Exclusive Study: Nearly Half Of MBA Employment Start Dates Delayed

30 Rockefeller Plaza, Deloitte’s New York headquarters

According to qualitative data gathered from P&Q‘s survey, industries experiencing the most delays are consulting and finance.

Deloitte, one of the top MBA-employing consulting firms, has delayed the start date of senior consultants all the way to January 11, 2021 — a longer delay than pretty much all other major firms.

“It is extremely important to us that we onboard our new hires in an environment where they can thrive,” reads an email from Deloitte to newly hired MBAs. The email adds that hires can expect a following email in the next two to three weeks with the new start date and stipend. The email was forwarded to Poets&Quants by one of the survey respondents.

One graduating student from a top American business school starting at Deloitte agreed to speak with us under the condition of anonymity. The student accepted the full-time position after interning at Deloitte last summer, after having an “amazing experience” during the internship and with their team at Deloitte.

“From what I’ve heard, no other firm has had a delayed start date as far back as Deloitte,” the MBA graduate said, noting one of their friends starting at McKinsey this year got a delayed start to October. Initially, the graduating MBA said, they felt disappointed with the date that was so much later than other consulting firms.

But they are feeling better that an expectation has been set instead of counting on starting in the fall and then potentially experiencing another delay if a second wave of coronavirus takes place in the fall like some experts are predicting.

“It’s still disappointing and stressful financially and mentally,” the MBA graduate says. Consultants starting at Deloitte in January have been cleared to do some independent consulting up until the start date, which the candidate says they’ll do.

‘THE DAY THAT REALLY MATTERS IS MY FIRST DAY OF WORK’

Survey respondents reported the tech industry not being hit quite as hard so far. Guilherme Souza is graduating from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and will be moving in the next couple of weeks across the country to Seattle where he will start his position at Microsoft. Originally from Brazil, Souza worked as a finance manager MBA intern at Microsoft last summer. He was offered a full-time position on the last day of his internship and committed to it by the beginning of October.

When the coronavirus pandemic began escalating in mid-March, Souza says as an international student, there were two levels of concern — immigration and keeping his offer with Microsoft. “For international students, it’s much more stressful,” Souza says. “Because the clock’s ticking. If they don’t get a job, they have to leave the country.” However, by April, Souza says Microsoft got in touch with him and his cohort to let them know they planned on starting the same. “Business as usual, nothing has changed,” Souza says, describing the email. “They are suffering, but their revenues are more sustainable at this time.”

Souza says he’s feeling fortunate, grateful, and “a little bit lucky” that his job has largely gone unimpacted. He knows many classmates that have had their start dates pushed back into the fall and into early 2021. Still, Souza says he’s not taking anything for granted.

“The day that really matters is my first day of work,” Souza says. “Because that’s when I know for sure I’ll really be working. There’s nothing for me to be concerned about, but that’s when I’ll feel better. It’s all very unpredictable.”

‘IT’S A TRICKY SPOT WE’RE ALL IN RIGHT NOW’

Healthcare is another industry to be hit particularly hard. Chris Martell, who just completed the executive MBA program at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business is focused on finding a position in healthcare management and finance. “The broad job market was very open prior to the pandemic,” Martell says. “There were countless opportunities.” Martell was “in the pipeline” for many of those positions before coronavirus really escalated. “What I found very quickly was a lot of those pipelines closing off,” he says.

“It’s still a need in the organization, just not right now,” Martell says of the feedback he began receiving between mid-March and mid-April. “That’s when organizations started making long-term decisions based on the current pandemic,” he says.

And right now, Martell says, nurses and clinical staff seem to be the priority is his industry of choice.

“It’s a tricky spot we’re all in right now,” Martell says.

MBAs INCREASINGLY OPEN TO CHANGING DESIRED INDUSTRIES BECAUSE OF PANDEMIC

Many MBAs have already opened up their search to include different jobs or industries, the survey data say. Of those that responded without positions already locked in, 85.33% said they’d be willing to accept a job that is not their first choice because of the pandemic.

More than a fifth (21.77%) of respondents say they have already changed their desired job industry because of the pandemic. And nearly two-thirds (64.16%) say they are willing to change their desired industry because of the pandemic.

 

DON’T MISS: WHAT MBA GRADS MAKE IN THEIR FIRST JOBS or THE CORONAVIRUS COMMENCEMENTS: MBAs CELEBRATE IN QUARANTINE 

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