It is no secret Europe’s economy has struggled recently—especially in Spain. A little more than one-fourth of Spaniards are unemployed. That is second most in Europe behind Greece. The country’s debt remains high and the growth seems mired in a low gear. So it’s somewhat surprising and counter-intuitive for IESE at the University of Navarra to churn out impressive employment figures for its graduating MBAs.
IESE said its 2014 graduates had a placement rate of 90% (consistent with 2012 and 2013 percentages) three months after graduation. Placement included companies from 33 different countries. The kicker? More than 65% of those jobs were in Europe and 22% chose to stay in Spain. This is nearly a 10% increase in students who chose to remain in Europe compared to last year.
Median salaries were essentially flat in both Euros and dollars: €89,950 (2013) versus €89,898 (2014) and $112,206 (2013) versus $112,164 (2014).
“The companies we largely have relationships with are in Europe,” explains Javier Munoz, former executive director of career services at IESE and current executive director of alumni. “We consistently place our students in the European market but we are also showing good numbers in Asia and North and South America.”
A CAREER SERVICES DEPARTMENT ON STEROIDS
After Europe, IESE graduates went to work in Asia (12.9%), the United States (11.1%), and Latin America (9.3%) the most. The United States has shown particular interest in IESE grads, increasing the percentage from 8% in 2013.
Munoz said the success stems from three main factors. First, the career services department is large. For the roughly 600 MBA students attending IESE, there are 25 career service staff members on campus, throughout Europe, Asia and in New York. Out of the 25 staff members, Munoz says about 16 of them have MBAs themselves.
Next, the department began collaborating with other top MBA programs in Europe to create events for companies and MBAs to meet. Munoz says the most important change, however, is IESE’s significant expansion of the amount of career events and forums within its own program. “When I joined the staff three years ago, we had one career forum,” says Munoz. “This past year we had seven.”
THE AMAZON FACTOR
The top industry for graduates was information and communications technologies. More than 20% of graduates accepted jobs in that industry which includes e-commerce (11.1%), IT (7.6%), and telecom (2.7%). The companies making the most hires were McKinsey, Amazon, and Citigroup.
Munoz said the American tech giants including Amazon, Google, and Facebook have ramped up their recruiting efforts and interest in Europe. “Amazon is one of the top two or three companies to hire MBAs from Europe right now,” Munoz says. “The large online companies are very actively recruiting in the MBA world and they do it well.”
Munoz accounted the push for IESE MBAs to the global nature of the program. “We have students coming from 65 countries,” Munoz says. “They are really coming from those regions to our campus. They learn how to work together and negotiate together. They become global players and are very sensitive to working across cultures and can often speak multiple languages. Companies are very attracted to this.”