Spain’s MBAs Doing Well In Weak Economy

The latest proof of the value of an MBA degree?

In what is arguably the weakest economy in the developed world, where nearly one in four people are unemployed, look at how this year’s crop of MBAs from a couple of top business schools in Spain have fared.

IESE at the University of Narvarra and ESADE business schools reported yesterday (Oct. 22) that 90% or more of their graduating MBAs this year found jobs within three months of graduation—and the main destination was Spain where the unemployment rate was a record 24.6% in the second quarter of the year.

IESE in Barcelona and Madrid is ranked as the fifth best MBA program outside the U.S. by Poets&Quants, while ESADE in Barcelona is ranked sixth. A third business school in Spain, IE Business School in Madrid, is ranked third but has not yet reported placement statistics for its Class of 2012.


IESE said that 65% of its MBA graduates were placed in European countries, including 30% in Spain, 14% in U.K. and 7% in Germany. Interestingly, the school said, half of the graduates placed in Spain this year are foreign students, indicating the country is still perceived as rich in opportunities for MBA talent.

The three-month placement rate at IESE matches last year’s 90% number for the Class of 2011. For that class, 82% reported receiving their first job offer at graduation. The ESADE numbers, however, are a vast improvement over the previous year. For the Class of 2011, ESADE reported that only 50% of its MBA grads had job offers at graduation and only 63% had offers three months after graduation.

The companies hiring IESE´s MBA graduates this year included Natural Gas, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and – which recruited the most talent at IESE. This year IESE said it doubled the number of students placed in both the U.S. (to 6%) and Asia (12%.)

It was a similar story at ESADE, which reported that “more than 90%” of its MBA grads landed jobs three months after graduation. Specifically, 80% of ESADE’s MBA graduates took a job outside of Spain. Of these, 59% found work elsewhere in Europe, 16% in Latin America, 12% in Asia, 8% in North America and 3% in the Middle East. Of ESADE’s MSc graduates, 85% found a job outside of Spain, primarily in Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and France.


According to the most recent job placement statistics, most of ESADE’s MBA graduates found employment in the sectors of consulting (19%) and technology (19%), followed by pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and healthcare (13%), financial services (12%), consumer goods (11%), and industry (11%).

Another factor that remained practically unchanged in 2012 despite the weak economy is the average salary offered to ESADE’s MBA graduates: €65,000 plus a bonus of €17,000. This figure is 20% higher than the average salary received by ESADE MBA graduates in 2009, the school said.

Both schools reported that things are still looking good for next year’s class of MBAs. For the first time ever, IESE is hosting two career forums in one academic year. The school says that career forums are its most important MBA recruiting event, with over 45 of the world’s top companies attending each event. Last year more than half of the year’s recruitment took place as a result of the forum.


Due to recruiter demand, the first career forum is taking place this week (October 22nd-24th) so participating companies can introduce themselves to IESE´s 560 MBA students at the start of the academic year. The second forum (February 4th & 5th) takes place four months before graduation, closer to students´ decision making in terms of full-time and internship opportunities.

ESADE, meantime, said that nearly 80 companies are visiting the school this month. This week, around 40 industry-leading multinationals – including Amazon, Microsoft, the Santander Group, Barclays, Desigual, L’Oréal, Samsung, IBM, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Emerson, Novartis and the Clinton Health Access Initiative – are sending representatives to ESADE’s Sant Cugat campus to recruit future executives at the school’s Fall MBA Career Week.

The top recruiters of this year’s MBA students were Amazon (10 graduates), Adidas (3), Citi (3), Johnson & Johnson (3), Bain (2), British Telecom (2), Deloitte (2), IBM (2), Samsung (2) and the Werfen Group (2).

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