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Bain & Company Is Snapping Up MBAs With Big Data Analytics Skills

Elite consultancy firm sees surging demand for data science talent

By  Seb Murray

Mon Oct 10 2016

Elite consultancy firm Bain & Co is on the hunt for MBAs with expertise in data science.

“We have been aggressive hiring in hiring in that space,” said Elizabeth Spaulding, head of the firm’s global digital practice.

There are a wealth of new MBA job opportunities in Bain’s digital practice, which services clients across all industries, in areas such as advanced analytics, mobile platforms, digital marketing and supply chain. “There are a tremendous number of MBAs doing that already right now,” added Elizabeth.

Bain’s big data drive highlights the surging demand for digital consultants across firms.

Companies are flocking to management consultancy firms for experts who can help them harness the power of digital technologies to drive their growth. Digital and technology services now account for the largest share of consulting work, 27%, according to a report from the Management Consultancies Association.

As a result, there’s been rapid growth in the number of digital consultants, with the figure skyrocketing by 26% in one year, according to the MCA.

“There are growing opportunities,” said Zoe McLoughlin, London Business School’s head of consulting, and former recruiting manager at The Boston Consulting Group.

Firms are on the lookout for talent who can blend both solid business acumen with niche technology skills, in areas such as data analytics, and digital transformation, according to Zoe.

PwC said in February it plans to recruit 1,000 big data specialists to its $5 billion international deals business over the next two years — one of many recent examples of the trend. McKinsey & Company and BCG urged MBAs in May to better understand big data.

However, there is a shortage of people who can both understand and use complex data, but who also possess broad consulting skills, say consultancy firms.

“We’re seeing demand that outstrips supply,” said Mark Kennedy, director of the KPMG Centre for Business Analytics at Imperial College Business School.

The talent crunch has arguably put a premium on digital consultants, which firms are seemingly desperate to hire. “The market will gobble up anyone with digital delivery experience,” said Radhika Chadwick, a strategy partner at EY who leads the firm’s digital outfit.

To find talent, consultancy firms are casting their nets far and wide and are competing with Silicon Valley to include more engineers, mathematicians and IT specialists, which might not be good news for MBAs.

“While hiring has increased, these positions remain very competitive,” said Sheryle Dirks, associate dean of career management the Fuqua School of Business.