Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are hiring MBA students in droves, according to a new survey released last week. Driven by a legion of talent-scouting start-ups, business schools reported increases in recruiting activity across the board.
The report by the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, an association of business school career-management offices and companies, found that 55% of business schools saw an increase in on-campus recruiting this year, up from 48% a year earlier.
Some 70% also saw increases in off-campus MBA job postings. Only 9% reported a decrease.
Nearly 80% of respondents were North American universities.
The findings underscore a US jobs market which is in rude health. Few business schools reported a decrease in recruitment, while some remained flat.
Start-ups led the recruitment drive and are now showing a willingness to hire MBAs directly from campus. Some 53% of schools said they saw an increase in start-up companies recruiting, while only 33% of schools saw an increase in the number of companies with 500 or more employees recruiting.
A high of 39% of schools reported increases from small firms with less than 100 employees, and 41% reported increases from mid-sized companies.
The technology sector also has an increased appetite for the MBA hire. About 65% of schools said they saw increases from tech companies, the largest increase among all industries.
There is further demand from the sector. About 68% of schools reported increases in internships from tech firms, also the biggest jump of all industries.
More than 70% of schools reported increases in recruiting activity for internship opportunities across all sectors, compared with a year earlier.
Financial services firms are also crawling back to campus. Last year saw a huge drop in finance recruiting, and 21% of schools reported a fall in the same study. This year is slightly better: about 9% of schools reported a fall.
About 44% saw an increase, however, up from around 27% last year.
The findings compound fears that European campus recruiting has fallen behind the US, where careers fairs and campus offices are a preferred method of finding new hires.
Nearly 30% of schools surveyed said they saw an increase in careers fairs, while 58% of respondents experienced increased on-campus internship recruiting this year compared to the same time last year.
And in a survey released earlier this year, GMAC said US companies cited on-campus recruitment as their most effective recruiting tactic.
Alumni networks, however, have proved to be the most powerful. Alumni-initiated hiring jumped 54%, according to last week’s survey.
Reasons for strong employment cited by the schools included: career “treks” to desired geographies; working with student clubs; enhanced one-on-one coaching; and alumni panels.
The survey collated data from 80 business schools between June 2 – 20, 2014.
A majority of 79% were from the US, and 79% said they were ranked among the top-50 full-time MBA programs in the world.