MBA jobs at top consultancies focused on data analytics have surged in recent years, as business splurges on experts to help them harness the power of their data.
PwC’s move mirrors those of rival consulting firms Accenture, KPMG and Deloitte, who have all told BusinessBecause they are hunting for MBA hires with business analytics skills.
“The combination of technology and strategy will be key to how the deal landscape evolves in the next 10 years,” said John Dwyer, PwC’s global head of deals.
He added: “Buyers now expect to understand risks and opportunities in far greater detail before making significant investment decisions.”
The consulting industry has shown increased appetite for business professionals who can lead clients’ digital transformations. “We’re seeing demand that outstrips supply,” Mark Kennedy, director of the KPMG Centre for Business Analytics at Imperial College Business School, told BB. “It will be difficult for PwC to fill those slots.”
Juan Jose, director of the master in business analytics at IE Business School, said: “Big data analytics is creating a revolution across organizations – and it is a key factor in how enterprises face the great challenge of their digital transformation.”
The PwC announcement comes after several top firms said recently that they are seeking MBA hires who can use advanced analytics. “Increasingly, an understanding of data and analytics is required,” said Gregor McHardy, managing director at Accenture UK and Ireland, who spoke of consultants in general.
Matthew Guest, head of Deloitte’s digital strategy practice for EMEA, said: “Data and analytics has become part of the fabric of how we do business. It’s almost instrumental.”
Demand has intensified because consultants with tech expertise are difficult to find. However, the number of digital consultants rose by 26% in the UK alone last year, according to the Management Consultancies Association.
“There are areas where just fining talent is quite difficult — people that have worked on big digital transformation programs [for example],” said Radhika Chadwick, a partner at consultancy Ernst & Young, who leads digital and strategy services.
“There is enormous potential to increase our talent pool and I think the uptick in salaries that people with digital skills can demand does point to a lack of sheer numbers.”
McKinsey & Co and Bain, meanwhile, said recently that they are seeking MBAs who understand the science behind decision making.
Business schools have lunged at the chance to fill the gaps in supply. Cornell’s Johnson School is developing a big data-focused MBA program with Amazon and Twitter. And USC Marshall, NYU Stern and Warwick Business School, for instance, all run specialist business analytics master’s courses.