How Recruiters Rank Business Schools By Industry & Skill Set


But the recruiter data doesn’t just stop with school-specific metrics. It also looks at the attributes that appeal to recruiters, all broken down by industry. In the same survey, Bloomberg Businessweek asked recruiters to pick from 14 different skills, where they chose the five most important and the five hardest to find skills. In addition, recruiters scored 10 schools where “they had significant recruiting experience in the last five years,” using the same 1-5 scale to show how these schools performed in relation to developing these skills.

In doing so, Bloomberg Businessweek was able to illustrate a big picture “skills gap,” which it plotted on four quadrants, ranging in scale from “more common, less desired” to “Less Common, More Desired.”

Like last year, communication was again the most desired – and elusive – trait according to b-school recruiters. Mind you, Bloomberg Businessweek never specifies what “communication” exactly entails. But it is probably safe to infer that it includes fundamentals like being clear and succinct, making regular follow up, listening, asking good questions, and delivering a message in a non-offensive manner. While communication is more common than several other skills, such as strategic thinking and leadership, it is still far more coveted than anything else.


Industry-wise, communication is most sought after in the energy, pharmaceuticals, and transportation industries, with the least importance placed in consumer products and retail – the two industries where a dialogue between marketer and consumer are most important. However, this may not be indicative that a gap between marketers and consumers. Instead, it could be that communication skills are a given in these industries. Reinforcing this point is Bloomberg Businessweek’s industry-specific data on which skills are hardest to find. Here, consumer and retail firms reported having an easier time finding graduates with such skills than the other nine industries surveyed. As a result, recruiters in the consumer and retail markets were able focus on other areas, such as leadership (consumer products) and analytical thinking (retail).

Recruiters also listed strategic thinking, leadership skills and creative problem solving among the least common and most desirable attributes by recruiters. The chemicals and retail industries placed the highest values on strategic thinking. Over 82% of energy recruiters emphasized analytical thinking – the highest percentage of any attribute in any industry. And the tech and consulting industries were the biggest advocates for students with creative problem solving skills.

At the same time, the ability to find specific traits was seemingly industry contingent. For example, decision-making ranks among the five hardest-to-find attributes in the consumer sector, yet is among the easiest to unearth in the chemical and transportation industries.  Despite the pomp-and-circumstance paid to buzzwords like “entrepreneurship” and “global mindset,” they often rank among the least valuable skills in recruiter surveys across the board.


Go to next page to see how business schools fare according to particular skills

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.