m.b.a. students from top-ranked schools are increasingly naming technology firms as their most-desired employers, according to a new survey, recalling the fervor of a decade ago, when the dot-com boom attracted plenty of freshly minted business-school graduates.still, the top spot in the survey went to a consulting firm, according to employer-branding consultant universum. when asked to pick up to five ideal employers out of a list of 170, about 29% of students named mckinsey & co. and some 28% named google inc. of the top 10, four were technology companies.such companies' popularity has risen over the past few years. for example, no. 9-ranked amazon.com inc., which was chosen by 10.6% of students, was selected by 6% of students in 2008.an amazon spokeswoman said in a statement that roles for m.b.a. students at the company include operations managers and financial analysts."we've hired hundreds of m.b.a. students over the past year and expect to hire hundreds more in the year ahead," she said.some employers said they have noticed increased competition for students. "top talent is thinking about their rйsumй and about where they're going to be challenged and excited, which i think might explain some of the tech companies on the list," said russ hagey, world-wide chief talent officer for bain & co.last recruiting season, bain hired more than 350 m.b.a. graduates, and the company expects to increase that amount this year, he said. the firm ranked third among the top 10 schools analyzed, up from fourth a year earlier.of course, student interest doesn't always line up with where they actually end up working, said jessica henry rawson, director of employer development for the university of chicago's booth school of business. though 38 out of 155 respondents from booth named google as one of their top-five employers, according to universum, fewer than four students from the class of 2010 went to work there, she said. sixty of booth's students chose mckinsey, and in 2010, 24 students accepted jobs there.although major banks, such as goldman sachs group inc. and morgan stanley, continue to be top career destinations, some career counselors say they have seen students gravitate to smaller firms over the past few years.jana pompadur kierstead, head of harvard business school's career and professional development office, said that the percentage of the class of 2011 taking finance roles increased about five percentage points to 39% from the prior year, due almost completely to more students going to hedge funds and private-equity firms.opportunities for m.b.a. students in sales and trading functions at large banks, such as goldman sachs, have diminished over the past few years, which might be forcing some to look at private-equity firms or hedge funds instead, said sandra hurse, global head of revenue campus recruiting for goldman sachs.ms. hurse said that the bank expects m.b.a. hiring to be robust this year, but company officials haven't yet determined how many they will hire.stanford graduate school of business student eduardo hurtado, who is co-president of the finance and investment club, said that finance students are looking at hedge funds or venture-apital firms, rather than at traditional banks. "people don't want to spend [years] in a role before they get to have some kind of larger impact, which is something you can get in a smaller firm," he said.universum surveyed 6,297 business-school students from 72 schools between december and march. at the request of the wall street journal, they narrowed the responses to 1,028 from students attending 10 highly ranked schools. a universum spokeswoman said that the company sells the data to, or works, with between 60% and 70% of the companies on the list.