MBA Recruiting: Tech, Consulting Up Again

Recruiting at Harvard Business School is a business onto itself

Recruiting at Harvard Business School is a business onto itself

Amazon. Apple. Google. Facebook. Microsoft.

Those big tech companies — already among the largest employers of MBA graduates — and a lot of other tech firms, including startups, have increased their recruiting efforts on business school campuses, according to a new survey of B-school career management officials.

The MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance found that the strongest increase in recruiting for full-time MBA programs was seen in technology, with slighly more than 70% of the schools reporting an increase. Consulting was second, with a 54% increase, while healthcare was third, with a 48% rise in MBA recruiting activity. The largest decrease? Not surprisingly, it was in the energy industry, hit hard by falling prices for petroleum. Energy registered a 28% decline in full-time MBA recruiting, after the 34% downturn last year.

51% OF SCHOOLS REPORT AN INCREASE IN ON-CAMPUS RECRUITING FOR FULL-TIME MBAS

Still, it was more good news for the overall full-time MBA job market. A majority of the 104 business schools responding to the survey reported an increase in on-campus recruiting activity for full-time positions compared with the same time period last spring, indicating a continued upward trend in graduate business recruiting. By company type, the largest increase in recruiting for FT MBAs was seen in startups, with schools reporting a 62% jump compared to large companies, with 500 or more employers, which had a 40% rise.

One possible tea leaf that the post-recession growth in MBA hiring could be nearing its peak: The 51% of respondents reporting increases in on-campus recruiting is down from 70% a year earlier. The Alliance also noted that 61% of the business schools reported an increase in full-time job postings for the same population, which is almost identical to the 60% that experienced an increase in the 2015 survey. Some 32% of the schools said on-campus recruiting was flat, while 14% reported a decrease, mostly in the 5% to 10% range.

No less crucial: Full-time, on-campus opportunities increased for MBAs regardless of a school’s ranking, with the biggest increases occuring at second- and third-tier schools — a sign that the inventory of the more highly selective schools is already being absorbed by MBA employers. Some 62% of the schools ranked between 50 and 100, for example, reported a rise in on-campus recruiting for full-time MBAs, while 58% of the schools ranked between 21 and 50 reported a rise. Some 47% of the top 20 schools said on-campus recruiting was still on the upswing.

On-Campus Opportunities Increased For Full-Time MBAs Regardless of Ranking

Source: MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, July 2016

Source: MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, July 2016

SPECIALIZED MASTER’S JOB MARKET STRONG AND GROWING

For the first time, the survey took into account the job market for specialized master’s programs in business and had positive news to report on that front. For specialized master’s programs, 51% saw an increase in on-campus recruiting and 53% in full-time job postings. The survey found that specialized master’s programs saw the biggest increase in recruiting from technology and financial services, with many schools also noting an increase in data analytics for these students.

It was a less rosy picture for the part-time MBA crowd. Most schools indicated that on-campus recruiting is flat for part-time MBA students, with 41% indicating an increase. Some 50% of schools saw an increase in full-time job postings for part-time students.

The increased interest in MBA hiring by tech firms is in line with heightened interest in tech by MBAs (see Where MBAs Want To Work In 2017 and 2018). Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Apple were among the largest employers of MBAs in the Class of 2010. Amazon hired 110 MBAs from just six top schools last year: Michigan Ross (34), MIT Sloan (22), Northwestern Kellogg (16), Duke Fuqua (15), Chicago Booth (14), Columbia Business School (9). From those same six schools, Microsoft employed 47 MBA grads, while Google hired 34 and Apple brought aboard 32. The number of total hires by these companies was substantially larger if you included the business schools at Harvard, Penn, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, and Yale, schools that do not reveal the number of hires by employers.

Unranked Schools More Likely To Report Full-Time MBA Job Postings Flat

Source: MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, July 2016

Source: MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, July 2016

About the Author...

John A. Byrne

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.