Hello, future. Nice to meet you. Full-time MBA students at leading business schools increasingly face the prospect — welcome or not — that they may go to work for their next employer having never met their boss in person. Virtual or e-recruiting is on the rise, with 78% of schools in a new survey reporting an increase in employer use of virtual interviewing technologies in the last year. Similar to full-time MBA programs, 61% of schools experienced an increase in virtual recruiting from employers.
“You know, recruiting is expensive,” says Rebecca Cook, executive director of the MBA program at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and president of the nonprofit MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, which this month released its 2018 Fall Recruiting Trends Survey. “And for companies to come and send several people to a school, with their travel expenses plus time away from the office, is a costly prospect. So I think the increase in virtual recruiting makes sense, especially for technology companies, because that’s what they do.”
Investment banks, too, dipped a toe in the virtual recruiting waters, Cook tells Poets&Quants — only to (partially) draw it back again.
‘SOLID’ RECRUITING MARKET FOR MBA & SPECIALTY MASTER’S STUDENTS
MBA CSEA’s annual report contains responses to recruiting questions from 84 member schools, 86% of which are in the United States, completed between January and February 2019. Overall, the survey found a stable job market for MBAs and specialty master’s graduates compared with the same time period last fall, with nearly 30% reporting an increase in on-campus opportunities for full-time MBAs versus last year, and 38% reporting flat growth; in the 2017 survey, 37% reported an increase.
Job opportunities for full-time international MBA students, however, decreased for over 57% of the responding institutions, compared with 68% of schools experiencing a decrease in the 2017 survey. Technology continues to be the industry experiencing the largest increase in recruiting for international students, with 35% of schools experiencing an increase (compared to 43% in last year’s survey).
“The recruiting market for MBA and specialty master’s students remains solid, reflecting the strength seen in the global marketplaces,” Cook says. “We continue to see changes in how employers are choosing to recruit, in terms of on/off campus and live versus virtual recruiting, but the important thing is that employers are still finding value in hiring students with MBA and other graduate business degrees.”
‘HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU REALLY WANT TO GO WORK THERE?’
Employers are finding the value they are looking for, but sometimes — as in the case of virtual recruiting — students generally don’t care for the process, Cook says.
“I think companies will continue to try it, but I don’t know if it will take over,” she says. “Because how do you get to know somebody that way? Well, there are different kinds of virtual recruiting. There’s the person where you’re actually talking to somebody on the phone, or you’re video conferencing with someone. Or there’s the pre-recorded interview type, where you and the company set up and they say, ‘These are the five questions you need to answer,’ and those are recorded and then the student has to record it. The students definitely don’t like that one.
“You know, it’s not a person, so how do you get to know somebody? How do you know if you like the company? Or if you get along with them? For the students who go through the entire recruiting process via phone, never see the company, never actually physically meet somebody — how do you know you really want to go work there?”
See more from the 2018 MBA CSEA Fall Recruiting Trends Survey on page 2.