Consulting, Technology Companies Lead MBA Job Market Growth

New b-school data reveal surge in campus recruitment. MBA hiring led by consultancy, technology and financial services firms.

The MBA job market is booming. A July survey of 92 business schools found 70% of respondents saw an increase in on-campus recruiting for full-time jobs, and 60% reported an increase in full-time job posts (off-campus).

Business schools also are optimistic about internship hiring, with 60% of respondents citing a surge in campus recruiting for internships and 70% seeing an increase in job posts.

This is the latest research by the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, which represents more than 200 business schools and corporations globally.

Damian Zikakis, president of MBA CSEA and director of career services at Michigan Ross School of Business, said that companies are increasing their on-campus presence.

Even lower-ranking schools are being tapped by corporations: 46% of the top-20 MBA programs reported increases in on-campus recruiting; 63% of schools ranked between 21 and 50 did.

The biggest recruiting increase by industry came from consulting, displacing the technology sector, which came first in MBA CSEA’s 2014 survey.

The fastest growing service lines for consultancy firms in recent years have been digital, with areas such as big data analytics, social media and cyber security potentially offering new career opportunity.  

Conrad Chua, head of careers at Cambridge Judge Business School, said: “Clients want to know how to use technology to understand big data — even McKinsey is building that capability — and that opens up opportunities for MBA students.”

Another area of recruitment growth for consulting has been at the so-called big four professional services firms — PwC, EY, KPMG and Deloitte — which have been expanding their share of the consulting market, according to analysts at Source Information Services.

“As they rebuild and expand their strategy practices, they are increasingly looking to top tier business schools for their staffing needs,” said Stephen Pidgeon, associate director of career development at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

Paul Schoonenberg, head of MBA careers at Aston Business School, said there has also been uplift in smaller, boutique risk consultancies seeking talent.

Approximately 64% of schools surveyed by the MBA CSEA reported increased recruiting from technology companies compared with last year.

Amazon, Google and Apple are among the firms leading recruitment at top schools, as the tech sector attracts a growing number of MBAs. “Technology companies are seen to be the place of innovation and creativity, [which] is really attractive to MBA candidates,” said Paula Quinton-Jones, director of career services for Hult International Business School.

Sue Kline, senior director at the Career Development Office at MIT Sloan, said tech companies have hired MBAs for roles in business development, product management, marketing and finance.

For the third year in a row, start-ups showed the strongest increase in hiring by company type at business schools, according to the MBA CSEA research.

This trend has been pronounced in sectors such as media and luxury, where a host of smaller companies make up a large part of their industry. Gachoucha Kretz, professor of marketing at HEC Paris and a former LVMH executive, said: “Start-ups in fashion and luxury are just at their infancy and will drive lots of positive outcomes — like creating very exciting jobs.”

This is also evident in finance, where hiring is active across all sizes of banking organizations, Roxanne Hori, associate dean of career services at NYU Stern, told BusinessBecause.

Some 45% of schools surveyed cited increases in recruiting by financial services firms, roughly flat when compared with last year’s data.

Yet, Christelle Cuenin, assistant director of corporate partnership development at INSEAD, said there has been an increase in investment banking jobs in Europe. Other notable areas of career growth in finance include wealth management and compliance.

The largest decrease in MBA recruitment was seen in the energy industry, according to MBA CSEA.

Experts have put this down to the turbulence and uncertainty caused by the plunge in the price of crude oil. “There have been news of job cuts in the oil and gas part of the energy industry,” conceded David Elmes, head of the Global Energy MBA at Warwick Business School.

But he added: “[This] doesn’t alter the challenges of providing sustainable energy that’s used efficiently across both mature markets and the developing economies — which are still growing at significant rates.”

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