In the continuation of a long-term trend, business schools continue to report uncertainty from employers when hiring international students in the United States — but the numbers aren’t as stark as in previous years, a sign that the hiring frost may be thawing. Or that anticipated changes to the U.S. H1B visa lottery system may have had some positive effect.
According to the latest research from the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, a global association for individuals in graduate business career services and employers that is marking its 25th year in 2019, full-time job opportunities for international MBA students seeking work in the U.S. dropped for over 57% of responding institutions, while internship opportunities for those students decreased at over 36% of schools.
Both those numbers, however, represent a marked improvement from one year ago, when MBA CSEA’s annual report revealed that 68% of schools reported a decrease in job opportunities while 55% reported a drop in internship opportunities.
MBA, SPECIALTY MASTER’S RECRUITING MARKET ‘REMAINS SOLID’
Earlier this month MBA CSEA, which has more than 800 members representing a group of over 200 business schools and corporations around the world, announced that its 2018 MBA CSEA Fall Recruiting Trends Survey, conducted between January and February of this year — before the changes to the H1B visa system — had found that the job market for MBAs and specialty master’s degree holders is quite stable overall. Rebecca Cook, president of the nonprofit and executive director of the MBA program at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, told Poets&Quants that compared with one year earlier, the jobs picture had brightened considerably, with nearly 30% reporting an increase in on-campus opportunities for full-time MBAs and 38% reporting flat growth.
Cook noted that job opportunities for full-time international MBA students had decreased for more than half of responding institutions, but also noted that this was an improvement compared with the previous year’s survey when more than two-thirds of responding schools saw a decrease. Technology continues to be the industry experiencing the largest increase in recruiting for international students, she pointed out, with 34.9% of schools experiencing an increase (compared to 43% in the 2017 survey). Tech was followed by consulting (19.1%) and healthcare (18.3%). The biggest decrease — 47.6% — was in consumer packaged goods.
Tech was also the biggest hirer of international specialized master’s grads, with 25.9% of schools reporting an increase, followed by financial services (14.3%) and healthcare (13.0%). The biggest drop-off came in consulting (38.5%) and CPG (38.1%).
“The recruiting market for MBA and specialty master’s students remains solid, reflecting the strength seen in the global marketplaces,” Cook told P&Q. “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.”
JOB OPPORTUNITIES FALL AT 45% OF SCHOOLS FOR INTL SPECIALTY MASTER’S GRADS
Eighty-four total schools responded to the MBA CSEA survey, representing 79 full-time MBA programs, 40 part-time MBA programs, and 44 specialized master’s programs, giving the survey a 42% response rate. Other highlights from the results:
- The nonprofit sector saw the largest increase in the number of schools reporting a decrease of full-time recruiting activity (30.4% versus 20.4% from 2017).
- Job opportunities for specialized master’s international students decreased for over 45% of the responding institutions. This is consistent with those who reported a decrease in the 2017 survey (43%).
- The smallest increases for hiring international MBAs — all sub-5% — came in the energy, media/entertainment, hospitality, and real estate sectors.