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B-Schools Weigh In: 2021 Will Be a Year of Recovery for MBA Grads

B-Schools Weigh In: 2021 Will Be a Year of Recovery for MBA Grads main image

So far, 2020 has been one of the most disruptive years in recent history – especially for business students.

After the coronavirus pandemic halted job opportunities for professionals across industries, a sense of insecurity spread among b-school candidates and graduates alike.

However, recent GMAC data shows MBA hiring is bouncing back after a serious slump, with the number of employers planning to recruit b-school grads increasing monthly. But will it be enough for the job market to recover?

TopMBA caught up with b-school representatives to find out whether MBA grads should be optimistic, and what we should expect from 2021.

The evergreen value of the MBA

Business schools have no doubt: the value of the MBA is here to say.

Liza Kirkpatrick, Managing Director of the Career Management Center at the Kellogg School of Management, said: “We see the value of the MBA […] remaining very strong.  Companies are looking to emerge from the current disruption in a position of strength which includes having the best talent pipeline as a key to that success.

“Employers will continue to seek out candidates who are eager to make an immediate impact.”

These sentiments are echoed by Lisa Umenyiora, Executive Director of Careers at Imperial College Business School.

She said: “An MBA has long-term value. […] The MBA gives students the ability to focus on the big picture even when it means dealing with ambiguity, as it provides an umbrella of knowledge about how business works.”

Developing the right skillset

Most b-school recruiters and representatives cite the MBA skillset as essential to land jobs in times of crisis.

Lisa Umenyiora said: “Skills learnt on the MBA, including leading in a tech-driven world, managing change, comms & tech skills, or an entrepreneurial mindset, continue to be much sought-after and are more relevant than ever in today’s market.”

Lyla Korhani, Director of Career Services at Rotman School of Management, agrees.

She said: “Organizations need to hire talent that have strategic thinking, problem solving, communication skills, and the ability to be flexible and adaptable to change. They also need to have the skills to navigate an online work environment.

“Business schools prepare students to solve a variety of real-world problems, both individually and as a team. Moreover, MBAs learn the latest skills and trends across industry to help them bring real value to an organization looking for more creative ways of working, which is especially important as all organizations navigate the impact of coronavirus.”

These specific skillsets are especially relevant at a time of technological advancements, where key players of the business world have more opportunities to connect virtually.

As Marie Courtois, Director of the Career Center at HEC Paris School of Management, said: “It’s a good time to update and refresh your skills, and a great time to rethink how we do business.  An MBA teaches you to be agile and adaptable and exposes you to business across cultures.”

2021: a year of recovery

Business schools overwhelmingly agree that 2021 will be a year of recovery for the MBA job market. However, recruiters also recommend that graduates keep an open mind, as opportunities might arise in non-traditional sectors for MBAs.

Liza Kirkpatrick said: “Amidst the significant disruption of 2020, the need for leaders who can be prepared for change is evident […]: a leader who has been shaped by and embodies the essential qualities of creativity and collaboration, and a leader who leverages empathy in order to drive impact.”

Lyla Korhani added: “We have seen a decline in job opportunities mainly in the financial services and banking sectors as these markets were hit the hardest by COVID-19. At the same time, we’ve seen more growth in other industries that are emerging such as technology and healthcare.

“It’s allowed us […] to educate our students on opportunities beyond the banking sector and consulting sectors, which is where our students have traditionally landed.”

Written by Linda Mohamed

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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