Survey: 9 in 10 B-Schools Have Seen MBA Hiring Freezes

It’s no surprise anymore, but the numbers are still stark: In a new survey, 93% of business schools say they have seen hiring freezes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, of 118 surveyed schools, more than 9 in 10 responded that they have seen companies suspend hiring, with technology, healthcare, and financial services the industries best eluding the freeze. Tech, in particular, has been largely immune to the icy employment environment, with 88% of respondents saying they still see hiring activity in that sector.

MBA CSEA’s May Member Quick Survey, conducted May 22-29, also found B-schools uncertain about plans for the fall, with 43% indicating they haven’t made a decision yet about remote learning, and 57% saying they haven’t made a decision about recruiting activities.

“There wasn’t anything too surprising in these findings, although it’s admittedly tough to see the percentage so high for the schools that are seeing hiring freezes,” says Megan Hendricks, executive director of MBA CSEA.


Megan Hendricks, MBA CSEA executive director. Courtesy photo

MBA CSEA is a global association for those who work in graduate business career services or who employ MBAs. It has released three snapshot surveys since the start of the pandemic in the U.S.; the first, conducted at the end of March and the beginning of April, showed MBA recruitment at a standstill.

MBA CSEA’s latest survey was largely North America-oriented, with 83% of respondents from there, 13% from Europe, and 2% from Asia. Among its findings: 83% of schools report delayed start dates for MBA graduates; 75% report fewer job postings altogether; and 65% report rescinded offers. Another 52% reported delayed offers, and nearly half, 49%, reported jobs becoming completely virtual. Almost as many — 43% — reported jobs becoming partly virtual. (See page 2 for more survey details.)

Poets&Quants conducted its own study on hiring freezes and found that about 70% of graduating 2020 MBA students have already accepted a full-time position — but of those, nearly half (44%) report having their official start date delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, with delays ranging from a month to more than half a year.

As we reported this month, the most common timeframe of delay is one to three months, which was reported by 47.8% of respondents. The next highest percentage (17.9%) reported having their start dates delayed three to six months. Some 16.4% said their delayed start date was still “to be determined” and another 13.4% say their start date has been delayed by one month or less. About 4.5% say they’ll be starting more than six months later than their originally planned start date.

Some schools are doing more to help alumni find work, Megan Hendricks says. “Most of our schools already provide career services to their alumni (sometimes for a fee),” she says. “Many of them are offering free services in the midst of the pandemic.”


In its second pandemic survey, conducted in April, MBA CSEA noted that MBA internships were suffering as well, a finding that comports with what P&Q has reported. “We’ve been hearing that internships have been impacted a lot more than full-time hiring,” Hendricks told P&Q in May. Among responding schools in the new survey, eight reported “cancelled internships” as one of the top trends. Another eight listed “internships turned virtual,” and another eight reported “shorter internships.” Of those listing shorter internships as a top trend, some mentioned them shifting entirely to project-based or case studies.

“We don’t really know what is going to happen and when this will end,” Hendricks said, adding that she has been hearing it’s easier for MBAs to create opportunities from remote and virtual connections, which is different from the Great Recession. “We didn’t have anything like this before. MBAs, I think, are finding it easier to find project-based work right now so that they can keep up their skills.”

See next page for charts from the new MBA CSEA survey.

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