–2020, there were over 700 unique company engagements via career fairs, on-campus recruiting, information sessions, and formal partnerships with individual companies for recruiting. Meanwhile, the MIT Career Fair, organized by undergraduates, typically attracts more more than 450 companies and 5,000 students every September.
Many students encounter job opportunities through more ad hoc means: mailing lists, class projects, informal mentorships, and chats over coffee. According to a survey of graduating students:
- 36% of 2020 bachelor’s degree graduates had internships that led to a full-time job offer.
- 46% found jobs through networking.
- 43% found jobs through a career fair.
- 87% of all graduating seniors completed internships while at MIT.
In 2020, 51% percent of undergraduates took jobs after graduation. Of the remaining students, 39% went straight to graduate school. These and other data, including popular fields, starting income, and largest employers by major, are publicly available in the Graduating Students Survey published annually by MIT Institutional Research.
39% of the Class of 2020 went directly to graduate school. The top graduate school destinations were MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, and Columbia.
However, of the students who don’t go directly to graduate school, many do so in the future. According to surveys of alumni who graduated more than 10 years prior, 75% have pursued a graduate or professional degree since graduating from MIT.
The MIT Alumni Association coordinates and supports people through events, clubs, and the Infinite Connection, an online directory open to all alumni. MIT alumni also volunteer in formal service to the Institute (e.g. by joining the Educational Council of alumni interviewers), as well as informal service consistent with the MIT mission (e.g. by mentoring FIRST teams).
MIT alumni have made major contributions to industry, government, architecture, the arts, and just about any field you can imagine. There have been too many, and varied, notable people to count in any meaningful way, though we are particularly proud of the 40 MIT alumni to have won a Nobel Prize. You can browse a list of notable alumni on Wikipedia if you like, and try to imagine what contribution you will make to the world one day as well.
It is a point of policy and principle that MIT has never awarded honorary degrees, nor does it practice legacy admissions. We believe that there is only one road to—and through—MIT. It is challenging and rewarding; indeed, it is rewarding because it is challenging, and our alumni are proud of that.
There’s a lot more to life than careers, graduate school, and startups. MIT alumni work and study, but not always in fields they thought they were going to end up in. Some stay in Cambridge, some return to their home town, state, or country, and others travel the world seeking opportunities to advance the MIT mission. There is no prescribed path after MIT: it’s a choose your own adventure novel, which is how we think life ought to be.
If you want to learn more about the vast breadth of things happening in the lives of MIT alumni, check out the Slice blog (and podcast) over at the Alumni Association.