The findings, published Tuesday in the Graduate Management Admissions Council’s annual corporate recruiters survey, highlight the surging demand in Silicon Valley for managers who can merge business nous with big data analysis.
“Data analytics is definitely one of the skill-sets they look for,” said David Morris, head of corporate sectors at London Business School. He added: “A lot of the big online players in data and SaaS [software-as-a-service] will need analytics [talent] to draw out information and act on it.”
“Data is their business,” said Vasant Dhar, NYU Stern professor of data science. He added: “The growth path for all of them is about how to obtain more and better data about people, places, [and] events, and to put it all together into innovative products and services.”
GMAC’s survey shows, meanwhile, that 88% of corporate recruiters working with business schools plan to hire MBAs in 2016, up by 8% on last year and by 33% on 2010. Globally, 54% plan to increase MBA starting salaries either above or at the rate of inflation. US firms will pay MBAs $105,000, up by $5,000 on last year.
“Nearly nine in 10 employers that work with career services plan to conduct on-campus recruitment this year, giving students a tremendous advantage in finding job opportunities,” said Damian Zikakis, director of career services at Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
The survey’s results come as the number of masters degrees in data analytics proliferate. For example, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business set-up a specialized data degree last month, and in March, MIT Sloan announced a master of business analytics. A slew of other top-ranked business schools run the programs, including IE Business School, Imperial College, and the W.P Carey School.
“Data science now is like ethics or international [business] — the question is, do you have a standalone course or let it infiltrate everything?” said Gregory LaBlanc, a data science lecturer at San Francisco’s Haas School of Business, at UC Berkeley.
The research also comes as business schools look to specialized degrees, as demand for the full-time, flagship MBA appears to be on the wane.
Tom Robinson, chief executive of AACSB International, which accredits business schools, said: “There has been a shift of interest from MBA or general business masters degrees, to those with a more specialized focus.”
About 27% of recruiters plan to hire graduates of supply chain management masters programs; 26% intend to snap up data analytics graduates; and 24% are eyeing master of marketing graduates.
GMAC’s findings are based on responses from 842 employers representing more than 530 companies in 40 countries.