What Employers Want From Their MBAs

Separately, GMAC researchers asked the recruiters what specific skills, abilities and knowledge they most sought in MBAs. Employers said they are seeking strong strategic skills, core business knowledge, the ability to manage change and the decision-making process, and technical or quantitative skills. Knowledge, Skills & Abilities Employers Seek in 2011 MBA Hires

Desired Knowledge, Skills & Abilities in MBA Hires Percentage
Communication skills 86%
Strategic skills 67%
Proven ability to perform 66%
Core business knowledge 63%
Ability to manage change 61%
Ability to manage decision-making processes 59%
Technical/quantitative skills 59%
Ability to apply business discipline to any job/function 51%
Strong academic performance 45%
Ability to establish business structure, processes 45%
Sufficient years of work experience 41%
Ability to manage the task environment 40%
Same/related industry in prior work experience 39%
Negotiation skills 34%
Similar occupation in prior work experience 31%
Ability to manage subject matter or technical experts 29%
Ability to manage human capital 25%
Similar job level in prior work experience 20%
Specific language, country/cultural expertise 17%

Source: GMAC 2011 Corporate Recruiters Survey

GMAC said that differences seen across world regions in employer preferences regarding MBA graduates’ skills, knowledge, and abilities suggest that both U.S. and Asian companies seek experienced and skilled MBA candidates to fill jobs. Companies in the United States are significantly more likely than European and Asian companies to seek candidates with a proven ability to perform and technical and/or quantitative skills. Asian and U.S. companies also are significantly more likely than European companies to seek candidates with an ability to apply business discipline to any job or function and a similar job level in prior work experience. Asian and European companies are significantly more likely than U.S. companies to seek candidates with good negotiation skills. European companies (40%) are significantly more likely to seek specific language, country, and/or cultural expertise than companies in any other world region.

The survey also measured recruiter expectations about work experience. In 2011, only 27% of respondents expect to hire MBA candidates who have less than three years of work experience, according to GMAC. On the other hand, 41% of hiring companies in 2011 seek three to four years of experience, on average, in their new MBA hires. Slightly less than a third (32%) desire five or more years of work experience in MBA job candidates.  In addition, 73% of US-based employers did not hire a candidate in 2010 who required extra legal documentation; 17% indicated they hired one to two such candidates; and 10% hired three or more. One of the best ways for job candidates to prove themselves is to intern at a company in their targeted industry of employment.

In 2010, the average number of interns employed per company, worldwide, was 28. Of those interns, an average of 20 applied for a full-time position; of those who applied for a full-time position, 12 received a full-time job offer. Companies in the consulting industry employ the highest number of interns (50.7); companies in the energy/utilities industry the lowest (8.1). Companies in the consulting and high technology industries are the most likely to extend a job offer to interns who apply for full-time positions . Companies in Asia employed the greatest number of interns on average in 2010 (75.2) and received significantly more applications from their interns for full-time positions compared to Europe, the United States and other world regions.Comparing actual hiring rates for interns who apply for full-time positions, however, companies in Asia had the lowest hiring rate (40%) in 2010 compared with employers in Europe (64%) and those in the United States (65%)

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