Here's Why Google, Amazon, Facebook Are Snapping Up More MBAs

Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group also hike hiring activity

Tech seems to be everyone’s favourite sector. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google are so popular with markets that investors dubbed them “the Fangs” last year.

MBAs must love them to. The Fangs, and a handful of other big tech companies, have been snapping up more business school students.

That’s according to a new survey of careers managers from the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, which shows the biggest hike in hiring from full-time MBA programs came from the tech industry. More than 70% of the 104 schools surveyed reported an increase, up from 65% last year. This builds on a tech hiring surge that’s been witnessed for the past few years, according to Phil Han, director of recruiting at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Apple hired 223 MBAs at six elite schools last year alone, according to Quartz.

“Some of them have increased those numbers significantly in recent years,” Phil said, mostly due to their significant growth ambitions. Amazon’s global workforce, for instance, has risen from around 60,000 in 2012 to 240,000 last year, as it has expanded into new markets such as cloud computing and media streaming.

And while 54% of schools surveyed said consulting industry firms — for example McKinsey & Company and the Boston Consulting Group — increased MBA hiring too, tech is the lead employer at a slew of top programs. At Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School and UC Berkeley’s Haas School, tech firms snapped up around 40% of the MBA cohort last year.

This shift could be attributed to growing millennial interest in tech outfits as much as it can be to the Fangs’ hiring needs.

“Students are looking for growth potential, responsibility, and a better work-life balance,” said Rich Wong, MBA employer relationship manager at Berkeley-Haas. Tech seems to provide all three, careers managers say.

And despite historic reluctance, many smaller tech firms are hoarding MBAs too. Start-ups are this year’s fastest-growing recruiters, with 62% of schools reporting a recruitment surge, compared with just 40% for firms with at least 500 employees.

Some tech start-ups will prefer an engineering or CS background, added UCLA’s Phil. But, “Once a company has grown large enough, it needs the business-savvy management and analytical skills to continue its growth, maintain its scale and compete strategically.”

Tech leads a robust hiring market for full-time MBA jobs. A majority of schools surveyed said companies’ on-campus recruitment has stepped up a gear across sectors.

There’s good news for specialized master’s students too. More than 50% of niche programs saw an increase in full-time job posts, mostly from the tech and financial services sectors.

And in a sign of how rampant demand for talent is, employers are looking beyond the elite schools like Harvard, Stanford and Wharton. The fastest growth in MBA hiring came from schools ranked in the bottom-50, according to MBA CSEA.

And helping drive the jobs market higher is the management consulting industry, the second-fastest area of recruitment growth for MBAs.

Consulting outfits have long looked to the MBA, whose broad remit shares similarities with consulting, for its talent. Peter Hewlett, a principal at A.T Kearney, said: “There will always be a need for the MBA profile — the MBA skills learned, along with the work experience that they bring to the firm, adds value for us.”

But in more recent years the consulting jobs market has expanded as professional services firms like EY, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC have pushed deeper into advisory, pitting them against the likes Bain & Company. The Big Four are growing at about 9% a year, faster than the overall consulting market, according to Source Global Research.

Careers managers also note an increase in demand for digital consultants, who help clients address disruption in sectors from retail to financial services. The number of digital consultants surged by 26% last year, according to the Management Consultancies Association.  

Meanwhile, nearly 50% of schools surveyed by MBA CSEA said the healthcare industry has increased hiring of their full-time MBAs.

At Cornell University’s Johnson School, healthcare recruitment doubled in 2015, said Cynthia Saunders-Cheatham, executive director of careers.

However, the MBA CSEA data suggest the pace of growth has slowed, with just 51% of schools reporting on-campus recruitment increases for full-time jobs across sectors, down from 70% in 2015. Approximately 32% said recruitment was flat. Worse still, 14% reported a decrease.

The largest contributor to the slowing pace of growth of full-time hires is the energy industry, which is reeling from the plunge in the price of oil. Nearly 30% of schools reported hiring cutbacks from energy companies. 



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