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Data Analytics Sparks "Bullish" MBA Jobs Market, Higher Salaries

A bullish MBA jobs market in 2015 will be driven by data analytics demand, according to a new survey of Fortune 100 employers.

Wed May 20 2015

Business school students can look forward a bullish MBA jobs market as 84% of companies globally plan to hire MBAs and 50% of them plan to hike pay.

These are the results of the annual Corporate Recruiters Survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which included 46 of the Fortune 100 group of companies.

The recruiting is led by employers who are eager to hire graduates skilled in data analytics. “Employer demand for recent business school graduates, notably those skilled in data analytics, continues to increase as companies expect these new workers to use data to drive business decisions,” said Sangeet Chowfla, chief executive officer at GMAC.

Professor Yehuda Bassok, USC Marshall School of Business chair for the Department of Data Sciences and Operations, said there is strong demand for analytics talent from consultancy firms like KPMG and Deloitte. “I see a lot of interest,” he said.  

More than 50% of all companies surveyed globally by GMAC said they plan to hire for this job function in 2015, up from 44% last year.

There is a shortage in particular of team leaders skilled in data analytics, said Arne Strauss, professor on the MSc Business Analytics at Warwick Business School.

He added that there is demand from tech groups like Google and HP, as well as from the healthcare and retail industries. “Every sector is showing interest now,” he said.

When asked by GMAC to list three skills they are looking for in business school graduates this year, employers cited analytics the most frequently. “Managers should pick this up quickly,” said Professor Kalyan Talluri, director of the MSc in Business Analytics at Imperial College Business School.

Investing in big data is challenging in terms of both capital and labour, said Michael Goul, chair of the Department of Information Systems at W.P Carey School of Business.

He added that corporations want data science “unicorns” – those with the quant skills, computer science skills, presentation skills, and deep domain knowledge in areas like finance, marketing and the supply chain.

This year’s survey smashes the previous record number of employers planning to hire MBAs in 2005, and is a surge of 10% on last year.

About 92% of companies in the US plan to hire MBA graduates in 2015, up from the 80% that hired MBAs last year. Between 12% and 16% more US companies also plan to hire specialized business masters students this year compared with 2014.

The median starting salary for US MBA graduates is $100,000, up by 5% on last year.

Damian Zikakis, president of the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance and director of career services at Michigan Ross School of Business, said employers are “bullish” on MBAs.

“This is great news for students and portends well for the economy overall. It is encouraging to know companies are so confident in their growth prospects,” he said.

Sangeet added that companies tend to recruit from specialized masters programs when growth is not on the agenda. “When companies express a focus on growth, it appears they return to MBA hiring,” he said.

But in Europe a lesser 56% of employers plan to hire MBAs, although this is up by 3% on 2014. For Master in Management graduates in Europe the figure is 52%.

In both Asia Pacific and Latin America the percentage of companies planning to recruit MBA graduates this year is 75%.

There is further good news, as globally more than half of employers will increase starting salaries for new MBA hires in 2015, either at the rate of inflation or above inflation.

Eric Cornuel, CEO of EFMD, the European business school accreditation body, said: “The data from the latest survey shows a very positive view globally from companies on the value and impact of graduate management education.

“The next decade will see a massive demographic shift as the 'boomers' leave the workforce, and companies clearly see business schools as a key resource in finding new, talented graduates.”

The 2015 Corporate Recruiters Survey was conducted by GMAC in partnership with EFMD and the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance.