THE OUTLOOK FOR SPECIALIZED MASTER’S GRADUATES THIS YEAR
“This survey brings to light the enhanced opportunities our member school career services offices bring to graduate business students,” said Damian Zikakis, MBA CSEA president and director of career services at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. “Nearly 9 in 10 employers that work with career services plan to conduct on-campus recruitment this year, giving students a tremendous advantage in finding job opportunities that are a great match for their talent and aspirations.”
The report also takes the pulse of the job market for specialized master’s graduates in business, a significant growth area for business schools. Overall, GMAC said that a quarter or more of corporate recruiters are actively seeking graduates of the following programs: Master in Supply Chain Management (27% of respondents), Master in Data Analytics (26%), and Master in Marketing (24%).
Graduates of Master in Supply Chain Management programs are in greatest demand among companies in the manufacturing (42% of respondents), technology (39%), and products and services (37%) sectors. Forty-three percent of technology firms plan to recruit new hires directly from Master in Data Analytics programs, nearly twice the share of companies in other industries that plan to hire these candidates (see P&Q Specialized Master’s In Business Directory).
DEMAND FOR MBAS UP ACROSS ALL INDUSTRIES, INCLUDING CONSULTING & FINANCE
Among consulting firms that plan to hire recent MBA graduates, 59% told GMAC they will hire more of these candidates, 32% will maintain last year’s hiring numbers, and 9% will reduce the number of MBA hires. Some 40% of the responding financial services companies that plan to hire MBAs in 2016 will increase the number they hire over last year, 52% will maintain 2015 hiring counts, while only 8% will hire fewer MBAs.
In tech, 52% of the companies plan to increase the number of MBAs they will hire in 2016, 36% plan to hire the same number as last year, and 11% will hire fewer. GMAC said that near 9 in 10 technology companies will hire business graduates to fill positions in business development (88%) and marketing and sales (87%). Other top functions include data analytics (83%), operations and logistics (77%), finance (76%), HR/organizational management (74%), IT/MIS (73%), accounting (73%), and general management (72%).
The health care sector continues to surge and shows the highest level of demand for MBA graduates, with 100% of employers planning to hire this year. Some 42% of these hiring firms said they will increase the number of recent MBA graduates they hire compared with 2015, while 48% will maintain their hiring numbers, and 10% will hire fewer. The most common job functions that health care and pharmaceutical companies will fill with MBAs include business development (88% of respondents), marketing and sales (85%), general management (83%), and finance (82%).
OUTLOOK FOR SUMMER INTERNSHIPS NEXT YEAR LOOKS STRONG AS WELL
Three-quarters (77%) of the employers responding to the GMAC survey reported that their
companies will offer internships to graduate-level business students in 2016. MBA internships will be the most prevalent, with 67% of companies expecting to offer internships to MBA candidates, while just a quarter (23%) of companies plan to offer internships to non-MBA business master’s students.
By region, the percentage of employers planning to offer internships in 2016 to MBA candidates are as follows: United States (76%), Asia-Pacific (47%), Europe (36%), and Latin America (33%). The percentage of employers planning to offer internships in 2016 to non-MBA business master’s candidates, by region, include: Europe (45%), Asia-Pacific (37%), the United States (20%), and Latin America (19%).
Internships are often critical to gaining a full-time job offer by graduation. Overall, in 2015, GMAC said that 93% of employers that offered MBA internships and 86% of those that offered internships to non-MBA business master’s students report hiring these candidates for full-time positions. Not all interns were offered full-time positions, however. Of companies that offered MBA internships in 2015, 57% hired more than half of their interns. For companies that offered internships to non-MBA business master’s students, GMAC found that 38% of employers hired more than half of their intern pool for full-time positions in 2015.
GMAC ALSO COMMISSIONED A BROADER EMPLOYER SURVEY FOR THE FIRST TIME
For the first time, GMAC broadened its reach among employers by conducting a supplemental survey of an employer sample purchased through an outside private vendor. This General Population Employer Survey yielded responses from 1,282 companies located in the six largest markets for graduate management education — China, France, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The results show overall that half of the companies responding to the supplemental survey have plans to hire an MBA in 2016 — ranging from 35% of companies in Germany to 70% of companies in China and 66% in India.
In the U.S., more than half, or 52% of the companies said they plan to hire an MBA. The European countries in the sample tended to trail all other regions in the world. In the United Kingdom, only 38% of the companies planned to hire an MBA, while in France it was 39%. “It’s not surprising, considering how Europe is still in a sense recovering from the recession,” Schoenfeld explains. “Those numbers are a little lower than what we found in our corporate recruiter survey (of companies that are known to recruit at business schools). “What’s interesting is that in France and Germany, companies are more interested in the pre-experience master’s programs. They’ve been around longer, and they are more known in those countries.”
GMAC conducted this second survey because the organization’s researchers were interested in getting some baseline data on a wider range of companies, including those that do not routinely recruit from business schools. “In this general population sample, three-quarters of these companies value the MBA because it provides a diversified skill set to help grow their companies and expand their markets,” says Schoenfeld of GMAC.
THE TRAITS COMPANIES SEEK IN BUSINESS SCHOOL GRADUATES
Among 12 traits that survey respondents were asked to rank as most important, a candidate’s ability to fit within an organizational culture was ranked highest overall among all categories, followed by the ability to work in teams, and the ability to make an impact. Across industries, these same attributes ranked among the top five most important. Leadership potential stood out as the highest-ranked attribute within the energy and utilities sector, and ranked second most important in the health care and pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and products and services sectors. Overall, executive presence, the ability to build external networks, and the ability to work independently were the three lowest-ranked traits.
“Culture fit was No. 1 in three industries, consulting, finance, and health care,” Schoenfeld adds. “In technology, manufacturing, and nonprofits, organizations are looking for people who can come in and make an impact immediately.”