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4 In 5 Companies Will Hire MBA Graduates In 2018, Says Latest GMAC Report

GMAC’s Corporate Recruiters Survey shows there’s good news for MBAs in the Asia-Pacific, but things look a little bleaker for international MBA graduates in the US

Thu Jun 21 2018

Four-in-five companies globally plan on hiring MBA graduates in 2018—that’s according to the 17th annual Corporate Recruiters Survey released today by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

81% of the 1,066 MBA employers that responded to GMAC’s survey said they would hire MBA grads in 2018. By industry, hiring demand is strongest among healthcare (93%), technology (89%), and energy/utility companies (85%).

MBA hiring in the Asia Pacific (APAC) is thriving. 90% of responding employers said they plan to hire graduates in 2018. That’s the same share as last year, and a figure that puts the region as the most popular destination globally for MBA hires.

Generalist and strategic roles are the most popular destinations for MBA hires in the APAC region. 56% and 57% of companies respectively said that’s where they would most likely place incoming graduates.

The data reflects a slight dip in the planned hiring of MBAs among US and European employers compared to last year’s figures. 85% of US and 64% of European respondents said they plan to hire recent MBA graduates in 2018.


The survey is a dour read for international MBA graduates looking for jobs in the US however. Last year, 55% of US companies planned to hire international business school grads. This year, that figure is only 47%.

Over one-third of US firms said that the drop is because they can find the talent domestically instead. 42% said it’s because of issues surrounding legal paperwork. And 25% said it’s because they are uncertain about future policy or law changes.

“This dip in stated intent by US employers to hire international graduates is potentially a response to the changes—or potential changes—to visa and immigration regulations,” said Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC’s president and current CEO.

“Even though H1-B visa rules haven’t yet changed, there is a perception that they might change in the near future, and some employers may be waiting to see what will happen.”

Still, the technology and consulting sectors do remain strong hirers of international MBA talent in the US. 66% of tech companies and 63% of consulting firms said they plan or are willing to hire international talent. That’s the highest rate across all industries.

For international students wishing to enter those sectors, internships may be the way forward. The GMAC survey found that most employers plan to bring MBA interns on board in 2018.

MBA internships are most prevalent in the Asia-Pacific, and in the US, where 65% and 62% of employers plan to hire MBAs as interns respectively.

For the first time, the survey also looked at data for Master of Data Analytics (MDA) students.

71% of responding companies said they plan to hire a recent business school graduate into a data analytics role in 2018. The role is among the top job functions where employers will place hires—business development (74%), marketing (70%), and finance (69%), are the other areas employers are most eager to fill.

This means Master of Data Analytics graduates can sound notes of optimism about their post-graduation employment prospects. 52% of companies plan to hire MDA graduates in 2018—only 35% said the same last year.

Again, demand is highest in the APAC region, where 62 % of firms plan to hire MDA graduates this year.

Read: MBA Vs Masters: Which Should You Choose?

mba vs masters

The hiring of Master’s graduates in 2018 is a trend that is most prevalent outside of the US. Around 73% of APAC firms plan to hire Master in Management (MiM) graduates this year, alongside 69% of employers in Latin America. Only 39% of respondents in the US said the same.

The spate of Master’s hiring trickles out though when you look at data for Master of Accounting and Master of Finance graduates—projections for the former are notably down in 2018 among APAC employers, the report said.

Elsewhere, 44% of European companies will hire Master of Accounting graduates this year, as well as 43% of firms in the US, and 40% in Latin America. Incidentally, Latin America has the largest increase between 2017 actual hiring rate (25%), and 2018 projected hiring rate (40%).

Master of Finance hiring in Latin America has also grown exponentially. 67% of respondents in the region plan to hire Master of Finance graduates in 2018—the largest share of any world region.

Most European firms plan to hire Master of Finance graduates this year (57%), although that hiring is flat compared to last year, showing no increase in demand. The report also concluded that APAC and US hiring of Master of Finance hiring is slightly down in comparison with 2017’s report.