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Microsoft, Oracle Join Tech Takeover Of MBA Students' Careers

Recruiters from Microsoft and Oracle say they value MBA graduates, as the technology industry taps more business schools to help drive growth.

Mon Mar 2 2015

Global tech companies Microsoft and Oracle have labelled MBA students as valuable and “star performers”, as the technology industry taps business schools to drive growth.

Ioana Tanase, global MBA staffing consultant at Microsoft, said that MBA hires are worth the company’s investment – business school graduates command high salaries.

“They bring a lot of value, new skills and strategic thinking, which drives our business to the next level,” she said, speaking at a recruitment fair in London last week that drew some of the world’s largest listed corporations.  

Microsoft, the world’s biggest software company, said last year that it recruits about 300 MBA students into full-time roles and takes on 75 for internships a year.

Business graduates have shown greater demand for careers in disruptive technology businesses such as Facebook, Google and Apple, in a push away from traditional industries like financial services and banking.

At INSEAD, a global business school, Microsoft hired more MBA students in 2014 than both Accenture and PwC.

Ioana added that Microsoft sees a more global approach in terms of where MBAs want to work.

“They are more than ever considering different locations outside of the[ir] [original] continent and original location,” she said.

Oracle, the US database software company and leader in big data services, also suggested that it values MBA graduates as employees, as the business has sought to expand its workforce in locations including San Francisco and Seattle in the US.

Koen D’Hoore, IT innovation consultant at Oracle, said: “They [MBAs] are typical all round star performers – they are good in people management [and] finance, and they have clear decision making ability.” 

More MBA students than ever before are looking at the tech sector as an immediate career after graduating.

Technology firms hired 43% of MBA students at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in 2014, up from 33% a year earlier. At UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, 26% of MBA students were employed in the tech industry last year.

“MBA students are tuned to the market,” said Michael Goul, chair of the Information Systems Department at W.P Carey School of Business. “Information technology is transforming organizations – and this is not escaping them.”

Online retailer Amazon is now one of the largest recruiters of MBAs at most top business schools.

At the London Business School, Amazon was the third-largest recruiter in 2014, ahead of Citibank and Deloitte.

Doug Gray, managing director of IT resourcing consultancy TalentHawk, said there has been significant growth in demand for MBAs from all sectors – consulting, energy and tech in particular.

“Employers are driven to employ more MBAs, as they typically demonstrate a higher level of business acumen,” he said.

Sue Kline, senior director of the Career Development Office at MIT Sloan School of Management, said: “The combination of understanding the technology and developing a strong business skill-set is a powerful asset for an organization.”

Recruiters from search giant Google and Amazon said last month that they plan to increase their recruitment of MBAs or have opportunities for MBAs in a range of functions.

Paula Quinton-jones, director of career services at Hult International Business School, said there is a definite increase in interest among tech companies compared with five years ago.

Microsoft, whose CEO is an alumnus of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, said previously that it targets the top-15 US schools but also recruits globally through an outside firm.

The company said it is looking for MBAs to help in its transition from a software company to a new-style devices and services group through brands such as Xbox.

It has shifted from its traditional business model that relied on the Windows operating system and into cloud computing, becoming the biggest provider of B2B cloud services.

It is the company’s second recent foray into business education, as Microsoft signed up for an online learning program with INSEAD which taught 1,000 sales staff in October.

The London recruitment event was held by AMBA, the business school accrediting body. It drew other large companies such as HSBC, Bloomberg and L’Oreal.

Andrew Main Wilson, AMBA chief executive, said employers recognise the unique mix of intelligence, management skills and dedication which an MBA can bring to their businesses.

But he added that the current global jobs market for MBAs remains “highly competitive”.

More than 600 MBA students attended, from business schools including Hult International and Imperial College in the UK, and ESADE, HEC Paris and IE from Europe.