Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
London Business School | Mr. FANG Strategy
GMAT 740, GPA 2.9
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Wharton | Mr. Hopeful Fund Manager
GMAT 770, GPA 8.52/10
MIT Sloan | Mr. Healthtech Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.44
Harvard | Mr. Navy Nuke
GMAT 710, GPA 3.66
London Business School | Mr. LGBT Pivot
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Rice Jones | Mr. Student Government
GMAT 34 (ACT for Early Admit Program), GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Columbia | Mr. Energy Italian
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. SME Consulting
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55 (as per WES paid service)
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Quality Assurance
GMAT 770, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8

What Employers Want From Their MBAs

When corporate recruiters interview MBA students, what exactly are they looking for? And what do they ultimately expect when they hire an MBA?

From a list of desired traits, knowledge, skills and abilities, you’d think they were looking for Superman and Wonder Woman, according to a new study of employer expectations released yesterday (May 10) by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). The report is based on the opinions of 1,509 corporate recruiters who hire MBAs at 905 companies in 51 countries. Each survey respondent was asked to check off the five most desired traits or skills he or she wants to see in an MBA.

The top five traits employers are seeking in 2011 MBA hires are initiative, professionalism, motivation, integrity, and the ability to deal effectively with pressure and unexpected obstacles. The top five skills and abilities? Communication skills, strategic skills, the proven ability to perform, core business knowledge, and the ability to manage change.

And when it comes to work experience, the largest single number of recruiters, slightly more than four in every ten companies, want their new MBA hires to have between three to four years of experience on their resumes.

Yet, it was an MBA’s ability to communicate with others–something that most B-schools have been working hard at for more than a decade–that trumped every other sought after trait or skill. Some 86% of employers who responded to GMAC’s survey said strong comunication skills are the single most important ability they seek in an MBA. “Communication skills has definitely gone up in importance,” says Michelle Sparkman Renz, director of research communications for GMAC. “Core business knowledge is always high but some of these other traits appear to be increasingly desired by recruiters.”

And what do students want? Adds Renz: “It’s always been that students wanted challenging and interesting work. Today, grads want room for growth. They want advancement opportunities. They want that proving ground or test turf for their business knowledge. For the first time ever, that is above challenging work.” The survey of MBA employers found that three-quarters of them seek initiative (77%), professionalism (77%), motivation (76%), integrity (76%), ability to deal effectively with pressure (75%), and an achievement goal orientation (74%) in their new MBA hires.

Desired Traits Employers Seek in New 2011 MBA Hires

Desired Trait in 2011 MBA HIresPercentage
Initiative77%
Professionalism77%
Motivation76%
Integrity76%
Ability to deal effectively with pressure/obstacles75%
Achievement/goal orientation74%
Innovation/creativity68%
Adaptability68%
Collaboration65%
Efficiency49%
Listening ability48%
Discipline45%
Persuasiveness39%
Cross-cultural sensitivity39%
Diplomacy/tact33%
Capacity and willingness to follow a leader30%
Empathy25%
Delegation skills21%

Source: GMAC 2011 Corporate Recruiters Report

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.