A major new global survey of business school students reveals that despite a preference for consulting jobs, a consulting firm is not students’ most-preferred employer — nor is it their second choice.
The new survey of 3,816 mostly European B-school students was conducted in August and September and released this week by Highered, the online careers platform of EFMD, the global management development nonprofit. It shows that consulting is the most desirable employment sector for business school students (44%), followed by banking and financial services (39%).
However, the most sought-after employer among respondents is not McKinsey, Bain, BCG, or Deloitte — nor any other consulting firm. It’s tech behemoth Google, with Amazon just behind in second place.
‘A LEANING TOWARD MORE FULFILLING & PURPOSE-LED CAREERS’
Highered asked students from Europe and the UK (64.9%) as well as South and Central America (12.8%) and Asia (6.6%) which sectors they most wanted to work in and the roles they wanted to pursue. Responses show that the consulting bug has bitten four times as many as those wanting to work in manufacturing (12.2%), real estate/construction (10.2%) or transportation; nearly half said they want to work in operations (44%), followed by sales and marketing (37.7%) and research and development (37.2%).
While consulting and financial services came out top, international trade and development (25.6%) and government/nonprofit careers (20.9%) were the choices of large numbers of respondents — which Amber Wigmore Alvarez, chief talent officer at Highered, says is significant as an indicator of future employment trends.
“While the top career choices are perhaps unsurprising, it’s interesting to see a leaning toward more fulfilling and purpose-led careers,” Wigmore Alvarez says. “Many business schools now focus on areas such as the Sustainable Development Goals and encourage students to think about their impact on major global problems — and clearly this is filtering down into their career choices.”
AFTER GOOGLE & AMAZON, TOP 5 EMPLOYERS ARE CONSULTING FIRMS
The top three desired functions far out-performed such areas as IT (19.3%) and production (18.9%). In terms of sectors, least desirable were tourism, agriculture, architecture, design/art, aviation and fashion.
The top 5 most desirable employers for business school students were Google and Amazon, followed by Deloitte, Ernst and Young, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“My advice to business school students wanting to pursue a particular career is to do your research early, understand the skills sets and in-demand digital skills involved, take extra courses if needed and pursue work experience and internships,” Wigmore Alvarez says. “Take advantage of business school career services and networking opportunities such as online career fairs where there is a wealth of advice on things like how to optimise your CV or handle different types of interviews.”
To that end, Highered and EFMD is running a Global Careers Fair for business school students between October 18 and 20, at which students and alumni from more than 100 B-schools will meet prospective employers, see live job openings, and hear from recruitment experts and recent graduates.