Haslam’s 2020-21 Graduating Class Achieves Record Student Outcomes, Salaries

February 15, 2022

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business 2020-21 cohort set records for average starting salary and outcomes. Within six months of graduation, 96 percent of graduates either landed jobs or succeeded in pursuing further education, eclipsing the previous record of 93 percent. The average starting salary for new hires rose to $53,467, surpassing a previous high of $53,410.

Personal Perspectives

Nicholas Crabtree, a May 2021 marketing graduate, says Haslam equipped him to be successful in his internship and career search.

“I received offers from multiple companies, including my number one choice,” Crabtree, now a sales management associate with PepsiCo in Collierville, says. “If not for the University of Tennessee and the great Haslam staff on Rocky Top, I would not have been as prepared to take the next steps in my career.”

The Haslam Undergraduate Professional & Career Development team, part of the Center for Student Engagement and Success, enables students like Crabtree to engage in career and professional preparation through programming such as career fairs, networking opportunities, interview coaching and advice on how to tell their professional stories. Additionally, the center provides students experiential learning opportunities through internships, study abroad and student organizations, which help them develop skills outside the classroom. Jeannine Berge, director of Undergraduate Professional & Career Development, says such services complement the undergraduates’ own industriousness and coursework, contributing to their success upon graduation.

“Despite COVID-19’s disruptions, our 2020-21 graduates were in high demand,” Berge says. “Students of exceptional quality are attracted to Haslam’s outstanding academic environment, and our faculty train them in their fields to be ready to contribute to the companies that hire them on their first day on the job. It’s no surprise that leading firms recruit our graduates.”

In addition to PepsiCo/Frito Lay, Inc., companies hiring Haslam graduates during the previous academic year included prominent organizations like 21st Mortgage, Amazon, TVA, Pilot Co., Dell Technologies and E & J Gallo Winery. For Amanda Bussey, sales recruiting manager at Gallo, Haslam business students were the benchmark to compare other students against in 2021.

“They were prepared, professional and eager, making this past semester even more of a competition to hire the best talent,” Bussey says.

By the Numbers

Out of 1,133 graduates, 1,058 reported their post-graduate status to the college. Of those, 822 were employed full-time and 13 part-time, 169 were pursuing additional education, 42 were still seeking employment or education opportunities and just 12 were out of the market. Salaries ranged from a high of $126,291 to a low of $20,800. Geographically, 64 percent of graduates stayed in Tennessee, 17 percent moved elsewhere in the South, 18 percent dispersed across the nation and 1 percent relocated internationally.

This information is drawn from first-destination data self-reported by students in their career profiles as of November 30, 2021. First-destination data is feedback from graduating seniors on their post-graduation plans, collected along guidelines set by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. In 2020-21, the self-report response rate of Haslam’s graduating seniors set a record at 93 percent, up from 90 percent in 2019.


Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist, rmcnutt4@utk.edu