MBA Job Market Looking Healthy Once More

MBA CSEA MBA job survey

In case there was any doubt about the strength of the ongoing recovery of the MBA job market, this week brings compelling evidence that 2014 saw a surge in recruiting activity on campus, with 2015 expected to be even better.

New research by the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA) finds that a strong majority of schools responding to its fall recruiting trends survey reported an increase in recruiting activity and MBA job postings for full-time positions compared with a year earlier.

In all, 64% of respondents reported an increase in on-campus recruiting for full-time positions, up from 23% a year earlier, while 76% reported an increase in full-time job postings compared with 56% the previous year.  Internship hiring is up as well, with 66% of respondents reporting a year-on-year increase in recruiting activity and 71% reporting an increase in internship postings, in both cases an increase from a year earlier.

Damian Zikakis, MBA CSEA president and director of career services at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, called 2014 “a very strong year” for the MBA job market.

Signs point to an even better 2015 says MBA CSEA president

“We are delighted to see the economic recovery continue, resulting in another year of increasing opportunities for MBA students,” Zikakis said. “The increases noted by the majority of participating schools suggest that the 2015 results will be even better. Schools also reported increases in scheduled internship recruiting as well, indicating that the positive hiring trends are continuing into the future.”

The MBA CSEA findings, based on a January survey of 77 mostly North American programs, are in line with those in the QS TopMBA Jobs & Salary Trends Report 2014/15. That report found a 10% increase in demand for MBAs in North America in 2014, with a 9% increase predicted for 2015. Worldwide demand for MBAs has grown at an annual rate of 10% since 2012.

In the MBA CSEA survey, the biggest increases reported came in financial services, but consulting, consumer products, and manufacturing also experienced an uptick. That finding is at odds with the experience of top US schools. In 2014, the percentage of graduating class members taking an MBA job in the finance sector declined at Wharton, Tuck, Darden, Kenan-Flagler, McCombs, Goizueta, and Vanderbilt—while the number of graduates taking jobs in technology increased.

Startups are scooping up more graduates at nearly half the schools surveyed, 47%, while increases in recruiting activity by small US firms were reported by 38% of respondents and that of mid-size companies was reported to have increased by 55%. Another 23% of respondents said recruiting for international students was up, owing to a surge in activity by technology and consulting firms.

MBA CSEA also reported that it wasn’t the highest-ranked schools that reported the biggest surge in overall hiring activity. Only 57% of top programs, ranked from one to 20, reported an increase in on-campus recruiting, while 81% of those ranked 21 to 50 and 67% of those ranked 51 to 100 reported increases.

Written by Louis Lavelle
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